There is no questions that the current crisis tests our ability to adapt to change and be resilient in the face of adversity. Guest Dr. Ryan Gottfredson indicates that if we think of our minds much like a computer’s operating system, times like these call for not just the addition of “programs” to our existing operating system but an entire upgrade of our operating systems themselves. Said another way, it’s an opportunity to shift our entire mindset in a direction that will not only allow us get through this crisis, but also help us to grow in spite of it. Dr. Ryan Gottfredson is a mental success coach, cutting-edge leadership consultant, author, trainer, and researcher who is currently a leadership professor at California State University-Fullerton. Ryan and host Adam Markel discuss the different kinds of mindsets and which ones can help us be proactive in the face of the current crisis. Listen and be inspired to take that extra step to cultivate resilience in the midst of adversity.
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Cultivating Resilience Through Mindset Reform With Dr. Ryan Gottfredson
I feel very blessed to be here with all of you at this moment. We are one in our experience right now as a world, as this global community. We are certainly one with the myriad issues that are physical and nonphysical or financial. There are so many things that are happening in the world that nobody expected and could have anticipated, yet with everything, there are certainly many things that are difficult, challenging and very serious for sure. There’s a great deal of suffering. Looking even at the few minutes of the news that I take in each day, it can turn me inside out very quickly as I know it must just about everybody.
Everything inside of me, every fiber of my being, points to the fact that there’s a beautiful reassembly that’s occurring in the world that’s like Etch A Sketch or if you can even remember what that toy was from childhood. There’s a drawing or there’s something on it and then you shake it up. The thing completely is different when it’s done. I feel like we are collectively together now in this time of reassembly. My instinct is that this is a reassembly for the better long-term. Hopefully, all will feel some of that in our lifetimes, but if it’s in our kids, our grandkids or our friend’s kids and their grandkids or whatever it is where this ultimately leads us to a better place. I’m confident that it’s the case.
I’ve got a great guest. I’m going to read his substantial credentials. I’ll say that one of his areas of expertise has to do with how we make sense of things and what’s the meaning that we make out of situations. We are great meaning-making machines. That’s primarily what we do. The meaning that we make out of what we’re experiencing individually and as part of this greater collective means a great deal. It’s a very important thing in terms of how we feel, how we act, how we behave and how we respond to what’s happening around us. This is a very tangible and even a tactical conversation we’re going to have around mindset.
Dr. Ryan Gottfredson is a mental success cutting-edge leadership consultant, author, trainer, and researcher. He helps improve organizations, leaders, teams, employees by improving their mindsets. Ryan is a leadership professor at Cal State Fullerton. He holds a PhD in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources from Indiana University. He is the author of Success Mindsets: The Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work and Leadership. He also works with organizations to develop their leaders and improve their culture. He has worked with top leadership teams at CVS Health, Deutsche Telekom and dozens of other organizations. He is a respected authority and researcher on topics related to leadership management and organizational behavior. Ryan, I’m thrilled to have you on the show. Welcome.
Thanks for having me on. I appreciate you trusting me to put me in front of your audience.
Ryan, you’ve got an impressive CV. What’s not written or part of that introduction I shared that you would love for people to know about you?
The thing that I would love people to know about me is that I am very purpose-driven. I feel like I have gone through experiences in life. I’ve also gained a certain amount of education that is all catered towards helping people develop and improve and helping organizations to develop and improve. I hope that if anybody gets anything from what I’m doing that they feel like I’m doing it because I’m interested in helping people, not because I’m interested in something for myself.
You are, as I am hold up. It’s a funny old term. We’re taking the quarantine seriously. I know most people are. I know somehow young or old perhaps are taking it maybe little less seriously. In any event, you and I are both in Southern California. We’re doing this remotely. I’ve got to two kids in the UC system that are taking their classes remotely and learning how powerful that medium is. How it is possible for us from our various places globally to reach into the hearts and the minds of people. This is a beautiful creative opportunity. This is unfolding before us. Don’t you think?
It’s unreal. I love the title of your show, The Conscious PIVOT. One of the reasons why I love it is because there’s a change guru that I follow. I love his work. His name is Robert Quinn. He’s out at the University of Michigan. He’s written some great books on the topic. One of the things that he says is that people in organizations transform for one of two reasons. One is a crisis or two is deep learning. Only one of those is something that we have control over. Also, something that’s unique about our situation is that we’re all experiencing a crisis right now. I agree with your points earlier. This is going to be for the better good in the long-term for all of us, although it’s going to have surely some short-term pains for a lot of people, unfortunately.
