During the first year of Project Self’s half-arsed existence you could find me vacuuming a lot, Facebooking like a trooper, eating snacks at every available second, and spending hours in the kitchen
making horrendously disappointing vegan cauliflower pizzas.
I couldn’t tell you how, but I seemed to be “busy” every day working on Project Self, yet nothing that needed to get done actually got done.
My procrastination was out of hand, I couldn’t focus on one thing,
and I kicked myself for not being able to get more done everyday.
Despite having a part time job, I had to get another part time job as a bartender – not because I needed the extra money, but because I needed to keep myself super busy to avoid overwhelm and self-doubt that flooded my thoughts when I had too much time on my hands.
Whenever we try something new or take a step towards building the kind of life we want, this kind of procrastinatory bollocks is par-course.
Enter my very un-secret weapon, mind-taming.
Without having learnt to tame my mind, I have no doubt that I would have
bashed myself over the head with self-doubt, questioned all my decisions, and procrastinated my business into a big rut.
The voice in our head – our mind – is designed to focus on the negative, overthink everything, and to keep us playing it safe within our comfort zone – which is a nightmare for our inspiration, motivation, sleep, stress-levels, creativity, and fulfillment as business owners.
So here’s a quick-start guide to taming your mind
so that you can start to train your attention to stay focussed (and not procrastinate so bloody much), stop getting caught up in self-doubt and stress, and get clear on your values & gut instinct so that you keep your business on track for what’s best for you rather than getting swept away by all the shiny entrepreneurship possibilities.
Step 1. Notice the voice in your head
Recognise that there’s a mad voice talking to your head, commentating your daily life.
Have you ever driven somewhere and realised you haven’t noticed the journey at all? Did you go through a red light? Who knows.
Have you ever been in a conversation and suddenly realised you have no bloody idea what they’ve said in the last two minutes?
Our minds usually love to hang out in the past (replaying conversations, dwelling on regrets, rehashing mistakes) or the future (worries, stress, anxiety about our to do lists).
When your mind is wandering, which it loves to do, our attention generally wanders with it, which means that we lose focus, and can easily get caught up in negative or stressful thought spirals that drain our mental energy, creativity, and confidence.
Step 2. Disidentify from your mind
Recognise that that voice in your head – the one that keeps thinking even when you really want to be sleeping – he’s not you.
Have you ever tried to stop your heart beating with your willpower? Ever tried to stop your lungs altogether? What about your thoughts?
If you try all three, you’ll likely find that you can’t stop any of them. They’re acting autonomously, without your input.
You wouldn’t say “I am my heart”, or “I am my lungs” – and in the same way – you are NOT your mind. Your mind generates thoughts to keep you alive, just like your heart pumps blood and your lungs breathe oxygen.
Realising that “Me” and “my mind” are two separate things can help us take a step back from our thoughts,
see them for what they are (often, useless jabberings!) and be less yanked around by them.
Step 3. Choose an anchor
Choose something other than your mind to anchor your attention to when your mind is yanking you around unhelpfully.
A boat at sea needs to be tied to an anchor lest it gets washed up on the rocks.
If we don’t tie our attention to an anchor, it gets swept away by the crazy whirlwind of our negatively-geared thoughts – and we can end up washed up on the metaphorical rocks.
Your anchor can be anything that exists in the present moment – a good anchor to start with is one of your 5 senses – touch, taste, sight, sound, or smell.
Step 4. Train your attention
When you notice you’re getting caught up in a thought (“Andrea, you tool, you shouldn’t have said that out loud!”), simply notice the thought, decide whether it’s helpful or not, then redirect your attention to the anchor.
Before long, your mind will wander again. When it does, just notice that it’s wandered, and bring your attention back to the anchor.
Every time you redirect your attention away from your mind and into an anchor in the present moment, you’re training your attention.
With time your mind-taming skills will get stronger, your ability to focus will grow, you’ll stop getting caught up in self-doubt spirals and procrastinatory urges,
and you’ll probably become a ninja.
To hone your mind-taming skills, whip your focus into shape, and learn to make big decisions with ease – click here to join us in the free 6 Days to Decisiveness Challenge – a mind-taming challenge for indecisive busy people.