Turning Your Head Around

No, I'm not going to talk about the Linda Blair move from The Exorcist.

This post is about changing your mindset.  (I wrote a post earlier this week about the success mindset, and this is yet different from that, too.)  Specifically, changing your mindset when you are working on something that is hard.

Yesterday, I was hard at work on a project, hard being the operative word, and I was cranky.  The piece was complicated and it required deep concentration and a lot of thought.  The deeper I got into, the crankier I got and I soon I was whining up a storm.  Which, of course, only made everything more difficult.  But ultimately, it was me that was making it more difficult, because I was psyching myself out about how hard it was.

Duh.

So I stopped myself and my chattering brain for a moment and took stock.  I had already:

  • Put together all the research I needed
  • Gotten clear on the audience
  • Developed a loose outline

So what was the problem?  I needed to change my mindset.  Instead of bitching and moaning about the project, I needed to generate some enthusiasm.  And here's how I did that:

Remember the Vision

I asked myself, why was I doing this in the first place?  For love, money, prestige, career enhancement? The why doesn't matter so much as re-connecting to it.  If it is a project you are doing strictly for the money, envision depositing your fee in your checking account, or seeing a payment coming through on Paypal.  If it is for love, remind yourself what it is about the project that attracted you to it in the first place.  

Get Really Clear

All success starts with clarity.  You need to know where you're going before you get there.  If you get very clear on the parameters of the project, you'll have a much easier time.  As I've mentioned before, when something isn't working, there's a reason.  You may need more clarity.  Go back and look at your outline, or write one up if you haven't already.

Focus

Maybe you are struggling because your mindset is diluted and vague.  I'm a complete and total email and internet whore, but even I have to once in awhile shut down all inboxes and websites in order just to concentrate on the task at hand.  It is amazing how much minor distractions can pull at us and make us feel antsy and unhappy.  

Think About the Who

In fiction, it is the characters who matter.  In life, it is other people.  Sometimes it helps me to remember that.  So if I'm bogged down in a project, I think about the people I'm doing it for, how I'm helping them, how happy they are going to be to get this information, and so on.  If that doesn't work, because, say, I hate the people I'm doing the project for (rare, as I'm sort of a people whore also), then I think about the people in my life that I love, and remember that if I buckle down and get the project done I can go spend time with them.

Usually, I find that I can change my mindset by really thinking about one of these things.  What about you?  How do you change your mindset when it isn't working?

(And remember, if you try and try to change your mindset but don't seem to be able to, maybe you need the help of a coach.  Email me for more information.)

PS–I tried and tried to find a photo of Linda Blair with her head turning around to illustrate this post, but to no avail.

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5 Comments on "Turning Your Head Around"

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Christi
Guest

To change my mindset I leave the problem (my writing) and find something completely mundane (housework, paying bills, etc…) to do for a while.

It never fails. I get so busy with the lame stuff that new ideas can’t help but flow again.

As for the head spinning shot, did you try YouTube?

Thanks for the great post,
Christi

Derek
Guest
Derek
If I can just put a Zen perspective on this, as if I would do anything else! I guess you can say that I change my mindset by commitment. Until I am totally committed, I am not really on the journey to my goal. In Zen, it is said that it is the journey, not the destination that matters. Paradoxically though, we need a destination. It’s the same as what you are saying above, “the why doesn’t matter”, but without the why you wouldn’t be doing it. To get to the destination without having been fully aware of each step… Read more »
Patty - Why Not Start Now?
Guest

Lots of times I just give in to my whining and go mope for a bit. It seems to work, weird as that sounds. But I also find that if I do something different for a bit, like walk out in the garden and look at the blooms, my enthusiasm will return.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
Christi, I agree, it is always a good idea to get up from the computer. Sometimes the ideas start to flow immediately as soon as I move. Derek, I aspire to be you, so present in every moment. Love your concept of commitment. Jacki, Thanks for finding the picture. Watch the movie sometime when you are with a lot of other people. It still creeps me out. And I’m really glad you enjoy the blog. Patty, I do think there’s a time and place for whining and moping, though I try to set myself a time limit. Like only 10… Read more »
Jacki
Guest

Here’s a link to a picture:comment image

Never seen it, but that looks super creepy.

Also, great post. I love how you write entries that apply to my life, and not always just the writing. 🙂

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