What this means is that for this situation that we are facing is an opportunity for us to transform. We are given the opportunity to upgrade our entire operating system. We’ve got to take advantage of that. We’ve got to bring in that second component that Bob Quinn talks about. That first component was a crisis but then that second component is deep learning. When we can combine those two, that is when we bring about what you call this conscious pivot where we are intentionally creating transformation as opposed to having it forced upon us.
Sometimes when we think about the pivot and there are several books with that name now but when we published our book a few years back, we were talking on the usual circuit radio podcast and some TV appearances as well. We were talking about the process of change and there is a process. It’s very much what we think is process-driven and that means it’s intentional. There is a concept that goes into creating a change versus the kind of change that is more often the case in people’s lives. The thing that does catch many of us off guard or by surprise is change happens by default. When you look at the seasons, Ryan, we know that change is constant in nature and the universe. It’s probably the greatest constant. Nothing ever stays the same for very long and yet in our personal lives, we crave this sameness or the security of sameness. We feel shocked and often get thrown into this major tailspin when things happen unexpectedly. Isn’t the unexpected always expected?
Mentally, we can get there in terms of talking through this. That makes sense, but emotionally that’s where it’s difficult.
The intellect can grasp that concept. On an emotional level, it comes back to what you were saying earlier. If the ultimate good in all of that’s going on and all that’s always going on is the transformation or the opportunity to transform. To become the proverbial butterfly out of the chrysalis, then what about the person who might be sitting there and saying, “I hear you guys. That’s fine, except I didn’t ask to be transformed. There was nothing necessarily wrong with my life before this showed up and now, I’m being forced into all this discomfort and uncertainty. How am I supposed to feel good about that?” What would Bob Quinn or yourself say about the person who says that?
We don’t have a choice, given our circumstances. When we recognize, then the onus is on us. What I’ve learned in terms of my focus on mindsets and we’re seeing this revealed more and more as we get further and further into this crisis, which is that our ability to get through this crisis in the best way possible is primarily and foundationally contingent upon the quality of the mindsets that we have. Let me give you an example. Down the street from me, we’ve got two pizza places that are on opposing corners of the street. One of these pizza places has been very proactive about the situation. They know that they’re going to take a bit of a hit with their business, unfortunately, but they’re doing everything in their power to build relationships within the community. They know that when the economy comes back online and we could go out and eat in public again, that if they could build those relationships now, people are going to be flocking to their restaurant.
One of the things that they’ve done is they’ve made at home pizza kits. You can buy a pizza kit that you could take home and have this experience with your family making pizza. In addition to that, they’re throwing in toilet paper into the purchases, which is such a fantastic idea. We’ve got the pizza place on the other corner that is not doing anything, at least not that I could see and not that it’s very visible. It’s like they’ve got their head in the sand hoping they can outlast this. Whereas the other pizza chain across the street is being proactive. They’re recognizing that they’re in the winds and the storms of the sea but still got a destination in mind that they’re headed towards and they’re doing whatever it takes to get that.
They’re improvising. When we think about the word resilience, I want to introduce that into the conversation. It’s in part because I love this concept and have for many years since the book came out, we have been researching and speaking about resilience, including in organizational situations, settings and among leaders in terms of how is it that you can create resilience? Can you create resilience? Can you cultivate resilience both personally as well as within a team structure, within an organization? One of the things that comes up when we think about what does resilience looks like and how do you create it? Being proactive, the word you used as well as improvisational, this ability to make a change, pivot, small or large at the moment is a big part of that. That’s a wonderful example of that in that pizza place that is developing that way to engage with their clientele and meet them where they are.
They’re wanting probably to be able to create some normalcy at home and adjust to a new normal and spending time with their family or their kids or whatever. To be able to make pizza at home, which we do in our house, is a ton of fun. To throw the TP in on top of it is hysterical. It’s a great response and that concept of proactivity or improvising in the moment is a big part of creating resilience. I’d love to know since you’re very much dialed into the mindset and how it is that we are making meaning in our lives? What that ultimate meaning-making results in terms of our behaviors? What can you say about resilience and mindset? If there are certain ingredients to creating a resilient mindset from your experience, what does that look like?
