As a woman in healthcare leadership, I understand the unique mindset challenges we face on our professional journey. From self-doubt and imposter syndrome to a lack of belonging, these barriers can hold us back from reaching our full potential. By prioritizing self-care that includes both our body and our mind, we can cultivate a positive mindset that empowers us to overcome these obstacles and thrive in our roles.

What lens am I looking through?

If you are feeling impatient—that is a function of mindset. Imagine a day scheduled with back-to-back meetings and the current meeting is running overtime. You are frustrated and impatient with the facilitator who isn’t wrapping up on time. Or maybe imposter syndrome is rearing its head and you are feeling incompetent and unable to meet the demands of your busy day? Whether the lens you are looking through is positive or negative has a major impact on the ideas and options you bring as a leader.

Self-care for your Mind

Self-care is caring for yourself—for your physical well-being and for your mental health. Many of us are taught to believe that self-care is selfish or indulgent, but I have come to realize its immense importance in nurturing a more positive mindset. What you are saying to yourself about a situation or about yourself makes a difference in what your experience is. By becoming aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can transform our mindset and create a more empowering narrative.

Step One: The first step is to notice what you are saying about yourself. Ask: “Is what I am saying to myself helping me be creative and resourceful or leaving me feeling stuck? Notice how your self-talk makes you feel. If you notice a pattern and think, “Oh, I am doing this again,” then the negative thought process is not helpful.

Step Two: Disrupt the pattern to get unstuck and take a constructive step forward. If you don’t interrupt a pattern that does not serve you, you will stay stuck. The impact of staying stuck is feeling frustrated and resigned. Start with the most simple approach, try one or more of these options to interrupt negative chatter in your mind:

  1. Cancel that. Shake your head and say “cancel that” to yourself to stop the negative thread of thought. It is a quick and immediate intervention to break the pattern.
  2. The MacGyver Method for Creative Problem Solving. Try this approach when you need an improved way to look at a situation or solve a problem. Write down what is making you feel stuck. Put it down and go do something mildly stimulating, like taking a short walk. When you come back put pen to paper and write or doodle about this issue. You are putting the subconscious to work to achieve heightened creativity and perspective.
  3. Ladder of Inference. This powerful model is worth a look because we are all so susceptible to making assumptions. I routinely share with clients to help them consider whether they’re making the “right” conclusion, why they’re making certain assumptions, and if they’ve considered all the facts. Bonus—it is a great conflict-resolution tool!

By cultivating a positive mindset, we can better navigate the internal and external obstacles that get in the way of the fulfilling life we want. Take my 3-minute leadership barrier survey to learn more about your leadership barriers.

Deborah Munhoz is a certified physician development coach. For more than 20 years she has coached top-level female healthcare professionals to help them overcome barriers and excel as leaders.

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