Today we are talking about mental flossing. Okay, maybe not mental flossing per se, perhaps it's more like managing your mindset. But doesn't mental flossing sounds so much more fun? This is going to be the series for this month. We're going to talk about really doing some mental flossing and what you can do to make sure that you're thinking correctly. So, let's start with this first one. I think the first one is so important for all the rest of them. It is to examine how you think and what you think about. We all have habits we have body habits, and we have mental habits. For example, you could drive home from work and get home and not even remember how you got there. The same thing can happen mentally, we can think something, and eventually it becomes a habit, and we never change the way we think.
A good example is when I was young in my career, I always felt like I wasn't good enough yet. I had to learn more had to do more, and at the time, that was an excellent motivator for me to become an expert in my area. However, once I became an expert, I still thought I wasn't good enough, and that thought persisted for a long time. The problem is we don't even catch how we think to correct it. I didn't realize that I still had a problem with not being good enough until I was in one of my coaching classes and my coach gave me a book to read. She said, “Sarah read this” and I read it, and I thought wow this would help my clients. Then a couple weeks later I met with her again because you had to meet with your coach as you were coaching other people, so I met with her again and she gave me a different book to read. I read it, and I thought this would really help my clients. Then I was about halfway through the third book it when I realize those books were not for my clients. She was trying to help me see that I still had a mental not good enough even though I was now a professional who was pretty doggone good at what I was doing. When I realized that I self-sabotaging with a habit that used to help me but now is harming me I had to figure out how to change what I was thinking.
To changed it, first I had to be able to catch myself thinking that. I created a mantra and put it on sticky notes. I had sticky notes on my mirror, in my car and every time I saw one of my sticky notes, I read it out loud to myself. It was pretty simple it just said “I'm a professional I know what I'm talking about I've paid my dues I am good enough.” For months when I was starting to tell myself I wasn't good enough I was able to have these competing words that helped me catch the fact that I was telling myself I wasn't good enough. It helped me move from not being able to hear myself when I was telling myself I wasn't good enough to be able to hear it. When I caught myself, I would then pause, and I would say you know what that might have been true at one time, but that's no longer the truth, and I would repeat my new mantra. Until eventually I stopped having those feelings of not good enough or I stopped having them as often. There are times that I'm not good enough at something, and there are still plenty of things that I'm not an expert at. But I stopped allowing that thought to come into things that I know I'm an expert.
I encourage each of you to create your Mantra to help you change negative thoughts or thoughts that are no longer serving you. I think you can ask yourself to start to explore when you're having these thoughts. The first question is what else could this be? Is this really true? Is this still true for me? Because many times have habits of thoughts that served us at one time because we were trying to get better. Thinking that you're not good enough because you need to get better at something is amazing, and you need to have that. But when you reach a point where you good at what you do thinking you're not good enough actually starts to harm your credibility. Another question to ask is Would I say this out loud to a person I love? We tell ourselves negative or harmful things, and in a million years we would say that out loud to a person we love. But we would say it internally to ourselves. You have to pause and listen to what you say when you're thinking, Hey I can't do this because or I'd like to do this but … Whatever those thoughts are that are holding you back pay attention and see. Then make a choice does the serve me, and does it serve me well or is it holding me back?