One of the words that you use is you’ve got to cultivate resilience. I don’t think of resilience as a skill per se. It’s a way of being. That’s ultimately what led me to talk about and do research on mindsets. I come at this from the leadership perspective. The last 70 years of leadership research and development have primarily focused on behaviors. Here are all the things that you need to do to be effective. I’m not saying that’s bad, but it’s shortsighted. I don’t know about you, but leadership is more about being somebody that other people want to follow and be influenced by.One thing that catches many of us by surprise is that change happens by default. Click To Tweet
How do we tap into this being element of leadership? What I’m going to say here is how do we tap into this being element of resiliency? It truly is founded in our mindsets because our mindsets are the mental lenses that we wear and they shape how we viewed the world around us. There can be some individuals who see failure as being something bad because if they fail, they may internalize that as though they are a failure. Other people can see failure as being perhaps the best way to learn and grow. There’s no better way to develop ourselves than to experience failure and to rebound from it.
What we’re talking about here is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. How we see failure shapes how resilient we’re going to be because somebody who sees failure as something bad, they’re going to have a hard time being resilient. I could probably give you a couple of examples of that. Those that have a growth mindset and see failure as being an opportunity to learn and grow, they’re going to be much more resilient. What I’m trying to say is our mindset shape how we think, how we learn and how we behave. If we can start at that mindset level, we can improve all of the aspects above that our thinking, our learning and our behavior and consequently our resilience in this instance.
The being element of resilience is fascinating. When you think about resilience, a lot of people find in like Rocky Balboa terms. Do you remember the old Rocky movie, the first one, Ryan? I’ve yet to go back and watch this movie, but I’m going to do it not because I love the movie. I don’t know how old I was when I saw it first. I ran out of the theater singing the Rocky theme song. My dad likes to corral me and get me into the car and stuff. Rocky gets knocked down again and again. The guy gets knocked down dozens of times probably in that movie and every time, he gets back up. A lot of people define resilience more along those physical lines that is the ability to get back after a setback or to get up from getting knocked down and physically rise again.
You’re talking about something nonphysical. It’s much about how the mind can create or be resilient in our minds, what does that look like, Ryan? Is that something that we do by what we intentionally putting our focus on? A lot of people have that challenge of I get what you’re saying or I’m bought in on an intellectual level, but yet my mind habitually thinks about what if. My mind habitually gradually gravitates toward my fears that my business will never be the same or that somehow, I will have to leave my home or any number of other things that will be creating this high-level spike in anxiety from that. Could you help us to understand how it is that the mind learns to be more resilient?
To preface an answer to the question, let me tell you about a fascinating research study. This deals with what we’ve been talking about with a fixed and growth mindset. What the researchers did is they had a group of individuals take a mindset assessment and that allowed them to identify those that had a fixed mindset and those that have a growth mindset. They gave these people all the same task, which is essentially an exam with eight easy questions that they would all get right and four difficult questions that they would all get wrong. They analyzed how they performed and responded to the failure that they hit after those first eight questions.
What they found is that those with a fixed mindset went for being rather pleased with themselves to quickly becoming depressed. They stopped applying themselves. Even afterward, they asked him, “How many did you get right and how many did you get wrong?” On average, they said that they are five right and six wrong. They underemphasize their successes and overemphasize their failures. Whereas those with the growth mindset, they didn’t get depressed at all. They started to engage in positive self-talk thinking, “I was hoping this would be a challenge.” They continued to apply themselves. They were much more accurate and knowing how many they got right versus how many they got wrong.
I find this research so fascinating because if we were to ask these individuals afterward, did you deal with that situation the best that you could? All of their answers would be yes. The reason why I say that is because what we’ve learned is about 90% of our thinking, feeling, judging and acting is driven by our non-conscious automatic processes. It’s our mindsets that drive our non-conscious automatic processing. If we are not conscious of our mindsets, we’re going to be the victim of our mindsets, whether for the negative or the positive. In general, we tend to think that how we see the world is the best way to see the world. I’ve got a personal mindset assessment that is free. It’s on my website at RyanGottfredson.com. I’ve had about 10,000 people take this assessment. I focus on four different sets of mindsets, but I’ve found that only 5% of people are in the top quartile for all four sets of mindsets.
