3 Mindset Shifts we Need to Ditch

Posted by Jenni Catron on Oct 17, 2023 9:15:28 PM

3 Mindset Shifts We Need To Ditch


”The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” 


That saying may be a bit cheesy, but I believe that is actually true. When you study great leaders, athletes, musicians, or anyone with success in their field, the key is typically their mindset. It’s that little extra. The way they think is different. That difference in perspective is what informs their philosophy, motivates them to habits of discipline, and inspires them to greatness.


Let’s unpack 3 mindsets you need to ditch ASAP if you want to achieve the extraordinary impact you were created for. 


MINDSET #1: Fear of Failure

This is one of the most common negative mindsets. What if this fails?  What if I fail? I can’t put myself out there. What if I’m found out to be an imposter? What if I don’t have what it takes?


The fear of failure causes us to avoid challenges where there’s a chance we may not succeed. This actually keeps us from dreaming big. Our potential is diminished because we only do things we know and are comfortable with. We stick to things we can control. 


If you struggle with a fear of failure, you may find yourself setting expectations really low so you won’t get disappointed. That mentality is a self-protection mechanism against being hurt, disappointed, or experiencing failure. You may be going…”um yeah…duh. Who wants to feel that?!” This mentality says, “If you don’t expect anything good to happen, then you won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t.” 


Here’s where that mentality doesn’t serve you well.  First and most importantly, God often calls us to things beyond our current capacity, understanding, and skill.  Failure is probable when we rely completely on ourselves. Relying on God is essential in releasing that fear.  


Secondly, When we get into the habit of avoiding failure, we don’t grow. When we avoid taking risks, we repeat what we know we can expect from ourselves, which feels stable. The downside is we often become stagnant and sabotage our own leadership growth and the growth of those around us.


The root of this fear of failure is typically shame. We don’t want to be embarrassed or made to look like a sham.  Understanding the root is a good first step in the process of ditching this mindset. 

MINDSET #2: Scarcity  

This mindset says, “I never have enough-” enough time, money, and talent. This mindset is always focused on lack. 


When scarcity creeps in, so does greed and an unhealthy striving. When you begin to operate under the mentality that there are not enough resources to go around, you begin to hoard. And this isn’t only about resources. It’s also scarcity in yourself. Some who struggle with a scarcity mindset are in a constant state of defeat. “I can’t do this…this is too hard…I’m not going to make it…Nothing will change…it has always been the same.” It is a constant feeling of treading water and not being able to make headway. 


When you’re stuck in this mindset, looking beyond yourself is hard. You begin to look at everything through the lens of how it will affect you. If someone on your team gets praised, that gets translated as you not getting any credit because a scarcity mindset thinks there’s not enough credit to go around. Someone else’s win means your loss. 

Here’s how that eventually plays out. You become stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious, trying to scrape and claw to get ahead. You operate with no margin, impacting your energy and the focus you give to your work. This causes you to invest your energies in unproductive tasks, inevitably making you feel bad about your work. 


Scarcity tends to give way to always rushing and always feeling scattered. This causes your personal relationships to suffer because you may start to isolate and neglect those around you to conserve energy. 

MINDSET #3: Excuse-Making

And the trifecta of negative mindsets wraps us up with…”It’s not my fault!” This blame-shifting, excuse-making mindset focuses on self-pity. “It’s not fair if only I had…” fill in the blank with whatever you perceive keeps you from having any advantage. 


Simon Sinek says, “Excuses don’t help make things better, they only offer a rationale to avoid trying.”


While successful people take ownership, adapt, and crush it… excuse-makers are staying stagnant. That sounds like our friend ‘fear of failure”. They both land in the same place. This mindset of excuse-making fosters a passive posture. We can tend to slide into apathy or laziness, waiting for things to happen. Most of your day will be determined by the patterns you’ve either intentionally created or passively allowed. No excuses!


The most successful people in the world do what they know they need to be doing even when they don’t feel like doing it. There are countless stories of athletes like Tiger Woods, not skipping a single practice, golfing in the rain. 


You can always talk yourself into excuses and out of responsibility. 


With all 3 of these mindsets, ditching them often starts with discovering the root. Where did this mindset come from? 


Awareness often helps uncover the unhealthy roots, motivating us to pursue change. Think about how you speak. What have you been repeating to yourself to reinforce this negative mindset? When you change your words, you start to change the way you think. When you change the way you think, it changes the way you act. 


Your actions affect how you lead, and how you lead affects your influence. Influence is all about people. There are people on the other side of your leadership. Your mindset will impact them. Let your mindset reflect the kind of impact you want to reproduce.


Which of these mindsets do you struggle with the most? What do you think the root of that mindset comes from? What is one truth you need to speak and put on repeat to combat that mindset? 

Written by Carey O'Connor, 4Sight Coach

Carey currently serves as co-lead pastor of Christian Life Fellowship - focusing on vision, strategy, and leadership development. She navigated a 3-year transition of leadership from a long tenured pastor while overseeing a culture shift. She is passionate about helping other churches lead through healthy transitions. Carey works with organizations, facilitating leadership workshops, one-on-one coaching, strategic planning, and leadership talks. She currently serves on advisory teams for discipleship strategies in cross-cultural ministries and is passionate about seeing the Kingdom of God advance through disciple-making movements throughout the world. 

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Topics: Leadership, self leadership, Extraordinary Leadership, carey o'connor

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