Category: <span>Personal Growth</span>

My Thoughts Nurture and Support My Success

If you have a tough inner critic or get caught in worry, stress, near debilitating anxiety, overwhelm or wrestle with your self-worth, then you know some of the symptoms of negative thinking first hand. Unfortunately, negative thinking can paralyze your best efforts. This piece will explore the topic of negative thinking and what you can do to change your thinking to promote a life and business that’s more fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful.

The next move you make in your life will be a reflection of what you think will happen. 

Most people don’t realize they are responding to fear (or others know they are clearly panicking) and catapulting themselves into worse-case scenarios. Scenarios that aren’t true but are pretty freaking believable like:

  • I’m not good enough to be here (ignoring your experience and degrees)
  • This isn’t going to work 
  • I failed, the business failed, I’m a failure
  • I can’t let people who depend on me see how I feel; they’ll never trust my ability to lead

“We spend all our time and money and energy trying to change our experience on the outside, not realizing that the whole thing is being projected from the inside out.”—Michael Neill, Author

If you don’t check your thinking style, it can have a strong and sometimes devastating impact on your relationships, health, business, and life.

 

The Link Between Thoughts, Feelings, And Behavior 

Your thoughts influence your mood and contribute to your actions. That makes our thoughts pretty darn powerful. Yet, like most people, you probably don’t spend a great deal of time reflecting on the way you think. After all, who thinks about such an automatic thing as thinking?

I do. 

 

My thoughts have a tremendous impact on my actions and my life, so I refuse to maintain a thought that takes me further from the life I have in mind. However, the reality is we live in a world of thought, with an average of 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts each day- mostly nonsense, with a dash of irrational thoughts. This makes the ability to reframe counterproductive thoughts an essential skill to overall wellbeing and positive outcomes. 

 

I often see this connection play out with clients who come in saying, “I don’t think I can take this business to the next level.” That assumption is a catalyst for feeling defeated, contributing to her second-guessing her years of skill and consequently avoiding the tasks she needs to grow her business. That shift in effort prevents her from really seeing the potential of her business and herself. So basically, if you think you are a failure and repeatedly engage in the same thought patterns and reactions, your behaviors align, and you are more likely to fail. 

Positive Thoughts Lead to Success

Most of us have heard that we are what we eat. In the same way, we are what we think. Thoughts are energy. They are vibrations. They are manifestations. They are statements about our world. Suppose you want a better life, a more prosperous, accessible, and successful life? In that case, it’s strongly connected to your ability to maintain a positive mindset. 

 

Do you have a problem with a part of your life? You have a problem with your mindset, and the real problem is your thoughts about that part of your life.

 

English philosopher James Allen wrote: “As a man thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”

The good news is that you can choose what thoughts you act on, so invest that mental energy carefully. I have several goals that are important to me. Before I choose a course of action, I ask myself what do I really think about this task and what actions will support my goals. I favor actions that nurture my goals. I avoid thoughts that lead to actions that make my goals less likely to happen. 

 

A positive thought approach allows me to embrace a more favorable perspectiveIt supports and uplifts me. With that in mind, I take responsibility for my thoughts and my future.

 

Do your thoughts support what you want? Let’s assess. 

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Are my thoughts predominantly positive or negative? How could I increase the number of positive thoughts I think about daily?
  2. What are some of the labels I’ve placed on myself? (I’m not good enough, I’m a terrible leader, I don’t have sufficient skills, I’m not the expert in the room, I can’t be a mom and boss) How accurate are these ideas?
  3. What would happen if I focused on maintaining positive thoughts? How would my life change?
  4. What do I think I accomplish by thinking negatively?

 

 Your thoughts have the power to nurture and support the life you want. 

Save this article. 

Reread it often. 

Pay attention to the thoughts you give attention to. Remind yourself that your thoughts become your beliefs, and those beliefs shape your life and how you experience it.

You are what you think.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply help you get out of your head, stress less, and focus on your success. 

Do You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Your Business?

The Relationship Between Your Business and Your Mindset Can Be Toxic

Entrepreneurs are one of my favorite people because they’ve consciously decided to carve their own paths and take full responsibility for their success. Yet, as creative, driven, and ambitious these phenomenal humans are, they still encounter challenges in their growth that, just like you, they may not realize is an unconscious habit holding them back.

