Everyone has a dominant mindset. When I say mindset, I’m referring to how you interpret the world around you which ultimately manifests in how you show up in the world. So, as a leader, having the right mindset is critical to your success and to your overall well-being as a human being.

I’ve identified four mindsets that span the spectrum from surviving to thriving. Here’s a brief description of each.

Surviving

Surviving is drudgery. It’s like your world is a battleground and it’s very lonely. You feel overwhelmed, suffer from poor sleep, eat poorly, have no time to exercise, and are very stressed far too often. It seems like everything is stacked against you and it’s hard to muster up the energy to do anything as you’re plagued by a myriad of challenges that never seem to end.

Striving

Striving is hard work. You are driven to succeed but there’s hardly enough time in the day to get to your priorities and you’re not making the progress you want on your goals. It’s exhausting and at times you feel burnt out. Proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise are afterthoughts. You hate being unable to spend quality time and quantity time with family, friends, or on the fun things you used to always have time for. Financial pressures and other life challenges regularly determine what you can and cannot do.

Arriving

Arriving is a good place to be. You’re generally satisfied in all areas of your life, but the feeling doesn’t last. You enjoy time with family, friends and doing the fun things in life but not as much as you’d like. You’re achieving your goals in all areas of your life and have no serious financial challenges, but are frustrated by others who you feel don’t deserve the success they’ve attained. You adhere to a good regime of sleep and exercise and you eat nutritiously. There are days you feel like life is controlled by others and the best use of your energy is spent on the many challenges you face, rather than on the things that bring you joy and happiness - it’s like you’re back in striving or survival mode.

Thriving

Thriving is where it’s at. The world is your playground and you’re very satisfied with all aspects of your life. You lead a meaningful, purpose-led life and compare yourself only to the aspiration of who you want to become. You give family, friends, and hobbies the time and attention you want. While you may or may not be wealthy, financial pressures are nonexistent. You contribute your unique gifts to your community. You have lots of energy and enjoy optimal health because you adhere to proper sleep, diet, and exercise. You are very busy and still have lots of challenges, but you do not let them define you or get in the way of achieving your goals.

Where do you spend the most time

The objective is not to make sure you fit perfectly into one particular mindset. Instead you want to identify which mindset generally describes you most often. For you, in which mindset do you spend the most time? Is it in the mindset that you want to be your dominant mindset?

The implication for leaders (and I don’t care if you’re the CEO of Coca-Cola or a volunteer greeter at the hospital - you are a leader) is that the mindset of those you lead will be at or below your leadership mindset.

Upscaling your mindset

If you want to upgrade your mindset so you spend more time thriving and less time surviving, you need to know that the single best predictor of leading a thriving life is having a grateful frame of mind. I encourage you to develop and grow your gratitude.

You may be naturally inclined to be grateful or it may seem like a big stretch for you. It doesn’t matter because gratitude is like a muscle. Gratitude can be built and developed and like a muscle, if it’s not used, it will atrophy. Practically speaking, the single most tested and proven technique to develop gratitude is the daily practice of making a gratitude list.

Make a gratitude list daily. It’ll make a huge difference in your life. I dare you to prove me wrong.

Special Announcement [Fall 2018]

Join me on the journey to the launch of my new book this fall. It’s called “Surviving to Thriving: The 10 Laws of Grateful Leadership” This book is the ultimate guide on gratitude and its importance for spending more time thriving and less time surviving. Through reading the book, you’ll deeply understand how to implement gratitude in all aspects of your life.

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