As I walked out the doors of Vancouver’s Roundhouse building on Tuesday evening, one thing was very clear. The mind is a magnificent thing. And not just in the helpful “turn this way, then that way” and you’ll arrive home kind of way.
Yes, our mind helps us avoid touching a hot stove and reminds us that replying to that “U up?” text at 2am probably isn’t the best idea. But the biggest takeaway I left Talent Lab’s “Awaken Your Purpose, Passion and Career” event with was how our mind plays a crucial role in reaching our business goals.
Not only that, but how increasingly popular it is becoming to neglect our minds in favour of multitasking. An overwhelming amount of us are paying more attention to technology, analytics, and algorithms instead of nurturing our intuition, creativity and productivity.
Below I have rounded up my favorite takeaways from the event, offering up actionable ways to shift your mindset to achieve your goals. I hope this inspires you to ditch the need to do #allthethings, and get in touch with who you truly are. Let’s start crushing those goals one mindful step at a time.
Confidence does not mean the absence of fear, worry and doubt
We all have business leaders we look up to. Eloquent CEO’s that grace the stages of conferences reminiscing about the risks they took to get where they are today. I think it’s easy for us to sit in the audience and feel a pang of jealousy. “I wish I had that confidence.”
What I loved about Joe Granato’s talk was the idea that we are not empowered by confidence. In fact, it’s the other way around. Confidence doesn’t mean the absence of fear and worry, it means the ability to push through that fear and do the things that scare us.
So next time you are feeling nervous, scared or intimidated, know that you are one decision away from the confidence boost you’ve been searching for.
Listen to that little thing in your mind telling you it’s important
Whether we would like to admit it or not, we all have an idea, dream or goal that freaks us the F out. We tuck it away on a neat shelf in our minds, close the door and walk away because it’s too daunting to unpack. “I’ll deal with that later..”
I have a few big, lofty business goals that if I’m honest, have been floating around in the back of my brain since elementary school. I’ve become an expert in distracting myself and prioritizing things that are safer and more attainable.
If your mind has been trying to tell you something for awhile, take the time to sit and listen. As Joe mentioned, “that “little” thing in your mind that keeps showing up is telling you it’s important. It is telling you to take action.”
Now or never, right?
Both takeaways courtesy of Joe Granato, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Mountain Equipment Co-Op
Choose Love versus Fear
When you choose love, you are making a point to set aside fear, competitiveness, dominance, control and aggression. This sentiment came from speaker Stephanie Jhala, and it immediately brought me back to Gabrielle Bernstein’s book “The Universe Has Your Back.”
When we choose to focus on love, and all the wonderful traits that embody this (compassion, patience, understanding), we give ourselves permission to make mistakes, to take breaks and come back stronger, and to learn and grow in our business.
Budget for Personal Growth
As entrepreneurs, we budget for new equipment, business courses, subscriptions to e-mail services, website hosts, staff etc. Just like you should be budgeting time in your day to eat well and move your body, it’s important to invest in personal growth. Meditation, counselling, healing, self-care practices. These are just as vital to the success of your business as the operating expenses you have no problem shelling out each month.
Both takeaways courtesy of Stephanie Jhala, transformational leadership coach and movement maker at Mothers movement
“To Reach your Goals, there needs to be something in it for you”
Society tells us that being selfish won’t get us very far. You’ve heard it at multiple leadership conferences:
However, Karen Kwan, Senior Vice President of People at the fashion mecca Aritzia said she learned early in her career that hard work can only take you so far. In order to truly succeed, and succeed on your terms, you need to have something in it for you. A personal reason or value for the work you are doing.
When you are setting goals, ask yourself “What is in it for me? What will the nature of this work bring into my life, and will the milestones and achievements expected of this role provide me value?”
I often hear successful people say that their achievements didn’t mean as much as they thought they would. Sometimes even walking away disappointed. I think asking yourself this question Karen posed is a great way to stay in line with your purpose and what you truly want.
Understand you need to “Pay to Learn”
There will always be a time in your career where you need to “pay to learn”. This could mean putting in the time, investing in yourself, saying yes to intimidating projects, or doing more work beyond what is reflected on your pay stub.
“Don’t think about the title or money, that will come.” – Karen Kwan
Early on in your career, recognize that this is a season of learning and growing, and that the time, money and energy you are putting in is all part of the process to get you to the next level.