What it suggests is that most of us have some work to do in terms of shifting our mindsets. To answer your question, if we can first identify what mindsets are critical for resilience. Second, identify the mindsets that we have and then we could start to track a course for improvement from where we are to where we need to go. Until we put labels and understanding on these mindsets, our mindsets are going to continually be conscious to ourselves. As soon as we put labels and start measuring these mindsets, we’re making what is normally not conscious to us conscious and thereby, we become empowered to enhance our lives in a variety of areas, in particular, resilience.
Is it accurate to say that a person who has a resilient mindset is one that is a growth mindset? Is that fair?
Yes, I believe that that would be one element of that, but there’s more than a growth mindset. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Carol Dweck’s s fantastic book called Mindset, which I love and I love her research, but one of the things that I’ve found in her book is she clumps together different types of mindsets under this large umbrella that she calls the growth mindset. She doesn’t do that so much in her academic research. What I found scouring the academic research on mindsets is that there are four different sets of mindsets that have been studied for many years that demonstrate an effect on how we think, learn and behave. When I started having people take my mindset assessment, I was thinking that there’s going to be a pretty high correlation between these positive mindsets.
If somebody has a growth mindset, it’s going to be likely that they also have an open, promotion or an outward mindset. What I’m finding is that there’s not much of a correlation between these different sets of mindsets, which is interesting because these are distinct and different mindsets. What I can find is that sometimes somebody has a growth mindset, which is great for resilience. They may also what’s called a prevention mindset where their primary focus is on not losing, which is different than a promotion mindset, which is focused on winning and gains. Even if we have a growth mindset, if we simultaneously have a prevention mindset, we’re probably not going to be as resilient as somebody else who has a growth and a promotion mindset.
What it seems to mean is that sometimes you can have a mindset that would equate to the gas pedal and another mindset that might equate to the brake. We all know what happens if you got one foot on and we all one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake.
You’re bringing back memories. The first time I drove a car, we were at the top of a hill at a friend’s house. My mom let me drive our car home when she came to pick me up. I was going down the hill. I didn’t realize you’re supposed to use only one foot. The whole way down the hill, I’ve got both the gas and the brake going. We pull into the garage and I’m like, “What’s that smell?” My mom’s like, “That’s a brake, what were you doing?” That’s a fun flashback there.
I am familiar with that one as well. I didn’t get ten feet before my father yelled at me and tell me to stop driving with two feet. The four mindsets that we’re talking about are growth mindset, open mindset, prevention mindset and promotion, which is the positive one. If I’m reading this as someone who’s maybe not heard it before, I’m asking myself. Am I born with this particular mindset and I have to know about it because I can’t change it? As you said, there’s the research of fixed versus growth mindset, but are the mindsets themselves fixed?
It’s not. That’s why I love focusing on mindsets because our mindsets are things that we can change. They’re not the easiest things to change in the world, but they’re also not the most difficult. Research is finding that even engaging and watching a three-minute video or writing two paragraphs or doing a fifteen-minute training can shift our mindsets for 2 to 4 weeks after that intervention. The effects won’t last after one intervention. We’ve got to stack interventions on top of each other. Let me give you a personal example of this. Our mindsets are created in two ways. One is essentially based upon our upbringing and two is our culture, that could be our home culture, our work culture, whatever that might be or this COVID culture.
What’s happening for all of us in this crisis is this culture is causing us to want to self-protect. I don’t know about you, but we’ve got this pressure to go into our shell and protect ourselves. What this crisis is doing is it’s activating our negative mindset neural connections. The more that we allow that to happen, the more those mindset neural connections will become stronger and will come to rely upon them more and more into the future. What we’ve got to do is we got to be intentional about activating and strengthening our positive mindset neuro connections.Improvising in the moment is a big part of cultivating resilience. Click To Tweet
Let me give you an example of this that people might be able to relate to. It was about a few years ago. I took a leave of absence from the university to do some consulting work with a consulting company called Gallup. As I’ve got into this, I realized that this wasn’t a great fit for me. As I pushed against that poor fit, I was talking to my manager and she said, “This isn’t a good fit. We’re going to have to let you go.” In a blink of an eye, I was out of a job. I was thinking that would be a long-term career path for me. I imagine all these people that are out there that are getting furloughed and things like that, which is terrible.