When you eat, sleep, and breathe your business, it’s sometimes hard to see the emotional patterns at play that often contribute to those moments you feel anxious, frustrated, stagnant, or stuck.

Allow me to help you out.

Here are three bad habits that may be compromising your entrepreneurial success:

  1. IGNORING THE INNER BULLY 

Everyone struggles with fear and self-doubt from time to time, and entrepreneurs and young leaders experience these emotions more frequently than others. When our performance and decisions do not meet expectations, our instinct isn’t always compassion and praise but self-criticism. When you say “I can’t” do this or embrace other negative internal dialogue, it flames the fire of imaginary catastrophic situations and leaves you susceptible to limiting beliefs. Negative and self-deprecating thoughts tend to keep getting bigger and ultimately put a wrench in progress if you aren’t intentional with addressing it.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

  1. NOT USING THE RIGHT PEOPLE 

You can’t start [or grow] your business with friends alone. A challenge for most entrepreneurs is recognizing their current circle may not have the knowledge, expertise, or even care to support their growth. No hard feelings towards them, but they can’t help you go to higher levels if they have never experienced that themselves. You may need friends in leadership, marketing friends, investor friends, social media friends… it’s time to diversify your friendships.

The reality is that there’s an entire community of other entrepreneurs behind almost every successful entrepreneur who understands the grind and can expedite your learning curve. The best of us recognize that we genuinely can’t do it by ourselves or with our walking friends.

  1. BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL AND DOING IT ALL

Let’s face it, work is never-ending, especially when success is dependent on you, and more often, that pressure can trigger our over-achieving perfectionism and push us onto the path of exhaustion. Burnout is real in this arena, and so is frustration with the hustle, stress, and losing the connection to why you started in the first place. That’s usually when coaching clients come to me when they don’t even know why they are working so hard anymore, and the stress and anxiety are overwhelming. What’s usually very evident is poor boundaries.

A good strategy I recommend is to commit to taking a few minutes each day to reboot your brain and reenergize your body. Most people ignore the importance of taking time away from their desks or implementing a hard stop time when doing work (or working from home).

When was the last time you took a weekend off?

The barriers between work and personal life can blur for many ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs, but the word is balance. I am the most creative and inspired when I take intentional breaks and travel, read, ambush my kids with nerf guns, engage in focused breathing exercises, or just nap.

A quick workaround here is to schedule time for fun just as you would professional tasks –whether it’s a call with friends, hanging at a new café, or that mindful moment, put it on your calendar. I think it’s also essential to build it into the workday- incorporate music into meetings, or end with a quick mindful minute. The pauses should be built into the work experience. Socializing, laughing, and relaxing is an excellent prescription for the entrepreneur’s soul.

Final pop quiz:

  1. What sabotaging patterns do you recognize in yourself?
  2. Are you in an unhealthy relationship with your business? What is something different you can do today to better navigate habits that self-sabotage your success? Take a moment to create a reminder for that one thing and schedule it on your phone. You may not be able to make a huge shift right away, but a shift is a start. And it’s a start in the right direction.
  3. How can you recognize these patterns in the future?

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog post on the importance of emotional awareness in business. I’ve written in the past about how important it is for entrepreneurs to remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable, to trust your gut, to take risks, and to go outside of your comfort zone. Hopefully this post has helped you rethink your inner-entrepreneur so that you can start focusing on the things that need to be done rather than the things that are holding you back.

If you’re looking for more information about business psychology or need support, you can connect with me here.

Let me know if these tips and the review questions were helpful in the comments below!

Cheers to your success, Amanda Fludd

Give Your Sanity And Productivity The Weekend It Deserves

Whatever this week has brought you, let that mess go.

It’s the weekend, and your mind has done enough backflips around expectations, criticisms, and judgments that it just needs rest.

Now, decide that you are the most important woman in the room, and let the next decision you make honor what you really need. Is it rest, to laugh, to sit idle on the front steps with a beverage and watch the sunset or the moon rise?

 “The pain and stress and anger and sadness and loneliness and frustration and fear and cravings and irritations that we will experience today … they are made up. We can let them go as easily as they arise. They are unnecessary if we realize that we’ve created them for no good reason. Instead, see the beauty in every moment. In every person’s so human actions. In our own frailties and failures.

