My husband and I embarked on a mindset journey about three years ago started with him going to a work conference. When he came home he was really excited to tell me something that caught me by surprise:
“Honey our problem is we are in an inward mindset”.
Now, I had no idea what he was talking about, but from this one statement started a journey for us that would change our marriage and our business forever. This journey revolves around the education we received from the Arbinger Institute and their work on mindset.
This is kind of a loaded question but we get this one ALOT. Unfortunately, in today’s creative business community, mindset is a term that is thrown around to mean everything from your perception to how you think. While these definitions may sound good they are not complete and don’t capture the full meaning of mindset.
The meaning we are looking at comes from Arbinger’s book The Outward Mindset and it states that mindset is a way that we see people and regard the world- how we see others, circumstances challenges, opportunities, and obligations.
This definition may seem simple but lets look at it from another perspective as a lens through how we see situations. If you are seeing a situation through a foggy or cloudy lens (inward mindset) then your behavior and results will not take into account your surroundings and will usually turn out negative. On the other hand, if you view everything from a clear lens, then you will be aware of your surroundings and be able to make decisions that take into account your impact on others. Now that we have a basic understanding of mindset, lets dive a little deeper
Mindset is a journey, not a destination. It is something you have to work on every day to make sure you don’t fall into common mindset traps. The reason you have to work at it more often than you think is that it can change in almost an instant.
Lets start from the more positive side of our journey with the outward mindset. In the most simplest terms, outward mindset is where we see people as people. When you truly see someone as a person all preconceptions, prejudices, and misgivings are gone. You only see them for who they are and you truly care about their goals, dreams, and desires.
Lets look at an example of a young child; one minute you are playing with your kid and then all of a sudden say they spill a drink. In that split second what happens in your head? Do you get angry? What caused the shift? MINDSET. Once you have refocused your thoughts and feelings, how do you feel? Maybe you are more aware and are looking at cleaning the spill versus blaming your child. From this mindset, you are more aware of your surroundings and take into account your impact on how the child is feeling. This mindset also makes you want to reach out and truly help other people.
Now let’s go to the opposite side of the spectrum and look at the inward mindset. Unfortunately, in today’s creative industry this is the one most business owners operate from as almost a default setting. In this mindset, your own personal goals and success matter above everything else. In this case you don’t view people as people, but objects.
In a sense you almost have to dehumanize someone to treat them badly.
How do you treat objects? Do you ignore them, push them out of the way, maybe suppress them? Think about your relationship with other vendors, do you view them as a way to get more clients or as people? The thing that makes this mindset so toxic is the fact you can switch to it without even realizing it. Going back to the child spilling the drink, how long did it take the parent to change their mindset from seeing their child as a person to seeing them as an annoyance (or object) for spilling the drink. Then do you think this mindset would influence how you react? ABSOLUTELY.