As a business coach, I work with a lot of clients who hold particular mindsets that can be helpful or not so helpful in their businesses and in their lives. One of these mindsets that I see often is the “I’m not smart enough” mindset. If you’re a mompreneur who holds that mindset, it might be time to revisit that idea and think about busting up that negative notion once and for all.
Often, it’s difficult to call ourselves out on these mindsets. Many of us do not even see ourselves adopting a negative mindset at all. What I’ve found as a business coach, however, is once we start addressing some of these issues by talking about them, they become clear. And once the awareness is there, we can make decisions about what we want to do about those mindsets.
Some of you might resonate with the “I’m not smart enough” mindset. You might even hear yourself saying things like “that’s just beyond me” or “such-and-such is above my level”. Some of you others might not actually verbalize those words but instead, might have a quiet voice inside you that is whispering the same message. In fact, that voice might be so quiet, you might not even realize it’s there until you start thinking about the topic more deliberately.
One of my clients is a sole practitioner of a communications, marketing, and public relations firm. She’s been in the business for under two years, and she works really hard. Like many others, this mompreneur modeled her business on others she admired. She learned from colleagues and mentors before striking out on her own. After awhile, however, she started seeing her competition capturing bigger clients and more clients. She started seeing her competition being recognized within the larger industry. And she started adopting the mindset that she could not compete. She started believing that she was not smart enough to make it. Once that negativity sets in, it can be crippling to your business and to your life.
After we spent some time talking, we discovered that this practitioner really wasn’t making a fair comparison. She was comparing herself to all those whom she admired. What she failed to see was that her so-called competition was a seasoned veteran in the business with a decade of experience, employed a large team of freelancers and staff, and simply had more monetary resources than she did. She was a relative newcomer to the market, worked as a sole practitioner and had limited time and resources. She was comparing apples to oranges.
The problem with that comparison and the resulting mindset is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you decide to believe that you’re not smart enough and that your competition is better, you will automatically begin to look for evidence to confirm that belief. You’ll literally start searching for evidence to prove that you’re right. That’s exactly what my client did. She had a long list of examples to show me that her belief that she was not smart enough was true.
Challenge your mindset
My challenge to all of you is to think about what mindsets you have about work, your business, and your life. If you have a mindset that is anything less than believing you are doing your very best and that you will achieve your goals, then you might have something to work on. Consider whether you have that little negative voice that is pointing out negative experiences or whether you see positive things, can note your achievements and see your accomplishments. Take stock and consider how your mindset affects your work, your life and yourself.
Here’s a personal example to help illustrate my point. When I was growing up, I never flew anywhere so I had a mindset that I was not one of those people who got on an airplane and went anywhere. It was likely that I’d continue with that mindset, but I had this shift when I was 21 years old that I could be one of those people who flew to places. That mindset could have held me back from doing new things, having new positive experiences, and growing in exciting ways.
I had another client who had a mindset where she thought she didn’t deserve to be happy. She acquired this mindset because of some bad decisions she had made in her life but then held fast to those ideas. That mindset was not a healthy one, and once she worked through that, she discovered she was a person who deserved to be happy.
Today, I challenge you to think about the beliefs you hold about yourself, your business, your life, even your family. Write them down. Think about whether your mindset is helping you support and achieve your goals. If they are, keeping doing what you’re doing. If they are not, decide whether you want to change, whether you’re ready to change, whether it’s time to change. If the answer is yes, then you have some pretty exciting goals to work toward in upcoming months.