This world is a morning poem, and we have but to see it to be shaken by its beauty, over and over”.

~Leo Babauta

It can be hard to permit yourself to let go and prioritize yourself. With that in mind, here are 13 mantras to support you as you release the week and reclaim yourself:

  1. I’m living a purposeful life.
  2. I trust the timing of my life, and I know that I am exactly where I am meant to be.
  3. My life is becoming calmer
  4. Loving myself is as important as loving others
  5. I do not allow grudges to become a part of me
  6. I release the stress of the week
  7. I permit myself to focus fully on my self-care
  8. I will not criticize myself. I will love myself for who I am, what I have become, and where I am going.
  9. I am proud of myself
  10. I am allowed to make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of my growth
  11. I am resilient; I will get through this difficult time.
  12. I am an amazing gift to myself, my friends, and the world.
  13. I am not only enough, I am more than enough, and I get better and better each day.

Even 5 minutes is better than doing nothing

Taking a moment to self-nurture and embrace self-care can happen any time- sipping a hot cup of tea, laughing with a friend on the phone, gardening, and noticing the smell of the grass- it’s just sometimes we are so preoccupied, we miss it. The key is to take your 5 minutes, or whatever moment you decide, and show up fully, staying present in the moment and aware. In addition, since your thoughts play a part in your overall success and happiness, its important to find ways to improve your mindset. Adding affirmations to those moments can be encouraging because it shifts any negative thoughts you may be unknowingly entertaining and can help reframe them, supporting a positive mood, happy feelings, ideas, and attitudes.

You deserve that.

Why We Should All Set Goals So Big They Scare Us

The better version of yourself starts with challenging your limits. The magic in extraordinary goals is that it requires you to take massive action, forces personal growth, and the payoff — even if it’s an epic fail — is worth the risk.

Three reasons to set big goals:

1. Big goals require you to think on a higher level. It forces you to stretch what you believe is possible. To challenge your thinking, this level of goal attainment requires that you start with planning your approach and invoking a level of innovation and creative thinking that may not be necessary with small goals.

2. It requires you to take inventory of your skills and assess what you really need. Many of us are forever students, consuming information, hoarding our skills, rehearsing scenarios in our heads. Yet, we still feel we are too inadequate to act and execute our knowledge. This resistance to risk and embracing opportunities only feeds fear. However, have you challenged that lately? Fear doesn’t always give us an accurate assessment of danger, or in this case, how well prepared you really are. To determine that, you have to take your assets and use them.

Have you registered for this training yet?
Click: https://www.amandafludd.com/girl-get-your-goals

Here’s how- Take a look at what you want to achieve, list 3 skills and strengths that you already possess that can get you there, and use that data to support following through on your SMART goals. Athletes are a great example of this. Each time they compete, they execute their plan that incorporates their training. Once the event is over, they reassess where they are based on their performance. Audacious goals require you to have a plan to take your training and compete at your highest caliber, then fine-tune your skill sets and get back out again.

3. It fosters a sense of mastery. The more you practice executing all that knowledge and skill you’ve spent all this time building up, the better you’ll get in your field of expertise. Even if you’ve recently experienced failure or rejection, shift your focus to the lessons you can learn that will support mastery of your craft.Repeated failure for example can indicate a lack of preparation – that some skill or combination of skills is missing. For example, I haven’t been as active I would like to be in the past year (pandemic and all) and if I get out and try to run 3.1 miles in 30 minutes, it’s just not happening (even though your girl is a Marathoner). However, it’s not that I’ve failed at running, I have to start over and focus on mastering an aspect or one piece of the puzzle that supports reaching my goal. In my case, it may be learning to manage my breathing again so I don’t pass out at .2 miles or setting a mini goal to build my physical endurance by adding CrossFit to strengthen my dormant muscles, which can then support that endurance towards the goal. Master the parts, get closer to the whole.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s scary as hell to set goals beyond your realm of comfort and in those moments our minds have a funny way of finding all the challenges to help you change your mind. This is where procrastination begins to set in: as we try to avoid what we perceive might be overwhelming or hard work, we find ways to get sidetracked and trick ourselves into thinking that we’re busy. So rather than working towards our big goals, we hesitate to commit, we ignore, we lose motivation, we settle, we quit.

