Georgia Shaffer from Pennsylvania
Last month I wrote about anxiety and how it can ambush our writing. This month I’ll discuss the self-sabotaging mindsets we have that undermine our creativity and productivity.
Some mindsets are caught from our parents or friends. Others we’re taught. Some mindsets are helpful and some are self-defeating. The latter keep us stuck in negative thinking and deplete us of vital energy.
Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of Spanx, is a great example of how positive mindsets propel us forward. She said, “My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
An unproductive mindset would be, “I don’t have what it takes to write a blog or publish a book.” If someone important in your life, like a teacher, parent, or sister told you, “you can’t write,” it’s easy to continue to carry that perspective without even thinking about it.
Ask someone you can trust to help you identify and challenge any negative views you might hold about yourself and your ability to write. Once recognized, rewrite the mindset replacing it with a positive one. For example, change the mindset “I can’t write” to “I can learn the skills of writing.” Then have someone hold you accountable to continue holding onto that healthier view of yourself. It takes time to change a mindset but it’s definitely worth the effort.
One of my coaching clients believed her life should become easier as she grew closer to Christ. Whenever she encountered difficulties, she felt like giving up. One rejection letter from a publisher was enough to cause her to question her dream of publishing a book. Once we identified that perspective, however, she came to realize that being obedient to God and writing a book doesn’t make her immune to rejection and obstacles along the way. In fact, as a Christian she might encounter more resistance and struggles as she moves forward on the path God has for her.
After Blair, another coaching client, dropped out of a Ph.D. program, she struggled with the mindset of believing she was a failure. “It felt like I was paralyzed for two years,” she said. “One day, as I was chatting and praying with a friend, she helped me to reframe my futile thinking from ‘I failed a Ph.D. program’ to ‘I completed post-graduate work.’ That new mindset is so empowering for me. And my husband was thrilled because as he said, ‘You have been moping around for a couple of years about that.’”
Growing in self-awareness and recognizing those self-sabotaging mindsets is important for any writer. Be willing to listen to what you are saying or telling yourself. Become more intentional about challenging and rewriting your negative thinking. Reframe your mindset into something positive that will grow and move you forward.
About Georgia Shaffer
Georgia is an author, Christian life coach, and licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania. Her books include Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make; Taking Out Your Emotional Trash; and 12 Smart Choices for Finding The Right Guy. For more information on Georgia or on her coaching of authors and speakers, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com