Simple Ways To Change Your Mindset At Work (Part Three)
Dear, Entreprenistas. In the previous two posts we discussed tips from the EM ‘mindset series,’ on how to change your mindset at work; and now we get to dig into part three! Note: The next two paragraphs are a bit of a repeat from blog one and two, in case you’re just joining us. If you’ve already read this portion, skip to the next section!
Developing a negative mindset at work can be a raw deal, but it is also part of having a career and being a professional. Whether you love or hate your current job (or profession), know that it is normal to feel super ‘put out’ and discouraged by your work environment from time to time. There, I said it; you can breathe a sigh of relief. You are in fact normal for not LOVING every minute of your job.
However, if you develop a negative mindset at work, it doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck. More importantly, it doesn’t say that you must change careers or quit your job. Woohoo! 👏I feel a simple approach to mindset change is best. Here are what I consider the most reliable and simple ways to change your mindset at work.
PS once I started writing this blog, I realized how much I wanted to share with all of you Entreprenistas out there! Therefore I’ve split it into three parts. If you haven’t read part one or part two, click here to start at the beginning.
But without further delay, let’s get started on part three! 😍
Walk it off
It’s absolutely fantastic what a little fresh air and perspective can do for your headspace. If you’re in a major funk at work and don’t quite know where to start with your daily tasks or how to proceed with a project, take a break from it. Go outside and walk for 10 minutes, grab a coffee with a friend or go do a workout. ‘Walking it off’ may seem like kind of a cliche, but there’s lot’s of evidence that changing the scenery and getting the endorphins up in your body (which exercise does) can have immense positive outcomes on your mood and productivity. If you’re like me, you may need to insert an endorphin boost daily. I literally turn into a grumpy, sluggish wreck if I miss my daily workout. But not all of us need an intense physical boost every day. Maybe a daily walk is just the trick or coffee break with a colleague. Whatever works best for you, just do it. Don’t make up a million excuses about why staying at your desk is necessary--it’s not. Get off your ass and get some endorphins flowing! You’re welcome in advance.
Side note: This is not a diet and exercise blog. I do not have a degree in a health-related field, so please take my advice for what it is--friendly advice from your Entreprenista Mama. But, if you want more input from a credible source, I highly recommend any of the posts from Fitness Magazine. Click here to read their post on 10 Ways Exercise Can Improve Your Mood.
Find a creative outlet
Aside from finding physical ways to reduce your work stress, improve your mood and change your professional mindset, introducing a new mental outlet into your daily life can also increase your engagement with your career and give you a sense of renewed satisfaction with your life in general. The Huffington Post published this blog last year on the benefits of finding a new hobby, and there are a lot of positive reasons to pick up something new. Check it out to see what I mean.
The thing is though, life often gets in the way of starting anything new, right? I can’t tell you the number of times I have promised myself that I would finally pick up photography, get the skills I need to use a professional camera that’s been sitting in my closet for four-plus years, and maybe start an incredible love affair with the art of photography--then life gets in the way. My kids get sick, or I take on a new client and find myself slammed, or I just make up a bunch of excuses. But this isn’t about me and my lack of hobby-dedication, it’s about you! That said, I totally get how hard it can be to introduce a new creative outlet (or hobby) into your life. But, if you indeed are in a funk at work, it’s time to consider this possibility.
For me, I was able to reconcile my desire to take photos with the reality of my available capacity to do so, and instead, I have found lots of creative ways to scratch the ‘photographer bug’ with my iPhone. I still want to improve my photo-skills on my professional camera at some point, but for now, working on composition and creativity with my iPhone photos is what I get to do, and I’m stoked with it! The point is, you don’t have to go out and buy all the gear for rock climbing (if that’s your dream), take dance lessons, or become the next great baker to introduce something new and creative to your daily life. I know some of us have a tendency to obsess, and I’m not here to stop you, but if getting started on your dream hobby is where you keep getting stuck, begin with a manageable goal! Continuing with the rock climbing example; maybe you can spare one night a month and rent gear or take a beginners class. Just start there. See where it takes you. Be open to the possibilities, and you will reap the benefits (plus change your mood). Hooray! 🙌
Take a break
‘Break’ is a loose term. I am using it in the course of this blog post to give you the freedom to decide how you want to utilize a ‘break from work.’ First off, I want to be clear that I am not encouraging you to quit your job. Please don’t, unless you have a clear plan and/or something else lined up. Thank you. 🙏
What I want to focus on in this section is the idea that if you take a more extended break (like a much-needed vacation) from your job, you will hopefully come back refreshed and ready to conquer the world! Most of us take vacations on an annual basis, but something I’ve noticed over the 10+ years I’ve been a professional woman is that many women don’t take time to reset mentally on their vacations from work. Meaning they come back to their day job exhausted--which is not a recipe for reinvigorating your career. Does this sound like you? Do you use your vacation time to visit in-laws or take the kids to Disneyland? If the answer is yes, you’re probably burning your well-being candle at both ends. And you know what that means: your self-candle will burn out.
