I’ve got an accusation this month: You’re doing nothing. But as much as I advocate for a pause, this “nothing” is not it.
You’re agitated, upset, uncomfortable or aggravated by someone or something around you. We all are, at least occasionally.
But if you’re like a lot of my clients, rather than addressing the source of what’s bothering you you’re questioning whether it’s really THAT bad. Maybe you’re overreacting. It’ll probably blow over.
Maybe it will. Maybe you’ll get used to it.
Or maybe you’ll push the feeling down enough to carry on. Maybe it’ll sit there in the back of our minds and in a corner of our hearts, breeding resentment and eroding our confidence in ourselves, our judgment, and our self-worth.
You deserve better – but do you believe me?
Sounds like a situation you shouldn’t be brushing aside when I put it that way, no? So how do you move from doing nothing to doing something?
What if I told you it was your mindset – your beliefs about yourself, not the other person, that’s holding you back? He or she may be way out of line, you may hold the high ground in this conflict. But how you resolve it is about YOU, not them.
Our beliefs drive our behavior, which creates our habits, which creates our future. We are what we repeatedly do.
In this case, I’m going to guess that somewhere, deep down, you have some self-limiting beliefs.
Maybe you believe you don’t deserve to speak up.
Maybe you believe it’s easier to put up with some nonsense.
Maybe you believe it’s better for you to bear this than to make someone else uncomfortable by addressing it.
None of those beliefs sound like what we want for ourselves. But when you limit your actions and reactions based on how your needs will land for someone else? You’re perpetuating the limits you’ve been conditioned to work and live within.
We won’t do anything inconsistent with who we believe ourselves to be. Not long term, anyway.
Reset your mindset & build fulfilling beliefs
It’s time to develop a mindset that serves you, not one that keeps you stuck. And as much as you might be tempted to catapult straight into action, I’m going to suggest you start with the slight shift from “doing nothing” to, our favorite, a “pause.”
Here’s some suggestions on what to consider while you take that pause.
- Understand your mindset
Our mindset, our identity, our self-image is a lens through which we see and experience life.
It’s built on the story we’ve been told, shown, experienced since birth.
“I am a person who…” If I asked you to finish this sentence, where would it end?
For an Olympian, they would likely identify as an athlete. They’d go about their day and life behaving like an elite athlete – training, managing a performance diet, portraying confidence in their physical ability.
What about for someone who finishes that sentence this way? “I am a person who is horrible with time management.”
That person believes no matter what effort they put in they are going to be late for everything, working until the last minute of a deadline, and never feeling like they have enough time to do what they need and want.
Here’s the thing – that belief is not a fact.
IT IS A LENS.
We can choose to take that lens off and take a different view. Invite in a new perspective. Head down a different path.
The problem is, our lens is like oxygen, we don’t even know it’s there, it just is.
Our ‘lens’ is our identity. It’s how and who we identify as, which is our mindset. This lens becomes an invisible force, driving our beliefs, assumptions, judgements, and opinions – of ourselves and others.
So take a minute to think about what you believe about yourself. What is your mindset? And does it serve you?
- Build Better Habits
For starters, you know I love a habit of pause.
When you spot aspects of your mindset that are feeding your self-doubt, hit pause. The pause will disrupt those well-worn neural pathways that have you consistently choosing a view/lens/opinion without even understanding what you are doing.
“It’s not that big a deal…” PAUSE. Is it?
“He probably didn’t mean it that way…” PAUSE. Even if he didn’t, should you have to silently stomach his comments?
Pause to identify the old habit, then bring your compassionate curiosity and graceful accountability. Don’t beat yourself up for your default thought pattern, but don’t let yourself off the hook.
Start small… really small, and build the muscle for seeing yourself with a new lens.
Maybe tonight you’re a person who puts some dishes in the dishwasher before going to bed. Maybe some night down the line you’re no longer a person whose “house is always a mess.”
- Take imperfect action
On the flip side of starting small, you might also prepare yourself for messing this up.
Understand that you’re not going to have it perfect right off the bat. You’ve had this mindset for years.
If you want something different you have to be something different. You’re building new muscle here, and you’re not always going to flex it with perfect form.
(We JUST talked about perfectionism – remember?)
So maybe the next time a loved one says something that you’d normally grit your teeth at then grin and bear it, maybe this time you speak up.
You can lean on the same framework we established for setting boundaries (because, in fact, while you’re changing your mindset you’re also setting boundaries here!)
The conversation might not go how you planned, you might not get all your words out right or express yourself with perfect clarity the first time you try it.
But you’ll have done it. You’ll have made this muscle a little stronger. And you’ll have given yourself the opportunity to see yourself as someone who does exactly what you think their best self would do.
And most importantly, no matter where you start, you’ll begin to believe you’re someone who deserves to live true to their best self.
I believe you can do it. And I believe we all deserve it.