Both takeaways courtesy of Karen Kwan, Senior Vice President of People at Aritzia
Deliver above your pay grade
“I’m not getting paid for that” is one of the most detrimental mindsets in business. As soon as we say those words, we are stopping ourselves from growth and restricting ourselves from ever getting to the next step.
“I only add X value based on my salary, no more no less.” This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are inhibiting yourself from getting opportunities and growing because you aren’t willing to go outside the lines.
Takeaway courtesy of Andrea Rathborne, Director of photograph and video at Article Furniture
Choose to Be Curious Versus Being Right
“You can’t be right and curious at the same time”
When we are in a position of power and believe we are right about something, our ability to identify negative consequences is inhibited. The dangerous part about this is that our feeling of being “right” also triggers the brain to take action, meaning we are more likely to act impulsively without considering the negative consequences. A scary combo for any business owner.
Instead of seeking the reward of being right, try curiosity. Be curious when you talk to people.
When you are curious in a conversation, it benefits the person you are talking to because it challenges them. It forces them to generate insight and answer your questions thoughtfully. Also, as I’m sure we can all agree, it feels really good when someone is genuinely interested in what we have to say. Humans love talking about themselves. Lend an ear, ask questions, and you might just spark an idea in someone that changes the trajectory of their life (or your business for that matter).
This was one of my favorite talks of the evening. Dave Ogle just dropping truth bombs. I started writing notes in my notebook and had to switch to typing on my iPhone he was dishing out so much knowledge in such a short period of time.
Takeaway courtesy of Dave Ogle, coach and founder, Dose performance coaching
Ask Yourself Every Morning “What Will I Pay Attention to Today?”
There has never been a more challenging time to focus. We are chained to the most addictive devices humans have ever created. This has caused an unhealthy reliance on our phones and in turn we have begun forfeiting our natural human abilities.
Instead of focusing on the things that set us apart from technology like our intuition, creativity, face-to-face connection, time in nature, we are becoming more like the devices we hold in our hands everyday.
It has been found that the average business person receives 70,000 communications a year. Distractions in the workplace lead to a decrease in productivity and creativity, which leads to longer hours at the office. This then leads to a lack of sleep and unhealthy choices. Helloooo, two S’mores pop tarts for dinner.
It’s time to turn off autopilot.
“We are adjusting our rhythms to machines, instead of the other way around”. These words of wisdom from Steve Rio resonated with me on so many levels. I’m very excited to check out his work at Nature of Work, and just signed up for his 7-Day morning ritual journaling emails.
In the meantime, here are a few things that have helped me focus during my work day:
- Limiting screen time
- Setting rules for how often I check my e-mail
- Using Unroll.Me app for e-mail subscriptions
- Implementing the Pomodoro Technique
- Getting out in nature or going for a walk
If you want to perform at your best, you need to train
“Look at elite athletes, they master their sport first by learning the rules and how to play. Secondly, they focus on their physiology. How to eat, train, rest and sleep for optimal performance. Third, they understand their psychology. What a peak performance mindset looks like and how to manage stress and remain calm under pressure.
In business, we do the first but miss the other two. Our brain is our most important asset yet we don’t know how to train our brain, putting our mental and physical health at risk.” – Steve Rio
Both Takeaways courtesy of Steve Rio, founder, Nature of Work.
Pausing to take a moment to appreciate the epic charcuterie spread at the event.
Start Your Day with a mental check-in
I will leave you with an exercise courtesy of the last speaker of the night, Chrissy Abram of Saje Wellness to help you train your mind every morning.
Each morning, STOP.
- Take a deep breath
- Observe how the body is feeling – “How is my body doing? What can I do today to make my body feel better (ie go for a walk, drink more water, nourish it with healthy food)?”
- Proceed with your day. Think of three words you want to take with you throughout the day. It could be love, courage, compassion, fun, intentional, patience etc.
I hope these notes on how to shift your mindset to reach your goals was helpful to you. It’s worth noting that these are simply my interpretations and paraphrased snippets of the epic talks that filled the evening during Talent lab’s event. If any of these takeaways resonated, I encourage you to check out the speakers work for a more in-depth look into their offerings.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to zen it out at yoga one deep breath at a time.