What I realized is this situation woke me up. The way that it woke me up is it helped me to see that I had this prevention mindset where my primary focus was on not losing. I wanted to put myself in positions where I was safe, where I wouldn’t have any problems. Some examples of this are I never wanted to be an entrepreneur because I saw it as being too risky. I saw debt as being bad. I graduated with my undergraduate degree and PhD without going into any form of student debt. As I realize after this layoff is that while I may have avoided problems in my life, I wasn’t necessarily where I wanted to be in my life.
I wasn’t the person that I wanted to be. I was given, at this point in time, a book that I’ll recommend to anybody. I read the title, which is The Five-Minute Journaln my mind, I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s no way in hell I am journaling.” The guy who gave it to me is this pretty successful business owner, CEO and said, “This will change your life.” I said, “Yes.” I took it. I brought it home. What The Five-Minute Journal does is it invites you to answer three questions in the morning and two questions at night.
The questions in the morning are, list three things you’re grateful for, three things that would make great and then fill in some daily affirmation, some “I am” statements. At night, what are three amazing things that happened and how could I have made it even better? I decided to give this a chance. I said, “I’ll give these two weeks. If I feel a benefit, I’ll do it. If not, I’ll toss it in the trash. No harm, no foul.” I ended up doing this and I couldn’t believe the difference that it made in my life because as I was writing down, what are three things that would make the day amazing? I was now becoming this intentional and conscious creator of making an awesome day.
As I did this on a regular basis, what I was doing is I was strengthening my positive mindset neural connections that I now was making the shift from having a prevention mindset, which is primarily focused on avoiding problems, to try to figure out how do I reach my goals. I credit this book in this process to me then starting up my own consulting business, writing my book to the point we’re having this conversation where we would have never had this conversation had I not picked up that book. In the process of all this as a way to opportunities and to ultimately reach my goals. That’s an example of a tool, how we could shift our mindsets and the effect that it has on our lives.
Ryan, in looking at the world as it is right now, from a mindset standpoint, how important is it that people create and can cultivate resilience between their ears?
I don’t know if there’s ever a time that it’s been needed more. A lot of times, when we focus on our personal development, it’s almost like we’re adding a new program into our computer. That allows us to operate more efficiently and more effectively without changing much. The operating system stays the same. We’re adding in a new program that allows us to operate more effectively. Most of the time, that’s the way we go about changing and growing. While that’s not bad, what we’re being presented with is we’ve not only got to change the files on who we are and improve those. I believe that this is now an invitation for us to upgrade our operating system.
We’re going to have to not only think differently but at a much higher level than what we’ve ever had before. This is a concept that’s called mental maturity and mental complexity. The more that we can improve our mindsets is the more mentally mature and complex that we’re going to be able to navigate these difficult situations. The only way that we’re going to be able to work through this successfully is by improving this mental maturity and upgrading our operating system. By doing so, that creates resilience. That’s where we need to focus and the byproduct of that is on building this resilience.
I know this is not going to be an easy question, Ryan, but do your best to let us know. What’s one or two things that people can do right now from where they are to be able to improve there their mindset? Is it both mental maturity and mental complexity?
I’ve seen it used interchangeably in different forms.
What are one or two things that people can do to upgrade that mental maturity, that mental complexity that’s going to be required even more so now than ever before?
One of the best things that we can do and this is something that experts on these topics talk about, is we’ve got to be able to look at what we typically look through. What we’re talking about here is the mindset. We’re typically used to looking through our mindsets to interpret our world. We got the capability to stand apart from ourselves and look at the quality of our mindsets. That’s why I develop my mindset assessment. That’s why I wrote my book Success Mindsets. That’s one of the first things that we need to do. We need deep learning that needs to happen. It needs to be about ourselves. We need to introspect ourselves at a level that’s deeper than any other.
At that same time, there are tools that can support that. The Five-Minute Journal is one of those. There are additional other books that I could recommend. One that comes to mind is Ray Dalio’s book, Principles, which talks about our ability to be open-minded, is going to be critical in this situation. The third thing that I’ll say is if we could even ask ourselves, what is this an opportunity for me to do? If we can ask ourselves that question, we’ll be inspired to take advantage of the situation. It may not be the prettiest situation, but it’s still is an opportunity.
