Are you a perfectionist? How to manage your mindset and be inspirational.
Today I heard Katie Rasoul, author of Hidden Brilliance, speak on the topic of managing your energy. She talked a lot about how to change your mindset and how changing your old thoughts can help high achievers (and what entrepreneur isn’t a high achiever?) feel more positive and energetic at work and in life.
Katie explained that there are two types of energy, catabolic energy and anabolic energy. Catabolic energy is energy we use to accomplish tasks that drain us. For example, it takes a lot of energy to have a tough discussion or an argument with someone. It also takes a lot of energy to focus while doing repetitive, boring tasks that require concentration. Many people are drained after arguments or doing work they find boring because they are using catabolic energy. Anabolic energy is energy we use when we are doing things that make us feel expansive, creative, and happy. Many people describe the feeling of anabolic energy as “flow.” You know that feeling of flow - when you’re completely immersed in a task and time flies by.
Although nobody can avoid activities that use catabolic energy, Katie explained that by changing our mindset, we can stop our limiting beliefs, silence our inner critic, and have a more positive attitude. We participated in an exercise where we were asked to think about an challenge we are grappling with in our lives. First, we needed to consider our thoughts about this challenge. Then, we considered our feelings about this challenge. Finally, we thought about the actions we typically take because of these feelings. Katie explained that our thoughts influence our feelings. Our feelings influence our actions. Therefore if we can change our thoughts about our challenges, we will feel differently about our ability to overcome our challenges, and we will take different - and more positive - actions. If it sounds like a simple solution to having a more positive attitude, that’s because it is. But just because it’s a simple solution doesn’t mean it’s simple to change your mindset. You have to consciously work at it. When we participated in this exercise, she had us write down our self-limiting thoughts, our current feelings, and our typical actions along with our more powerful thoughts, new feelings, and more positive actions. Writing everything down made it more real for me. If you do this exercise, I highly suggest you write your answers down also.
Other inspirational nuggets from Katie:
Everything is a choice. You can choose to work at having a more positive attitude. You can choose to do more of what energizes you and limit what doesn’t. You will never eliminate all stress from your life, but if you can find something that can raise your level of positivity from a 6 to a 7, do it!
Eliminate the word “should” from your vocabulary. Should is a combination of could + shame. We say we “should” do something when it’s something we could do but generally don’t want to. We feel guilty about not doing what we should. It brings bad energy. Of course, there will always be things we should do, but try to find another way to think about those tasks. On the mirror in my bedroom, I have “I get to…” written in dry erase marker. Whenever I have something I don’t want to do, I tell myself I get to do whatever that thing is. It doesn’t change the reality of the situation, but sometimes you need to hear that things aren’t going to be as bad as you think they will be!
It’s not about you. We often come into situations with assumptions and interpretations based on our feelings and experiences. But other people do what they do because of THEIR assumptions and interpretations. If we listen, not just to respond, but to understand and to feel, we will emerge from our situation with new thoughts, new feelings, and better actions.
I was so excited about Katie’s presentation that I got her book as soon as I got back to my desk. Although I haven’t read it yet, if it’s half as good as her presentation, it’s guaranteed to have a lot of great insights that can help anyone feel better, overcome their perfectionism, and get past negative feelings to be a more inspirational person at work and a home.