If the goal doesn’t scare you a little bit though, it probably isn’t big enough. Big goals require a big commitment and will inspire you to become a completely different person than the one you are right now. In order for those big shifts to happen, that discomfort has to be significant enough to get under your skin so you consider something else besides that status quo.

Just know that when you do take that one small action towards what is required to achieve that next level of success, you short circuit that internal system built around fear, and if you do that enough that feeling of fear becomes a positive experience, making it easier to continue the small steps needed towards your goal.

We all have plenty of fears and excuses, but all it takes is to do that ONE thing. Embrace the big-ass goals and keep at it day after day, you’ll be surprised where it takes you personally and professionally.

How about you, what is your big audacious goal? What’s one step you can take towards it today or in the next week? Share it with us in the comments. 

 

 

Amanda Fludd is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Coach, and Mental Health Consultant addressing the emotional needs of individuals and the work cultures that support them.

 

 

Recognize, Release, Respond: Try this Strategy to Navigate Seasonal Overwhelm

School is out, and the sun seems at the highest point in the sky, and so is our anticipatory anxiety. There is so much we want to do, see, and accomplish that our minds are like a runaway subway car bellowing through the city. I want to travel, finally, write a book, maybe read a book, take a course that has a book, think I need to schedule my physical, paint my living room, take a day off, and head to the beach, but oh my god- summer is almost over! And on and on and on until panic kicks in. Sound familiar?

Racing thoughts, unlike subway cars, often don’t come to a stop on their own, with our minds quickly advancing from a single topic to multiple unrelated ideas; it’s an experience that quickly disrupts your focus and raises your anxiety.

Racing Thoughts Like Subway Cars

Entrepreneurs and ambitious women who lead are no strangers to anxiety. They’re just as susceptible as the rest of the population, and dealing with it effectively requires a better understanding of mental health. While we’ve made significant gains around the stigma of mental health, we often don’t recognize its role in daily functioning, specifically how common anxiety is. An estimated 275 million people suffer from anxiety disorders. That’s around 4% of the global population, and according to the world economic forum, 62% of those suffering from anxiety are female (170 million).

A hallmark of anxiety is the impact on your thinking process and physical response. It can look like:

  • Thoughts going a mile a minute
  • Trouble sleeping at night and a mind that is not able to “shut off”
  • Procrastinating on tasks
  • Second-guessing your abilities
  • An inability to relax, tension headaches, sweaty palms, racing heartbeat

 

Related: Why Mental Health Plays a Role in the Success of Your Business

 

What’s important to know is while this can directly impact your ability to get things done, there are things you can do to solve the stress of anxiety and still enjoying the summer (or whatever season it is).

Embrace the power of Curiosity 

By learning to tune into your experience around anxiety, we can short circuit your reaction to it and establish a new neural pathway to boot.

Recognize. I encourage clients to think about or recognize what they are thinking about. Start to notice the thoughts driving your worries and stress. Ask yourself is it helpful? How does this make me feel in my body? Do I need to think about this right now?

Focus on your thoughts, and with less judgment.

We are sometimes our worst critics, but try curiosity over judgment. Getting curious about your experience will help you shift from reacting to responding, and interrupt your typical operating system, which creates the opening for something better.

Release. Letting go of what no longer serves you takes courage, but change and growth are just outside your comfort zone. Find and release the thought of worry by imaging it floating away like a balloon. For the physical feelings of anxiety, like fear and tension, breathe deeply into that spot until it expands and then exhale, letting it go. Let go of what’s familiar, whether a limiting belief or an old way of responding.

Respond.  Once you begin to slow your thoughts and settle your automatic physical response, you can create space to act from a more intentional space. Here you can write out your clear goals for the next few months, or even for today or in the next hour. Or maybe decide to speak and act from a more mindful space. Or finally, make a clear request with the shadow of intense emotions and most importantly, take a new action.

 

Which of the 3 r’s will you focus on for the rest of this week? Share in the comments below.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply help you get out of your head, stress less and focus on your success.

Make sure to register for “Catch your Breath” a free live mindful practice series for Minority Women Who lead beginning July 19th, 2021 and running through 2021. #minoritymentalhealthmonth #strongcommunities

 

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