I heard one person say that I suspect that for a lot of people, this is going to result in either having a baby or getting a divorce but not so much in terms of our relationships with our spouses or things like that. By divorce, what if we thought about it as this is a chance for us to pivot and what about having a baby? This is a chance for us to create something new. Even though this is a terrible situation about opportunities that we wouldn’t have otherwise and if we could focus on capitalizing on that, we’ll be creating resilience.
It sounds like we are very much talking about mindfulness in different terms, but the book that the first had me looking inward and it wasn’t the Bible, even though having read those books sometimes. Looking at interpretations of parts of the Bible, it’s all there. That piece of everything we’re looking for is within the kingdom of heaven, as its stated is within. The going in is not necessarily something that many of us were taught in school. I was never taught in school, other than in some religious contexts, people are introduced to that. I can’t say much about that because they don’t know much about it personally.
I wasn’t a big religious guy and have not been, but I’m very spiritual. This idea of going within, my first exploration was with a book called The Road Less Traveled by Dr. Scott Peck, which was a very well received and sold millions of copies at the time. I highly recommend in addition to the ones you recommended, Ryan is that book. For us, in our research and you triggered this with what you were talking about how you were looking at the advent of either baby being born nine months or so. Also, the work for matrimonial attorneys that may also be on the horizon, you provided us a reframe.
In our research, when it comes to how people create resilience and what are those resilience traits look like, there are three things we’ve come up with. One of them is the ability to reframe to look at something and simply shift the way you see it. If nothing else, back to the car, it’s like putting your car in neutral instead of it being in drive or reverses. Drive maybe being this forward-looking positive bias and reverse maybe being a looking backward negative bias. To be able to put the gear into neutral for a little bit of time so that you could potentially see the situation a little differently. The question that my wife reminds me about all the time, she says, “What’s the creative opportunity?” That’s everything you said there is some creative opportunity that’s being birthed out of all of this.
The birth of a baby that is, no question’s a creative opportunity and potentially the change in a relationship may also equate to and be reframed as a pivot. That’s the first trait. The second trait is the ability to recalculate, which is to see where you are presently. Imagine that instead of being stuck in that place that you can like you when you got your pink slip and I’ve gotten the pink slip in my life as well, so I know what that feels like. You recalculate from where you. It seems the car analogies come back a lot for us. You’re in your car and you make a wrong turn. Your GPS doesn’t berate you and tell you you’re an idiot and reminds you how your parents used to tell you never followed directions or whatever.
It simply recalculates a route to that new destination. Resilient people do that. They recalculate. Often that recalculation involves the thing you said about improvising and saying, “I can’t get there the way I thought I was going to get there. Does that mean I can’t get there ever? Does that mean I’ll never get there at all?” No, I’ll change my route. I’ll do it a little bit differently. I will improvise. The third trait of resilient people and this is the one where I want to ask you about, is that they adopt and create rituals for resilience. They ritualize how it is that they recharge their battery. Research done on this topic indicates that resilience is not about how we endure but how we recharge ourselves. Ryan, what are the rituals that you have for your resilience and something you could share with us? I know our people love to get those tips at the end of these shows as well.
The first thing that I do is The Five-Minute Journal. For me, that’s the first thing I do every morning. It sets the tone for my day. It also helps me to be more intentional by doing that. I will say that I am incredibly fortunate that I get to eat, sleep and breathe mindsets every day. Just doing that is a consistent introspective reminder to me to check in on my mindsets. I found mindsets probably because I’ve needed the most work possible with mindsets. Go back to your situation or when you mentioned when I got the pink slip, at the time, I was devastated. I now look back on that situation a few years ago. There is nothing better that could have happened to me at that point in time. As hard as it might be for people, are we going to be in a position years from now saying, “I’m not so sure that there was a better thing that could’ve happened to me?” Not everyone’s going to be able to say that it was partly because of the mindsets that they had along the way.In general, we tend to think that how we see the world is the best way to see the world. Click To Tweet
One of the things that are helpful for me is to continually remind myself and check in on my mindset. I’ve got a bunch of introspective questions that I’ll ask myself throughout the day or the situation. For example, I will continually come back to what is my goal? What is my purpose? That’s incentivizing a promotion mindset. I’ll ask myself, “Am I seeing others as people or as objects?” What that’s doing is it’s helping me check-in. Am I having an outward mindset where I’m seeing others as people or am I having an inward mindset where I’m seeing others as objects? By asking myself some of these introspective questions, or at least talking about these different mindsets, it’s giving me that this ability to look at what I typically look through. By doing so, I’m able to level set and get my mind straight. That’s always beneficial.
