Updated: Feb 17
I want to ask you a question -
Are you the type of person that sees the glass as half empty?
Or the person that sees the glass as half full?
Today, many of us are cruising along on autopilot reacting to life as it happens - either good or bad. We are often STUCK… frozen…. by negative thoughts, limiting beliefs - complaining about a colleague or a spouse, and caught up in this victim mentality that “ugh this always happens to me.” And I get it. I have been there.
But let me tell you something -
We are failing to recognize the power of CHOICE that lies within us.
I like to think of myself as a glass half full - and my cup overfloweth at times! But that is by choice.
We all have the power of choice.
Life is going to happen. There will be good things and bad things. It's a roller coaster. You can be living the high life one day with everything going your and looking up! When WHAM - you get a flat tire. Or maybe since so many of us still work remote… WHAM - your internet goes out in the middle of your big presentation.
But your power of choice -
The power of how you RESPOND to something-
That is 100% within your control.
And how you RESPOND - directly correlates to your state of mind.
Mindsets are the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and our most basic qualities, such as our personality, or our talent and skills, but it is also how we think about the world. It is the lens through which we see the world.
There are COUNTLESS studies and research that have gone into the power of mindset. One from 2007 found that if you believe that your intelligence is malleable, that you have the ability and control to change your intelligence, over the course of 2 years in junior high school, there was an upward trajectory in grades. On the flip side, if you believed that intelligence was fixed, that you had no ability to increase your intelligence, your grades stayed stagnant.
I believe in science, and science says that your mindset determines your well-being and your achievements because your mindset is responsible for behavioral, physiological, and psychological responses. They influence what give our attention to, what we are motivated to do - or NOT do - how we feel, and how we expect to feel.
Point is - our power of our mindset - is endless.
If you followed my work, you know that I believe in the power of a resilient, focused, and growth-centered mind. It is what drives success - someone who doesn’t give up and is open to trying new things. It is my personal believe that this is how I was able to successfully change career paths from fitness and wellness to Human Resources, AND break the glass ceiling.
The truth of the matter is, when I am stuck, and we all get stuck from time to time - the root cause is that my mindset isn’t in the right place.
So what the heck do you do next?
You gotta do thought work.
Thought work is the act of consciously paying attention to the thoughts that are going on in your head, and then choosing to look at them differently. Adam Grant calls this “re-thinking” I often refer to it as reframing - but the actual act of doing the work is called thought work.
I’ll give you an example of real life. My 7-year-old son is struggling with reading. He often is frustrated by what is going on in the class, and what his teacher asks him to do, and makes a big show of things when he doesn’t understand a concept.
When we are working through homework he will often say
I’m not good at reading.
I hate reading
Reading is SO HARD.
He is so damn hard on himself. I hear what he says and as a mother, I am defeated! Its heartbreaking because I know what he is saying isn’t true. His thoughts are vicious, self-deprecating, and certainly not helpful at all in the moment - trust me.
When he starts spiraling down that path I encourage him to do thought work.
We have a say in what we are thinking. We have the power to influence how we see problems like this. If he can only stop believing everything he thinks to be true - and reframe it, or REthink it… he just might experience a different outcome.
I’ll often ask him - “Do you think this is hard because its NEW?”
Why do you think that?
If we can get to the ROOT of how thoughts, we can think about it in a BETTER WAY.
By asking him if this is NEW, never seen before math - we reframe it from: I am bad at math to : This math IS hard - because I haven’t done it before.
To prove my point - I ask him about riding a bike, or hitting a home run. That was once something that was challenging to do! Now it isn’t so hard! I ask him why that got easy? (In a snarky 7 yr old fashion he says its because he got GOOD” but the reason it got easier is because he DID THE WORK.
The more you do the work - the better you get.
As a keynote speaker, I used to get SOOOO NERVOUS before getting up on stage. I had all these limiting thoughts that overtook my mind that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t unique or captivating - And then I pause. I rethink that - I reframe that - to It is not nerves, its EXCITEMENT.
I challenge my thoughts from past experiences “Hey erica - remember that standing ovation you got at the Texas event?” Ohhh yeaaaah.
Thought work is a life-long, and life-changing experience. You will not take a limiting belief, a sticky floor, or a negative thought, and change it forever - it takes practice. That's why it's called THOUGHT WORK. Over time, you’ll recognize that you can get UNSTUCK faster, and faster, and faster. You become focused more on achieving the outcome, than by becoming stuck in a swirl of negative thoughts.
And what is FABULOUS about the work of thought - is that the more you do it - the better you get. The more positive you become. The better you treat yourself - the more compassionate you are. You’ll start to feel better - happier - more focused.
We get to choose how we respond to what happens around us - and we get to choose the thoughts in our heads.
You don’t have to turn yourself into some ray of sunshine, a positive polly pocket if that is not who you are - let's be real - some of us will never be the Elle Woods of life - but we can recognize when our thoughts are no longer serving us.
What do I mean?
I mean, if you get a flat tire- you don’t have to be all cheery about “everything happens for a reason! This is a great experience!” There is nothing glamorous about being stuck on the side of the road and having to change a flat tire.
But you can choose how you respond - Instead of letting that one flat tire ruin your day, make you late, etc., you can look at it through a different lens.
You can be grateful that while you have a flat tire, and at least it's at the end of the day, so you aren’t late to work.
You can chalk it up to “well, I knew the tread was running thin, so this is gonna force me to take it to the shop this weekend and knock it out.”
It doesn’t have to be a glowing ray of sunshine - it just has to be that simple reframe.
Having the ability to control if you view that glass as half full, or half empty can really change the outcome of your day - your week - your happiness - your success in life!
So let me ask you again - is your cup half full?
If not - how can we reframe that?