So in honor of yourself, and the beautiful, smart, creative, fun and happy goddess I know you are, for GOD'S SAKE, take a long weekend and go on a retreat, or to the beach by yourself (or with a few close friends), or just take a few afternoons off to get a massage and hike. Just do something relaxing for your body, Okay?! You only get one life and one body. Give it a rest, and I’ll bet ya a million bucks you’ll come back to work with a happier and more optimistic mindset.💪 You really do deserve it! 💋
Choose not to engage vs. engage
Here we go. I purposefully saved this section for last in this three-part blog series. Really, this could be its own post. But in the interest of respecting your time and my ability to keep writing, I’m going to try and fit my thoughts on the topic of ‘not engaging’ in a few paragraphs.
There will come a time in your career if it hasn’t happened already when you will feel like you are being abused or harassed at work. If the reason you are reading this blog series is due to a toxic work environment, which in turn is creating a negative mindset with your job, this section is for you. A toxic work environment can evolve from many different issues, but whatever the reason your work environment has become this way, please know that first and foremost you are not to blame and you don’t necessarily have to mentally engage.
If there is sexual harassment, harassment because of your race, sexual orientation or another reason taking place, I urge you to ignore the remainder of this piece and seek legal assistance. Your well being, physically and mentally, is my priority. This section is not meant to solve an issue when abusive behavior is involved. So, please please take a moment to think about whether or not you need to get outside help, and please do so. You can read more about what constitutes as harassment on the U.S. Employment Equal Opportunity Commission page, here.
The remaining portion of this blog is meant for competitive or unfriendly work situations that you can handle without Human Resources or outside legal assistance. Okay, here goes.
My first corporate boss was what you might consider cruel, but not in a way that would have allowed me to gain outside support to deal with her actions. In retrospect, the position provided me with a great opportunity to a) learn about the harassment ‘grey area,’ and b) learn tactics to deal with toxicity in the workplace--talk about mindset downer. Here’s what I learned.
If you are dealing with a colleague or boss at work that makes your life (for lack of a better term) a living hell, if you are working for a company that has a toxic culture, or feel like you may be becoming the poisonous person on your team--due to lack of engagement in your job, there’s hope! The best advice I can give you, which you are welcome to take with a grain of salt, is really very simple. You have two choices: to engage or not to engage. But the decision must start with a self-assessment of your mindset and the situational variables.
First: Ask yourself if the toxicity you are dealing with has the potential to change with a conversation, or if it is not going to change no matter what you do. For example, if it’s a negative dynamic on a team, getting everyone together to hash out the issues may work to change the dynamic back to positive.
Second: If your work environment has no chance of change, ask yourself if you can live with the situation as it is. If your boss is just a crass a-hole and that’s never going to improve, can you find a way to disengage with the behavior while still engaging with your work? Read this post from Psychology Today on dealing with difficult people for more on the topic.
Third: If you feel a direct (but kind) conversation could change the situation for the better, make it happen! Difficult conversations are frankly part of life. The sooner you can get comfortable with them, the better for you, your mindset and everyone you work with! PS the trick to difficult conversations is approaching the issue from a place of empathy and kindness. More here on that topic.
You have reached the end of the Entreprenista Mama ‘Mindset Series.’ Thank you for tuning in!
Let me know what other creative ways you’ve learned to change your mindset at work! Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Have a guest blog you’re dying to share with our Entreprenista Tribe? Get in touch with me here!