I’m just back from the gym. It's 6.30am. What a gorgeous, bright summer morning! The sky was clear as the birds were singing. I felt blessed to be healthy... to be alive. On my early morning visits to the gym, I often ask myself ‘Am I crazy?"
On days like these, I'm really glad that I am.
How Crazy Are You
Now I know I’m not alone asking myself this question. And I’m sure that you too have experienced the same in your life when you’re doing something that the majority of people don’t (or won’t) do. Whether that’s leading a transformation project in your organisation and others think you’re mad or developing a new business while others are questioning you & thinking you’re crazy. Whatever it is for you can I take this opportunity to honour & salute you? You're not alone.
The Importance Of Self-Efficacy
Without self-efficacy, it’s going to be a real struggle to achieve anything. If I turned up at the gym with the mindset that I was too old to get strong & healthy; or my arms were too small to lift those ridiculously heavy weights, then I probably wouldn’t even start. When we have strong self-efficacy, that is, an individual belief in our innate ability to achieve goals, we’ll find the motivation to get started - the 'activation energy'. But often the challenge is this: how do we sustain it?
The Struggle To Maintain Momentum
If I can share with you, I know how this feels. Through so many periods in my life when I knew I wanted something different or wanted to achieve very ambitious goals, I found it very hard. Whether it was striving for a promotion in my corporate career, setting up my first business or supporting my partner's radical career change from finance to medicine. Sometimes you’ve just got to trust & believe regardless of what others say or what your negative ‘gremlins’ in your head keep telling you. Be Brave.
We Need The Right Catalyst
I’ve come to realise over the years that I need to make it easy for myself to maintain momentum & to retain the right mindset. I need to have catalysts in place. That might mean putting important reminders in my calendar. Scheduling appointments with my panel of experts who can help me achieve my goals. My trainer at my local gym is one example. He keeps me on track, pushes me to lift weights that I don’t want to lift (or thought I ever could).
Executives Struggle With Their Mindset
Now the reason I share this with you is that I see too many executives struggling with their mindset. As a career strategist, the majority of my clients are between 40-55 years of age. But I have been shocked by the number of executives in their 50’s who have been told, yes ‘told’ that they shouldn’t even look for a new role. Are we seriously saying to executives who have vast amounts of professional & life experience that when you hit your 50’s you’re no longer valued? What is this doing to their confidence & their mindset?
You Are Never Too Old
My perspective is different. I firmly believe that you’re never too old and it’s never too late. We all know the story of Colonel Sanders who set up KFC aged 62. Jack Canfield co-wrote his first book ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ at 49. The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins was appointed back in 2011 at the age of 70. Now, these are just some examples.
Take Positive Action
And while I acknowledge it can be challenging in a corporate career the trick is to stay relevant. Read books that educate & stimulate you. Listen to podcasts & watch Youtube videos from thought leaders who inspire and reignite your passion. Some examples: Brendon Burchard, Simon Sinek, Tim Ferris & Jack Canfield. If you want to achieve greatness sometimes you need to check back in and explore your levels of self-efficacy. A coach or mentor can help. Psychologists have determined that the beliefs you hold regarding your power to affect situations, strongly influences both the power you actually have to face challenges competently and also the choices you're most likely to make.
Get your mindset right and you’ll achieve greater career success.
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