Session 11: Performance Inhibitors-Mind Slants
Now that we know more about Mind Slants, a major factor that can hurt our performance, what can we do to foster WISE-dom for ourselves and others?
The following strategies are an excellent way to begin to address the common Mind Slants we all face:
Identify: The first step is to know what kind of thought or situation makes you feel unsafe. Use the descriptions of mind slants/cognitive distortions from Part 1 as a starting point to help you review your negative thoughts and figure out which thoughts may be causing you to feel unsafe. Also, continue to check in with yourself regularly about what situations make you feel more unsafe. This information is critical to helping you to create more safety for yourself.
Gather Evidence: One of the best ways to counter negative thoughts and cognitive distortions is to gather evidence to see if they are actually true. An effective way to interrupt your thoughts when they start to make you feel unsafe can be asking yourself, "What is the evidence that this is true?" Reminding yourself of past positive events and evaluations can help to counter negative thoughts by using facts.
Reframe: Using the evidence you gathered can be a great way to reframe your negative thoughts and shift them into a more positive light to increase your sense of safety. For example, if you tend to catastrophize, you can remind yourself of other times when the worst outcome you predicted did not actually happen. This will remove some of the power from that negative thought and make you feel safer at the moment.
Be Kind and Patient Towards Yourself: It is essential to remember that increasing your sense of safety and countering negative thoughts takes time. We may have had years of "practicing" this negative thinking so it may take some time to create new habits and see the change. Try not to get discouraged if this process doesn't always work. Just being aware of what is making you feel unsafe is a huge step towards fostering safety for yourself and others. Genuinely. As we always say, it is about progress, not perfection.
These strategies can also be used in your role as a leader. You will likely be more available for the people you are leading if you're able to address your own negative thoughts and fears. Additionally, understanding how the mind works can help you to better understand your team members' possible struggles, which greatly increases your ability to lead effectively. True leadership comes from addressing your growth areas and maximizing your strengths to connect with your team, allowing them to also bring out the best version of themselves.