Can you develop a positive mindset or is it just another cliché?
It would be great if we were all naturally positive and assertive thinkers, but of course, the reality is that most of us doubt ourselves to a lesser or greater degree. The good news, is that like anything else we may learn in our lives – be it a profession, a language, an instrument, a sport – developing a positive mindset is a process that can be coached and nurtured over time. You absolutely can train your mind to believe in yourself and your own abilities.
When it comes to a future combining a successful career with a fulfilling family life, developing a positive mindset before you have children is key. The working motherhood journey is definitely a marathon, not a sprint, with myriad challenges along the way, and believing you have what it takes to reach the finish line is the first and most important step towards success. That’s why the first module in the Babyproof Your Career Programme is all about Picturing Your Journey – helping you to visualise and develop the confidence and positive attitude necessary for approaching a successful future balancing career and motherhood. One vital element of this is fostering a positive mindset.
Believe in yourself – 7 steps to achieving a positive mindset
- Renounce perfection. You will always feel inadequate if you are constantly striving to reach impossibly high standards. No one is perfect, and you don’t have to achieve amazing results in everything you do. Being good enough is fine for most things in life, including working motherhood! Accepting this will release you from constant negative feelings of failure. Read more about how renouncing perfection is the most important decision you can make when returning to work.
- Embrace your inner imposter. Don’t let feelings of not belonging and not being good enough fill you with fear and hold you back. If you suffer from imposter syndrome at work it is most likely because you have worked hard and overcome huge challenges to get where you are today. Far from making you feel inadequate and inferior, recognize this fact, and use the knowledge to empower and motivate you to continue your success. You can read more advice about overcoming imposter syndrome here.
- Keep a detailed record of your achievements to use as positive affirmation of your abilities. This is so useful, especially when you are feeling low in confidence. Include endorsements, compliments, praise, awards – everything and anything that bears testimony to your talent, abilities and achievements over the years. Reflect on how you felt before each event and how you felt after you had completed them successfully. I wrote here about how keeping my own record helped me.
- Focus on the benefits of every situation. If you naturally look on the dark side of life, try regularly turning negatives into positives. If you miss the bus, reflect that you can use the walk to get some exercise or listen to the radio. The more you make yourself think positively about each situation, the easier it will become for your mind to start seeing problems as challenges that can be overcome, rather than as obstacles to success.
- Use failure as a learning experience
If you make a mistake, focus on the positive learning experience rather than the ‘failure’ itself. Write down what you have learned from the experience when something goes wrong and think of ways you might tackle the problem differently next time. Gain confidence from this deeper knowledge.
- Find positive friends, colleagues and mentors to inspire you. Enthusiasm is infectious and a great way to become and remain positive is to surround yourself with people who have an upbeat and positive outlook. It’s not necessarily easy to do this, particularly in the workplace, but try to minimize the amount of negativity that surrounds you so that you keep your mind open and negative thoughts at bay.
- Stop talking yourself down. It’s true, no one likes a boaster, but many of us take self-deprecation so far that we begin to believe our own negative hype. Change negative self-description and thoughts into positive ones. Not ‘I did that really badly’ – but, ‘I can definitely do it better next time’. Do this every time you think negatively about yourself or your abilities.
If you start practising some of these lessons now before you have children, your self-belief will be in a much stronger place when the time comes and you really need it! Believing in yourself is a great foundation for success.
Next time: what do you want to achieve? How to set your own goals for balancing a successful career and motherhood.
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