I feel confirmation in life when I’m asked to teach what I most need to learn. For some reason, it’s reassuring to me to know that the universe is gently nudging me to become my best self, even when it feels far outside my comfort zone. Of course, that’s the way growth works after all; in order to become stronger we have to break down our current way of doing things so we can adapt. It may not feel good in the process, but our perception of what’s happening can not only make a difference in how much we enjoy the journey, but also how much return we get on our investment.
A last minute change to my already chaotic travel and speaking schedule this week would not only have me doing small breakouts for some of the top thought leaders in the world but now also adding a keynote session for the entire group just hours after I arrived. When I was asked to make the adjustment, I of course used humor as I processed what I would be doing: “You know, this goes against everything I teach, right?”
Perhaps the most ironic part was that the topic for the conference I will be presenting for is Moonshot Thinking. I realized in that moment that my challenge now would not only be to help restore the energy of some of the greatest thinkers in the world, but also to challenge my own ability to think outside the box. To take a direct quote from the chair of the program, a Moonshot Thinker is one who “invests the intellectual energy to contemplate new thoughts and new ways of looking at seemingly impossible problems.” Perhaps in the past I’d have considered doing 6 meetings in 5 days in 3 cities and multiple time zones as impossible, especially with an audience of this caliber. But today I see it as an opportunity to step up to the plate and become a Moonshot Thinker myself.
Last week as I prepared I considered the way the brain is hardwired to operate and how we must retrain the brain in order to facilitate Moonshot Thinking. At the time I didn’t realize I would be using my own concepts to change my own thought patterns, as I get ready to hit the big stage early tomorrow morning. I thought I would share these concepts with you now, and ask for your insight as to how you think we need to change our mental frameworks in order to think in bigger ways. And not only to expand our mental energy capacity, but also to do so in a way that is sustainable over time. Anyway can show up in extraordinary ways every now and then, but how do we do so without using up our most valuable energy resources?
My Top 10 Moonshot Mindset Shifts
1) Your brain says: Money means success.
Moonshot shift: Come up with your own definition of success, and visualize it regularly. Daily. See what it looks like, feel what it feels like, hear what it sounds like. Embrace being there already, and act as if.
2) Your brain says: When you’re successful you’ll be happy.
Moonshot shift: We now know the formula is broken, as studies show once you’re happy, then you’ll be more successful. Moonshot thinkers invest time appreciating what they have and use the power of gratitude to enhance cognitive performance rather than speeding along to the next item on the to-do list.
3) Your brain says: Check email immediately so you know what you’re dealing with.
Moonshot shift: In order to optimize brain performance, you must first nourish your mind with positivity and motivation. Avoid diving into stress mode first thing in the morning by investing in your mental energy tank as soon as possible.
4) Your brain says: All or nothing.
Moonshot shift: Practice progress over perfection so that you can course correct along the way. Constant, consistent improvements create the most fabulous products and programs.
5) Your brain says: Don’t take it personally.
Moonshot shift: People are energy, and energy is contagious so surround yourself with people who are positive and proactive. Rationally optimistic.
6) Your brain says: What if?
Moonshot shift: What if you don’t? Be quick to identify the benefits of every experience, and avoid obsessing about challenges and obstacles. Every course correction is an opportunity to reflect on whether or not you’re acting in alignment with your most important values and goals.
7) Your brain says: Work should feel like work.
Moonshot shift: Recognize the incredible value of play, fun and humor at work. Adding playfulness and enjoyment not only boosts creativity and intuition, it also decreases the toxic stress response in the brain and body, enhancing resilience and sustainability.
8) Your brain says: You can rest when you’re dead.
Moonshot shift: You can’t help anyone else without putting your oxygen mask on first. Realize that by failing to take care of your personal energy you decrease the value of what you bring to your work, your family, and your experience of life as a whole. No one ever put on their tombstone: he was the first to get to work and the last to leave.
9) Your brain says: You shouldda, wouldda, couldda ________.
Moonshot shift: The undisciplined mind spends about 40% of the time reliving the past and about 50% worrying about the future, which leaves only about 10% of the time to be in the present moment. Yet, the present moment is where the magic happens. Be disciplined about training your brain to be single task focused in the present moment when things matter.
10) Your brain says: Change is too hard. Stay where things are comfortable.
Moonshot shift: Life is always changing. We’re either growing or we’re dying; nothing stays the same.
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