As a mindset coach I obviously believe in the importance of mindset in everything we do. I believe it can be the difference between success and failure, is definitely the difference between self-confidence and self-loathing, and between “will not” and “haven’t yet.” I believe so strongly in the importance of mindset that I base all of my coaching around the concept of mindset – this choice we have in what to believe about ourselves and our potential.
So why am I writing a blog post called “when mindset isn’t everything?” Well, it is in answer to those out there who repeat, again and again, that it is everything. It is in answer to the people who contact me because they have been told by these people that they are failing because of their mindset. More about them in a moment.
What CAN mindset do?
Mindset can do amazing things – it can turn someone with nautral talent into a superstar. It can even turn someone without natural talent into a superstar. Carol Dweck, the leading researcher in mindset theory makes a strong case in Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential for mindset being key in turning around failing students, failing businesses, failing sports teams. You can also read more here.
It is almost impossible to achieve true sporting or business success without the right mindset. You can actually see it at work often in sports matches. Have you ever watched a tennis match between a top player and someone who you would think would have no hope. You watch the beginning of the match almost out of the corner of your eye, assuming it will be a walkover. But without the top player seemingly having a bad day, somehow the lower ranked player takes the psychological advantage, decides they can win, are filled with self-belief and boom, the nobody becomes a somebody, and will always be remembered for this life-changing tennis match.
What are its limits?
But although mindset will help you achieve success you need more than just mindset. Which is why I say mindset isn’t everything. And why I get fed up with the word mindset being used as a stick to beat people with.
Mindset is an empowering word – it implies we have choice – choice over how to feel, how to react, how to cope with setbacks. Mindset is awesome.
So how has this empowering word become used to disempower people? In the last year or so it has gone from being this fabulously empowering concept to a catch all buzzword which is used to make people feel bad. It is used as The reason why people fail: because they don’t have the right mindset.
And as a mindset coach that makes me furious.
Because mindset isn’t everything.
Mindset is key to losing weight, but so is nutritional knowledge and exercise.
Mindset is an important part of being able to be positive about life, but so are financial security, comitted friendships and good physical and mental health.
Mindset might help you cope with obstacles which are out of your control, but they can’t stop them. So whereas you might mentally cope with serious illness better if you shift your mindset, you won’t “beat” it or be cured due to your mindset. Having a growth mindset might help you out of poverty, but you aren’t poor because of the wrong mindset.
When money mindset is used to sell you stuff
And talking about money issues – being poor in itself isn’t a mindset. If someone tries to sell you something and says, when you tell them you can’t afford it, that you have the wrong mindset they are being unkind, and I would even go as far as to say unscrupulous. Perhaps you have different spending priorities and if you really wanted whatever it is you could afford it, but that isn’t their business.
Perhaps you would actually be choosing between putting food on your dinner table and buying whatever it is. That isn’t mindset.
Perhaps you would be getting into debt if you purchase whatever it is. That isn’t mindset.
I have a LOT more to say on that point, but will leave it for another post.
A special mention for Multi Level Marketing
Finally, for today, I would like to talk about multi level marketing schemes or MLMs. Many of the people that visit this site come here because they have been told they need to work on their mindset by their MLM uplines, or, their boss. They have been told that the reason they aren’t being successful in their direct sales work is due to their mindset. They contact me for help to fix their mindset. And I say no.
Business success is partly mindset, but you also need a willing market and a decent business model, among many other things. And whereas there might be some, very few, examples of people who have done very well out of the MLM business model, the vast majority don’t. Very many people in MLM lose money, even going into debt. For some they will earn enough to pass off as pocket money, and even fewer will earn enough to pass as a part time income (though trust me, the work won’t be part time).
If, and this is a big if, you succeed in MLM then you do so by recruiting a large team under you and it is more than a full time job. If you fail to achieve what you wanted to achieve, as the vast majority do, this is not to do with your mindset, whatever your upline tells you. It is to do with MLMs being a slightly modified pyramid scheme – it is not a long term viable business model, and for every single success story there are many MANY failures. This is why I do not take on clients who need mindset coaching to help them succeed in an MLM – it is not that I don’t believe in the client, it is that I don’t believe in the system and don’t want to take any more of their money.
What I really want to say is this: don’t allow anyone use mindset as a stick to beat you with. You can powerfully shift your mindset with the right effort and motivation, of course you can, otherwise I would be out of a job. But if someone tells you your failure is just down to your mindset they are at best wrong and at worst manipulating you.
Mindset is super important but mindset isn’t everything.
Are you interested in hearing more?
If you would like to discuss mindset in more detail do get in touch by leaving a comment or by emailing me. You are also welcome to join my free (and zero marketing) Facebook group for discussions on mindset and work on self-belief. Just click on the link or search The Mindset Hub.