By Michael Mink
Top achievers possess a winning mindset other people lack. But you're not born with it. You can develop a winner's way of thinking.
Amy Jen Su, author of "The Leader You Want To Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self — Every Day," says we often have two conflicting sides.
Our "Leader A mode," she says, holds a broader perspective. You don't resist the moment. You ride the wave of daily challenges with more ease, effectiveness and resilience. But sometimes "Leader B mode" shows up, she says. That's the part of ourselves with a narrower lens that resists the moment and reacts with less effectiveness and more stress.
"The question really becomes which mode is your center of gravity and operating norm?" she said. "And, how quickly can you come back to center when you feel thrown off?"
Tips on building a winning mindset:
Live In The Present And Future With A Winning Mindset
We are tempted to make choices that prioritize today's needs. The kind of choices that put out today's fires and address today's wants — sometimes at the expense of our long-term goals.
That's from Emily Balcetis, author of "Clearer, Closer, Better: How Successful People See the World."
But successful people see their future as a part of the here and now and take that into account. With that awareness and mindset, they "make choices in the present that are more aligned with their continuing interests," she said.
Create Action Plans
Setting the stage for real progress requires we do more than just clearly identify the destination, Balcetis says. "We must materialize where we want to go but also how and when we intend to get there."
Research conducted by a team at the London Business School and published in 2018 investigated the effects of concrete planning on employee productivity. The researchers followed some 200 employees in numerous sectors.
Productivity was higher among employees on days when they not only set goals but also planned their schedule. Plans included what the employees would do should their plans be interrupted, Balcetis says.
Expect To Pivot
Reaching our goals requires we define what we want to accomplish, how we will get there, and, "form contingency plans should we experience obstacles along the way," Balcetis said.
Moving our way to the top involves "accepting the possibility that we might not make it there on the first try," she said.
"If we find ourselves drowning in a sea of troubles, that is not the best time to begin searching for a life preserver," Balcetis said. "It's better if we already know where one is."
Winning Mindset: Maintain Enthusiasm
Prioritize your work against two concrete criteria, Su says. Those are contributions and passion.
"Prioritizing for contribution ensures that your time and energy is focused on that which adds the highest value," she says. "Prioritizing for passion ensures that you are energized by what you do."
Those are the things that should move up to the top of your to-do list. "Then, tolerate, delegate, or eliminate the rest," she says.
Designate Productivity Zones
Even if your priorities are clear, achieving them requires time and energy to focus.
Be aware of the hours of the day when your thinking is the clearest. Then "block off these power hours on the calendar," Su said.
She also says to block out time when you work after hours or on weekends if you need to "so that work doesn't constantly bleed into home life."
Create An Inner Circle
Have the right people in your network of support.
Achieving big goals requires having others in your court, Su says. Identify people in your life that provide you with a more elevated perspective. Who are the people who serve as accountability buddies to ensure you follow through?
Who are the people you can brainstorm with before taking a recommendation to your boss?
"And, ultimately who are the cheerleaders or safe harbors you can count on?" Su said. "The best relationships include a healthy give-and-take, so support others in these same ways as well."
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