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Good morning and happy Monday! I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday Moment.

Over the last couple of months, we’ve talked about avoiding a shaky leadership foundation. How to do the job of being a leader and what all that entails. It’s quite complex. Leadership is an enormous area of study, action, and effort, but in today’s Monday Moment we’re going to take a look at one element, one small seemingly elusive nugget that encompasses all other areas of leadership. It’s managing your mindset. I ran across a great picture in my Facebook feed, you know the source of all wisdom these days, and want to share it with you. The banana seeing a less ripe banana in its reflection, or in some cases a rotten banana, and that picture brought to mind so much of what leaders face, sometimes daily, in managing their own mindset in the face of criticism, feedback, disagreement, maybe even a team that is still in that forming or even storming phase that’s not all getting along together, and it can wear thin on even the best of leaders. Now those same best leaders are the ones whom I’d encouraged to first be themselves, then lead themselves well before they have any business leading others. But, in the course of leading ourselves well, even the best leaders struggle with how to manage their mindset and it’s an important piece. So, for you to be one of the best, most effective leaders of the team you have the privilege of leading, whether tiny or enormous, here are three steps to even more effectively manage your mindset.

Find an Anchor

The very first step is to find an anchor. We’ve all had those days when looking in the mirror creates reactions of which we might not be proud. You know, something like eww or ick my hair is all messed up, or eww as we turn to the side, so let’s just say your looks ain’t it when it comes to finding an anchor. But an anchor is something upon which you can always rest, something on which you can rely, and usually it comes from one of your very own well-developed skill sets. Your anchor is not the fabulous car you get to drive this week or the new house you just bought because give it a month and something will happen that makes it no longer exciting. At least in the moment it’s not the upcoming vacation you’re so excited about. It’s something within yourself. What are you incredibly good at? What are you doing when you’re in the zone, so to speak, when time flies you have no realization it’s now ready for dinner? What is it that you would say is one of your natural gift, skills, or talents? It’s that anchor that you can always depend on, always rely on. It’s self-driven, self-monitored, and you can control it. It allows you, on those days when you look in the mirror and it’s eww, or you look at the team and think I don’t know if I can do this, I don’t know if I’m good enough, I don’t know if I can even handle being a leader, to manage better. This anchor you can lean on and with which you can say “but you know what? I am amazing at doing Excel spreadsheets”, or “I am incredible at professional speaking”, or “I can connect and talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and anyplace. I make friends in line at the grocery store” and no one can take away that anchor. In order to manage your mindset, find an anchor, or two, or three and write them down somewhere. Post them on the mirror, in your journal, or text them to yourself so that you can recall, pull up, and find these anchors on the days when you need something to hang onto in order to keep from drowning in a sea of what ifs or woe is me, or I don’t know if I can today.

Avoid Extremes

Then let’s move to step 2. When you’re managing your mindset and doing it effectively, you’re using step two, which is to avoid extremes. It’s not so much that you are allowing yourself to avoid extremes it’s that you simply are practicing this concept. Extremes might be everyone hates the way I do this or everyone on the team has something bad to say or I got a 360 feedback form delivered today and all of my co-workers just think I’m awful, or every boss I’ve ever worked with thinks I’m a jerk, or a b-word. Well, you and I both know that the every, the always, the nevers, the everybody, and everyone just isn’t true. They’re extremes. They’re not accurate, but they sure can be debilitating. So when you’re finding it difficult, or struggling with managing your mindset on a given a day or week or longer time period, when you’re in a funk, look at the way you’re describing what caused it all what got you there to begin with. What is it that you’ve perceived that the whole world must believe for which you now must suffer? Be much more specific about which ONE person disagrees with your input or what TWO people struggled with the way you messaged that information you had to share. What ONE boss are you struggling with which to connect? Avoid the extremes and lean on your anchors and then move to the most fun, perhaps most rewarding, third step of managing your mind set.

Find an Interruption

That third step? Find an interruption. Your brain is fascinating. It’ll latch onto one concept and then immediately go to work finding all the connected concepts and make you believe all these concepts should be strung together until such point when you have spun down the spiral or the slippery slide, as I call it, of confidence and you are now down in the puddle at the bottom. All those things weren’t all necessarily connected but once your brain gets a hold of an emotional topic it runs with it. It seeks to validate your own input and is trying to be helpful, but in the case of a not so well-managed mindset, such efforts can be pretty damaging. Find a pattern interrupter. Go do something for just a moment that you enjoy. Read a book, read an article, scroll through your Facebook feed for just a moment (just don’t do it perpetually). Maybe the Facebook feed isn’t the answer because if you’re in the mode of feeling less than worthy you might start doing some comparisons so maybe it’s find your favorite author, find your favorite TV show that’s funny and watch a short clip. Find someone that you always know has your back and is your cheerleader and call him or her. It’s finding that one pattern interrupter or simple interruption that allows you to say, oh okay wait a minute, I’m not all abysmal. I’m not all bad, all of my skills are not awful. You’re trying to interrupt the extremes. Interrupt the concerns, doubts, fears, or worries you may have in the face of whatever feedback or criticism or simple misinterpreted message you’ve been given. Your mindset matters as does your ability to manage it and your inability to manage it will handcuff your ability to excel as a leader.

Find your anchor, interrupt your patterns, all the while avoiding extremes and extreme language and you won’t ever again look in the mirror and see what this banana sees in its reflection. I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have an amazing week, an even better Monday and of course, stay contagious! And I almost forgot, if you’re not receiving these Monday Moments regularly, now is the time. Let’s get on that www, MondayMoment.com. I look forward to talking with you in the coming weeks as we deliver these blog posts and videos directly to your inbox. Stay tuned because coming up next is coaching and teamwork.

Monica Wofford, CSP is a celebrated leader who develops future leaders. CEO of Contagious Companies, her firm delivers and designs leadership training for managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared, and the leaders who promoted them. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica and members of the Contagious team may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.

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