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No, Mindset ISN'T Everything

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

Hey Geeks. Get ready for some controversy (or is it CONtroversy??). You’re probably used to coaches telling you that mindset is “everything”. That if you only have the right attitude and belief system, you’ll be able to overcome all your problems and life will be grand. Well, I'm here to call bullsh*t on that. Mindset is NOT everything.

What's the issue?

Don’t get me wrong. Mindset IS important, but it isn't this magical key that a lot of people will tell you it is. I say that because only focusing on what’s going on up here, *taps temple*, puts the responsibility on the individual to have this particular mindset to be able to thrive - while ignoring other factors that have a significant impact on their life.

Got a chronic illness or disability? That’ll have an impact. Have a neurodivergence that changes how you perceive and operate in this neurotypical world? Definitely. Low income? Yep. “Ethnic minority” (I’ve always hated that phrase)? Religious minority? LGBTQIA+? Living through a (completely mismanaged) pandemic? More than one of the above?

Telling people to ONLY focus on getting that “right” mindset when they’re moving through the world facing discrimination and oppression, resultant mental and physical stress and illness dismissive, minimising and a set-up for failure.

As a real-life example, I’ve been having a difficult time with some health things lately, and the impact on my daily life, work and business has been significant. Now, I am definitely checking my mindset – but not ONLY that. And honestly? Sometimes mindset does go out the window – because there’s only so far that can take me when the biggest problem I’m dealing with is medical and I can’t access the help I need. Of course I feel flat and frustrated. That’s natural for the situation. Trying to “mindset” my way out of it will make me feel worse, because it frames it as something I shouldn’t be feeling and that I can fix - and if I can’t then it turns into a personal failing.

So, what can we do?

Work with someone who takes into account the whole you. I’m working with my coach to figure out some very practical ways to support myself, both with business and everyday life. My coach is aware of what's happening outside the "coaching space" so we're focusing on what I CAN change. Do you have a support network? If not, look at how you can cultivate one. Friends, family, colleagues (shout-out to my colleagues who have been diamonds), social groups, clubs...find your people. We don't have to "fix" everything alone.

In coaching, I often advocate for looking at how you can influence change in the outside world, as well as your inner one. How can you help influence change on a societal level? Many of the issues I mention above are only problems because of society's attitudes. We CAN change that, but it's a long game and we need to do that together.

Lastly, give yourself some grace. We're so bombarded with messages of how we should be able to succeed no matter what that this one can feel hard. "Am I being lazy?", "Maybe, if I just tried harder...". Sound familiar? Stop thrashing yourself and do what is within your ability for now.

What's the Take-Home Message?

Whatever your challenge or struggle, remember that not everything is a “you” thing. What's going on in the outside world affects us more than pop-psychology would have us believe. Mindset IS important. But it ISN’T everything.

How do you feel when you see coaches and wellness professionals plugging mindset as a cure-all? Does it annoy you as much as it annoys me?! Leave me a comment and let me know!

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