You have the power to design your career. From where you’re sitting, maybe it doesn’t seem that way. Maybe you’re looking at a strict corporate hierarchy. A boss that never asks you your opinion. Or you feel like you don’t have enough experience to make an impact.
What you need to know is that designing your career requires a shift in mindset—from stuck to free. From fearful to open. From unconscious to aware. From powerless to powerful.
The powerless mindset is the, “I’m stuck here, even though I don’t like it” mindset. Have you ever met someone who hated their job? Imagine you run into this guy at a coffee shop. He tells you he dreads getting up every day. But he does it anyway because it pays the bills. He shrugs and says, “work is called work for a reason, right? I live for the weekends anyway.”
Stuck, dejected, passive, unconscious, afraid = powerless.
The powerful mindset is the, “I’m not exactly where I want to be…yet,” mindset. When you run into this guy at the coffee shop, he tells you he doesn’t like his current position. But, “I’m looking into new things, and I’ve got a side project I’m really excited about. My plan is to go to lunch with someone new every week to research different opportunities in the area. In the meantime, I’m living for the weekends, when I can work on my own stuff. We’ll see what happens!”
Free, open, energetic, aware, curious = powerful.
The same situation. Two completely different approaches.
Almost anyone can shift into a powerful mindset. The lived experience of a powerful mindset has three elements:
- awareness of the current situation
- belief that there exists a better way
- belief in the ability to gather the tools and resources necessary to create a new reality
That’s it! Such a simple concept, and powerful enough to change your entire life. But shifting fixed mindsets is not easy. Mindsets are born from thought patterns and belief systems developed over long periods of time. And they manifest in ways we might not be aware of.
“Most powerful is he who has he himself in his own power” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman philosopher, writer, politician, and orator
Here are seven ways you can create a powerful mindset:
- Meditate: Meditation is the single most effective way to become aware of the crazy thought machine called your mind. You cannot solve a problem you don’t know about. You cannot shift a mindset you aren’t aware of. Meditating creates space between you and your thoughts, and helps you develop your instincts so you begin to trust yourself on a deeper-than-thought level. Try the Insight Timer App, check out Headspace, or try these guided meditations for sleep.
- Get a coach: A coach is someone trained to help you help yourself. A coach isn’t there to tell you what to do. They are there to help you fully realize your unique strengths and challenge self-deprecating patterns you may or may not yet be aware of. New Kind’s David Burney is my coach—he specializes in helping people and their organizations become more creative and more impactful.
- Journal: Writing down your thoughts and dreams helps you clarify them, and makes them more likely to come true. Re-reading my journals gives me confidence because I can look back at a dream or goal I had awhile ago, that I didn’t quite know how I would accomplish at the time. It amazes me to see how many of my dreams I have actually been able to manifest.
- Try a new activity: Experimenting with something new helps you practice openness and curiosity—two key traits to overcome fear and feel powerful. Need a suggestion for something totally out of the ordinary that will stretch your comfort zone? How about tango classes, rock climbing, tai chi, or code school?
- Seek inspiration: Surround yourself with people doing cool things. Find opportunities to connect with people from a broad range of industries, and different backgrounds. Events like Hopscotch Design Fest and CreativeMornings are hotbeds for mind-opening inspiration.
- Change your vocabulary: Your words are an expression of your thoughts. Listen to words and phrases you use often. “I’m too busy,” “There isn’t enough time in the day,” “There’s no way…” are phrases that can give you clues into how, why, and where you feel powerless in your career. When you start to change what you say, you can change how you see yourself and your ability to create a future you love.
- Help someone else: A great question to ask yourself every day is, “How can I use my gifts to serve?” Helping others brings you joy. It’s a way to broaden your mind beyond your personal problems. As you put your individual super powers to use for the good of another living being, you realize your unique ability to make an impact.
What’s the number one way you can start to feel more powerful in your career and life?