I appreciate how tangible that is that everybody can simply up-level the questions you are asking yourself. Even to start asking questions of yourself because, in the course of a busy day, we’re all familiar with what it would feel like and be like to not ask yourself any questions. It’s going through the routine. You’re on default mode. I will say that in a very similar experience in post pink slip as well, looking back and seeing that situation, I couldn’t imagine it being any different. At the time, it’s super stressful, uncertain, filled with anxiety and yet looking back now, I wouldn’t change it for a second. Full transparency, I haven’t had one of those days in a very long time, but it happened to be that the day got started with some disappointing news. A client that we thought we were going to continue to be able to serve that ultimately decided from his standpoint of experiencing this sudden change and the fear that comes up.
Anxiety and some other stuff going on at home that it was not a good continuing situation for him. I started on that trajectory in the morning with this disappointment. By early evening, it’s ironic to say this because we’re sitting out on a deck watching the sunset in the Pacific Ocean. I’m sitting there with our youngest daughter, who’s home and living with us during quarantine as she’s taking her classes at the University of California, San Diego. My wife and I were sitting on the deck. I’m in a pissy mood. I’m in a not good mood. She’s going to finish up her freshman year. I look at my daughter and she said to me, “You’re in a crap mood.” I go, “I am. I’m not going to make it any excuses for it.” She goes, “Sometimes isn’t it the case that you’re going to be in your mood and somebody might pep you up, to get you to change or whatever is. I want to be in my mood. I wanted to sit in my crap right now. When I’m ready to emerge from that I will.”
We had a chuckle. We were very simpatico. I could tell that we are with four kids, there are things that you see that are similar in some of them and some that are quite dissimilar. At that moment I knew she got me and I got her. We sat there quietly. She didn’t try to help me to feel better and make it right. I didn’t try to work on myself at that moment. I sat in it and looking back at it. I go, “That was fine for the moment.” I can also see it through a very different lens. I could see that my mindset traversed into that space where it was closed. It was fixed because I was in a busy mood. I say that only because of our audience that it’s okay. I’m saying great that you’re inspired by everything you heard and that we can all be inspired to be more conscious as the show is The Conscious PIVOT in our mindset. That’s what we’re talking about.
When you’re in it and sometimes you’re in that place, it’s also okay to be there. I’m not trying to make you agree with this, Ryan. I’d love to get your thoughts on it. For me, I wanted to sit in it for a little bit. The good news is that several years ago, when I was a lawyer before I pivot into this space. I know it did. It would go on for days and weeks. I was miserable at a certain point, which led me to that book, The Road Less Traveled, because it was months that I felt like total shit. What I realized is I will have moments like that. One time, there’s an evening where that’s where I was at until pretty much the time I got in bed. I woke up with routines, with rituals that allow me to see that’s not in my best interest. Also, that’s not in the best interest of the people that I want to serve, my family and others that I love and adore and the work that I love and adore. That’s the difference. There’s a means to pop yourself out of those situations so that you can show up as the absolute best you’re capable of being. Ryan, any thoughts on what I shared there?
I love that situation because what you’re doing is, you’re modeling something critical when it comes to resilience. Resilience isn’t an inability to stay standing. Resilience is the ability to pop back up when you fall. We’re all going to fall. We’re all going to have our wins. We’re all going to have our losses. Taking this a mindset approach to this is in your situation, what is critical is that when a client leaves or a bad thing happens, we don’t internalize that as though this is me. This is indicative of who I am. The failure is part of me. The reality is that’s not the case. There are so many other factors that are going on. It’s not bad that we get knocked down.
