We’ve all heard the concept “it’s 80% mental and 20% physical,” or some variation applied to nearly every endeavor under the sun – sports, business and relationships. And I’ve even heard some people say that it’s upwards of 90% to 99.99% mental.
If that is true, then how should we enhance on our mindset and psychology?
Everyone has their go-to technique. But Tina Greenbaum, a peak performance and executive coach and a dynamic optimal performance workshop leader, has created a tried-and-true five step process, which has improved the mindset of business leaders, athletes, artists, and speakers over the past 30 years, for developing an unstoppable mindset.
Tina said, “Any kind of business that you’re going to invest money in, you take a risk. And in order to take a risk, we’re now in the unknown. We take what we call calculated risks, we kind of do our homework and put our money where we think that it’s going to make money for us, but the truth is we don’t know what’s actually going happen tomorrow, none of us do. So, when we get caught up in trying to control the future, we get into trouble.”
In order to provide you with the techniques required to successfully navigate the unknown, In our recent conversation, Tina outlined her five-step curriculum for cultivating your mindset.
1 – Focus on what you want
Number one, and the foundation to the entire process, is focus. Tina said, for almost everything we do, “We kind of lose focus, we bring it back, we get distracted, we bring it back.” So, the question you need to ask yourself is, what do I focus on? Or, am I focusing on what I am supposed to be? Also, what happens to you when you lose focus? And how do you even know when you aren’t paying attention?
A really important concept, Tina said, is “whatever we focus on expands.” Or, as my mentor Trevor McGregor always says, “where focus goes, energy flows.” So, if we are focusing on the wrong thing, are constantly losing our focus or are unaware of what we are focusing on, that’s what our experience of life is going to be.
To work on honing your focus, Tina said, “as the day goes on, or you’re with family, or you’ve in a business meeting, just notice, ‘How am I talking to myself?’ because you’ve got to be your own best friend.”
I find that the remaining four steps are a continuation of this step. They will guide you towards maximizing the amount of time spent focusing on the right things, and minimizing the time spent focusing on the wrong things or being unaware of what it is that you’re focusing on, which is the key to the unstoppable mindset.
2 – Relaxation to eliminate negative emotions in the moment
Next is relaxation. Tina is a firm believer in the mind/body connection. She said, “in order to manage stress, we have to be able to manage our nervous system. And in order to manage our nervous system, we have to know how to do that.”
“If our system is on overload, we can’t think clearly. So, if you’re in a negotiation and you want to have your best foot forward, you want to be very grounded and you want to know exactly what you’re taking in, and be conscious of what’s happening internally.”
Tina provided a relaxation exercise called the Three-Step Breath that – when practiced repetitively – will allow you to instantly calm down your nervous system when you get anxious, worried, or stressed. I recommend listening to that part of the podcast Steps to an unstoppable mindset skillset, but here is a summary:
- Place your hands on your belly, breath in through your nose, and allow your belly to fill up. Then, let out all the breath before you take in the next breath. In through your nose, out through your nose.
- Once you’ve mastered the belly breath, repeat the same process, but this time, the first half of the breath should fill up the belly and the second half should fill up your rib cage. Then breathe out, letting the belly go first, followed by the rib cage.
- Once you’ve mastered the belly-rib breath, repeat the same process, but this time, the first third of the breath should fill up the belly, the next third is the rib cage, and the finally third is the upper chest. On the breath out, let the belly go first, followed by the rib cage, followed by the upper chest.
Tina said, “if you’re starting to feel anxious and you’re not sure which way to go and what you want to say, you just take a moment, nobody will see it; you don’t have to put your hands on your body, just take a nice deep breath, let it go, and all of a sudden now your mind is back.”
3 – Use mindfulness to create an emotional vocabulary
Three is mindfulness. Tina said, “we operate automatically, but there’s so much going on; there’s so much under the surface that if you become a student of really being curious [and mindful] about your own unconscious material, your own self, what’s driving you, what’s calling you and what you’re scared of, [you will discover] how do I react in a certain situations? What kind of negotiator am I? What is my tolerance for risk? What happens when I feel I am over the line, I’m risking too much?”
Again, like relaxation, building up your mindfulness muscle takes practice. You can perform mindfulness mediation, where you sit and pay attention to everything that comes into your awareness. Or, more practically, when you are feeling a strong emotion, anxiety or stress, notice the sensations it gives your body. Then, Tina said, “once I learn to identify what those sensations mean to me, then I’ve got a new language.”
4 – Eliminate negative self-talk and take responsibility
Four is your self-talk. “Negative self-talk,” Tina said. “Sometimes we get really annoyed with ourselves. ‘Ugh, I can’t believe I did that’, or ‘That was really stupid.’ Or ‘I don’t really have anything to say here.’ There’s a million different ways that we undo ourselves. So again, if we don’t even know how we’re talking to ourselves, then the mind just does what it does – you’ve heard the term ‘monkey mind’, it jumps all over the place. [If] it’s not managed, it’s not controlled.”
This brings us back to focus. If we focus on the negative self-talk, we will self-sabotage ourselves – sometimes without even being aware of it. In fact, here is a list of the 22 self-sabotaging behaviors that lead to entrepreneurial extinction. How many of these behaviors do you have?
Sometimes, our self-talk may not be negatively directed towards us, but towards others. The example Tina provided was bringing a package to the post office on Saturday at 12:10pm and arrived just in time to realize it closed at noon. Negative self-talk would be beating yourself up for being the idiot that didn’t realize the post office was closed, blaming the post office for not adhering to your schedule, or cursing the universe. Instead, Tina said, “you could say to yourself … that ‘I take responsibility for my own experience. I am in charge of what happens to me. I’m in charge of what I create.”
Taking responsibility for everything negative that happens will ultimately lead you to asking yourself how you may have played a part in creating the dilemma. In the post office example, it is her fault for not looking up the operating hours. Then, once you identify your level of culpability and a solution, now you have a new piece of information you didn’t have before, and you should never face this predicament again.
Now, use that concept of taking responsibility, determining how you played a role, identifying the solution and apply it moving forward to everything you do rather than falling down the negative self-talk rabbit hole.
5 – Create Powerful Visualizations
Finally, create powerful visualizations. Imagine the way you want your life to be and where you want to go. You may not have a clue of how you will get there, but once you have a vision in place, Tina said, “ask yourself ‘is what I’m doing going to take me to that end result? … Am I moving in that direction, or am I way off? Am I just kind of getting lost in making agreements and decisions about things that don’t take me where I want?’… If our whole body and our minds are in alignment and we’re looking at what we want to create – again, everything that we focus on expands – and we use the power of visualization, you can create a visualization and even if it hasn’t happened yet, your brain already has had that experience … and then we walk it.”
While you should create visualizations for your overarching vision, this technique has day-to-day applications as well. Tina said, “every time I do a workshop, or I’m getting ready to do a talk, or a lecture, I sit down in the morning and I visualize, ‘what do I want to create? What’s the environment that I want to create? What do I want to have happen?’, and I walk through it step-by-step. And then when I’m actually doing it, it’s like I’ve been there.”
Mastery coach Tina Greenbaum’s five-part curriculum for creating an unstoppable mind is:
- Focus on what you want
- Relaxation to eliminate negative emotions in the moment
- Use mindfulness to construct an emotional vocabulary
- Eliminate negative self-talk and take responsibility
- Create powerful visualizations
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.