If you spend your working life taking care of others - human behaviour expert Phillip Adcock (pictured) says its all too easy to forget to look after yourself. Being there for other people and helping them manage their way through life’s ups and down can leave an emotional toll.
We all know about the value of eating well and taking care of our physical well-being – but we also need to take care of our minds. Here’s how to build a strong and healthy mind that will enable you to ace interviews, take your career forward and meet your long-term goals.
300,000,000 years old
First and foremost, recognise that the human mind has evolved over 300,000,000 years. And evolution is a very, very slow process. What this means is that a lot of how you’re wired mentally has nothing to do with modern business or careers.
Humans are emotional and are primarily driven by 3 primal urges: Fight, Flight or Find a mate. In other words, if left alone the human mind makes decisions primarily on whether to fight something or someone, whether to run away from it or whether to mate with it. Sorry but it’s true.
If you want to build a stronger mind, you have to understand emotions. At a rational level, you may have techniques and strategies for meeting goals and advancing your career, but if they aren’t emotional, then you might as well not bother.
For example, recognise that once you give your mind the right emotional motivation, it is a much more powerful ally. Supposing you want to win at that next job interview, then you need to provide your mind with the right emotional payoff. This may be in the form of the importance of loving your family. When your mind knows that you want to love and care for your family, then it will give you the tools to deliver just that. So next time you go for an interview, have a picture of your loved ones visible to you during the interview. I tend to have one in the inside of my briefcase so that only I can see it.
Next, did you know that your mood and mindset are a result of how you think and how you look? What this means if that your very posture alters your mindset and mood at any given time. When you walk, stride confidently, when you sit, sit proudly, when you communicate non-verbally, do so with purpose. If you sit slouching down in the interviewees chair, shoulders rounded and breathing in a shallow way, then guess what, you’ll feel down, depressed and shallow. So it’s a case of not only walking your talk, but sitting it too.
What about your internal mental dialogue: The way you talk to yourself influences how you feel about yourself. Here’s a nice exercise. Write down a 1 or 2 page of how you think the next interview, or meeting will go. Write in detail, don’t worry about spelling and grammar, and just write it as if you are saying it.
Now take a look at what you have written and using a different coloured pen, highlight every negative word. And in a different colour underline every positive word. Now count up how many negatives and how many positives you used. The more negatives, the more negative you are. Finally, go through your manuscript and change all the negative words to positive alternatives. Reading it back to yourself will be transformatory in that you’ll suddenly feel much more confident and upbeat.
Between your ears is the most amazing super-computer ever created. But like just about any computer, it is only as good as the way it is used. Spend time investing in learning how your mind works and it will pay you back many times over.
About the Author
Phillip Adcock is a commercial psychologist and author of Master Your Brain: Training your Mind for Success in Life. Available now on Amazon.