If we get knocked down, we can’t internalize like you didn’t internalize it because what we realize is tomorrow is a new day and it comes with all of the opportunities in the world, many of which you may have never explored if you continued with that particular client. I don’t know how much they’re taking up your bandwidth. If they were taking a significant portion of your bandwidth, you may have been restrained in terms of the opportunities you can have moving forward. If we could see these things not as indicative of who we are, but as opportunities to learn, grow, adapt, and improve, that’s the key to resilience. That’s founded primarily on our mindset. I appreciate you being willing to model this idea of getting knocked down a little bit and being able to bounce back from it because ultimately, that’s what resilience is.
There’s one last thing I’d say to our audience about this too, which is more from the Buddhist philosophy, which my upgrade for 2020 was to dig into more of my mindfulness practices. When I gave my TED Talk, I declare it out loud that I am a crappy meditator. I am not any longer able to declare that. I’m not a crappy meditator. I’ve put some time into being able to see what all the fuss is about. Why is this thing good for anything? I have found tremendous benefit from it. In part, it overlaps with my practice of prayer. In Buddhist principle, the fact that everything’s impermanent. There’s a Law of Impermanence, which we see everywhere. That’s one of those natural things. It’s not unnatural that things live and die. Things are here and not here. We are very much creatures of attachment. We attach to things. We attach to possessions, to people and to places into times of the year and things we like and other things as well.
For me, I remind myself of this and sharing this with all of you as well is that we can want things and feel that we even deserve things or wanting things to happen in a certain way. There’s a tremendous freedom that comes from the recognition that things are permanent. To be able to let go of those things and to not cling and be the clinging mindset is very powerful. It doesn’t mean that you don’t mourn when there’s a loss when somebody passes or you do lose a client. I love all my clients. I genuinely was going through my grief stages because they wanted to lose somebody that I love or the ability to help somebody that I love. That’s the way it is, yet when I recognize in the grand scheme, the important scheme of things that nothing is permanent. This is another place where I get to practice not clinging and not being attached. That gives me great freedom. I don’t want to be clinging personally to anything in life, not even other than. I want to be grateful.
I feel tremendous gratitude for you, Ryan, for the gifts that you shared with us. I know the audience has felt the same way. I want to remind everybody that this is a brand-new day. If you are reading this, you got the blessing of a brand-new day. When we all went to sleep, wherever it is, people may be waking up. Some of you may be going to sleep, depending on where you live. There’s no guarantee that we will get the blessing again tomorrow that we wake up. If you do, and I hope when you do that you will also realize how sacred, special and holy that moment is, so that it allows you to be grateful even for only a few seconds before you get on with your day and all the busy and all the things that are going on that you can feel that gratitude for even a few moments.Mindsets are not the easiest things to change in the world, but they’re also not the most difficult. Click To Tweet
The final component of this waking ritual that I’ve been sharing with people for a lot of years is maybe declare something out loud at that moment upon waking and upon feeling grateful. My words are very simple. They’re four words and I’ll share them with you. I have no attachment to whether you use them or not. It’s always cool when people from all over the world will share how they’ve used them or how those words have changed things for them over time. Whatever your words are, pick them, choose them and embody them is how I feel about these words for myself. That is, I love my life. Ryan, how do you feel about your life?
I love it because I get opportunities like this to meet people like you and to spread a message that helps people hopefully awaken more to themselves so that they can unlock greater success in their life.
Thank you much for your time. Find out more about Ryan Gottfredson and all the wonderful ways that he is impacting the world for the better and we’d love to hear from you. You can leave a review by going to AdamMarkel.com/podcasts. Leave your comments there and we answer those. You can email us at Team@AdamMarkel.com as well. We will see you soon. Ciao.
- Success Mindsets: The Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work and Leadership
- Robert Quinn
- The Five-Minute Journal
- The Road Less Traveled
About Dr. Ryan Gottfredson
Ryan Gottfredson, Ph.D. is a mental success coach and cutting-edge leadership consultant, author, trainer, and researcher. He helps improve organizations, leaders, teams, and employees by improving their mindsets. Ryan is currently a leadership professor at California State University-Fullerton. He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources from Indiana University. He is the author of “Success Mindsets: The Key to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership” (Morgan James Publishers). He also works with organizations to develop their leaders and improve their culture (collective mindsets). He has worked with top leadership teams at CVS Health, Deutsche Telekom, and dozens of other organizations. As a respected authority and researcher on topics related to leadership, management, and organizational behavior, Ryan has published over 15 articles across a variety of journals including: Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Management, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Business Horizons, and Journal of Leadership Studies.