I’ve attended some great events lately and have noticed the term “success mindset” or some variation often gets a mention. Now I agree 100% that success is a state of mind and that improving your mindset is the number one thing that you can do to dramatically change your life and go from where you are now to where you want to be.
But I wondered what people mean when they talk about a success mindset. How can it be that even though you followed the same strategy, technique, or process as someone else, you get different results? The answer is you. You have your own way of defining success, and individual thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values and experiences that shape your actions.
Whether you realise it, your mind is constantly sorting through every bit of information from your surroundings, all day every day – approximately 2 million bits of information. Now that’s a lot of data, and we would go crazy if our brain processed it all.
So, we have a failsafe, the R.A.S, or the reticular activating system that does this for us. The job of the R.A.S is to filter through all that information and pull out the pieces that are the most important to you – those that relate to and support your current reality.
Think of it as like being in the dark with a flashlight – you only see what your flashlight shines on, which is your current reality. If you want to see something different, you need to focus your flashlight on another area.
To achieve success, you must first describe what success actually means to you so your mind can start looking for it. It’s different for everyone. A simple way to do this is to visualize how your life looks and feels when you are successful:
- How do you spend your time?
- What do you value?
- Who do you spend your time with?
- How much money are you making?
- What are people saying about you?
- Where do you live?
- How do you know you’re successful?
These are the things that your R.A.S will focus on and filter out. If you are not sure what these things might be, have a look at what is currently in your life. Everything currently part of your life is there because you gave it enough focus at some point, either consciously or unconsciously, to make it real.
That leads us to the reason you don’t get the same results as someone else; mindset. Simply put, mindset is a way of thinking. It can either support you on your journey or hold you back. The thing that makes you a unique individual is the way you respond or react to life based on your personal values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and experiences. These are different for everyone and mean that what works for someone else may not work for you because they have a different set of values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and experiences.
So, how do you create a success mindset that will work for you? Once you have decided what success means to you, look at what’s holding you back from creating that. Most likely it will be a value and/or limiting belief.
One way you can identify your core values, the principles you live by, is to ask yourself, “What is most important to you in life?” It could be family, money, health, honesty, love, etc. Another way to think of values is as the moral compass that drives your decisions about what you prioritise.
Keep going until you have a list of about 10-20 words. Now choose the top five that resonate the strongest. These will be your core values, which may change slightly over time, but will mostly remain consistent.
For example, my core values are freedom, creativity, respect, health, and personal development. If I feel a person or situation compromises any of these, I react strongly, which is another sign of a core value; overreaction. In no particular order, money, love, integrity, authenticity, and family make up the rest of my top ten values.
A limiting belief is a thought pattern that keeps you safe but stuck. To identify your limiting beliefs, ask yourself, “What is the downside to being successful?” The answers that come up are the reasons you are not currently successful – your limiting beliefs.
Once you have identified your core values and limiting beliefs, you can work on removing or changing them to suit the person you need to become in order to get your version of success.
If you’d like to know more about getting a successful author mindset, the book I own and recommend is Joanna Penn’s The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey
I would love to know your version of a success mindset, so please feel free to share it below.
Cheer to your writing success!