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Most people’s definition of success includes things like money, possessions, respect, and career accomplishments. But where is happiness in that equation? Today we’re covering why mindset is everything when it comes to your success and happiness.

Because not only are you NOT successful if unhappy, but the key to achieving higher levels of success is (you guessed it). . . your mindset.

Let’s talk about why a strong mindset is the foundation to making the most out of life so that you can achieve real success.

And if you’re an attorney (or other purpose-driven service professional) who is ready to master your mindset starting now, be sure to download the Legal Mindset Mastery Toolkit for banishing lawyer burnout >>>here. This FREE guide contains 10 evidence-based tools to rewire your mind to think, feel and be your best.


What Is Mindset?

Before we get too far, let’s get clear around the definition of mindset.  The dictionary definition of mindset is this:

Simply put, your mindset is the combination of your beliefs, thoughts, emotions, assumptions and attitudes.  These aren’t just your conscious thoughts and beliefs, but also what’s in your subconscious.

Your mindset encompasses how you view yourself, your place in the world, the world around you.  And that means that it determines your decisions, choices and actions, including how you relate to others and deal with stressful situations.

Your mindset influences (even shapes) your outcomes (which is why mindset is everything).

It’s important to understand that having a healthy mindset doesn’t guarantee success.  Unfortunately, you don’t control other people or many of your circumstances.  But succeeding in life requires a healthy mindset.


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What Does Success Look Like?

In order to understand why mindset is everything (especially when it comes to your success, fulfillment and happiness), it’s important to understand what success looks like. Because it’s not just about wealth, accomplishments, or external approval. . . it includes being happy.

The Overachievers’ Dilemma

There’s a vicious cycle that many overachievers fall into.  You work hard to succeed. . . only to find that success doesn’t bring the happiness and fulfillment you imagined.  And so you double down on what you do best (work harder, push more).

Rinse and repeat.

Before you know it, you’re on the edge of burnout and craving something more in life (only to feel guilty about that because . . . shouldn’t you feel grateful for all that you have?).

The problem isn’t just that you’re working too hard, it’s that you’re working to meet the expectations, values and priorities of society and other people. 

This is a unique problem for us overachievers because we’re gold star collectors.  Earning respect from others and being seen as a leader is important – and so we often adopt a definition of success that’s based primarily on what other people want of us.

How Your Definition Of Success Creates Unhappiness

When working towards a definition of success not entirely your own, it’s easy to push your own priorities aside.  That’s because success brings with it new responsibilities and obligations.  And so something has to give. . . which is usually your own priorities (it’s the easiest thing to push down your list).

But because your list of obligations continues to grow, before you know it your values and priorities have been pushed aside entirely.  That’s when you end up:

  • losing self-confidence,
  • uncertain about what you want,
  • questioning your decisions,
  • feeling bitter (even resentful), and
  • ruining once strong relationships.

That’s not exactly a formula for a successful, happy life. And it’s why mindset is everything when it comes to succeeding in life – your mindset is the foundation for how you feel about yourself and your place within the world.

How to Make the Most Out of Life: Redefine Success From the Inside-Out

Here’s the deal. . . success starts from within. It’s not just about achievement or wealth.  You must also feel content in who you are and your decisions.

Nor is success one-size-fits-all.  Your success definition should be based on your specific strengths, values, needs and priorities.  Because they are what make you uniquely you (and what bring you purpose, meaning and happiness).

That’s why it’s so important to redefine success in a way that takes all of these things into account.

Want to know more about how to do that? Listen to my podcast episode about How To Redefine Success From the Inside-Out.

But note: merely redefining success isn’t enough. You also need to do the work to make what you want a reality. And that all hinges on having a strong, resilient mindset.


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Why Mindset Is Everything For Success and Happiness

Making the most out of life is about two things:

  1. Feeling content in your life and your decisions (this is how I define happiness).
  2. Overcoming fears and doubts so that you can live your life fully and not have big regrets.

The problem is that going after your BIG goals and dreams requires courage and a strong mind. It’s hard work because you must be willing to get started when you have doubts, push through fears and get back up after failures.

Plus, you’ll need to stay focused on what’s important and not allow yourself to get pulled off track by bright, shiny objects (which usually happens when things feel hard). The truth is, consistency is a difficult yet necessary component to success.

That’s why real success requires relentless positivity, a strong sense of determination, and a healthy dose of self-confidence (in fact, confidence and success are linked). Because you’ll absolutely experience failure. And you’ll have to face your fears and doubts head-on.

The ONLY way to do all of this is by cultivating the right mindset. . . a growth mindset (to be precise). And that is exactly why mindset is everything. It all starts there.

[Recommended Reading: For more about what happiness is (and how to create more happiness and fulfillment in your life), read How to Redefine Yourself Into Happiness].

What Comes First: Success Or Confidence?

When we talk about mindset, it’s clear that self-confidence plays a part (along with self-esteem). You must believe in yourself and your abilities to achieve high levels of success. But what comes first. . . success or confidence?

It’s true that success breeds new confidence (and can also increase your self-esteem), but the hard truth is that confidence and even self-esteem are primarily created from within. You must build it yourself with proven mindset strategies.

For more about how to build your self-confidence and self-esteem (and the difference between the two), read about 5 Confidence-Building Activities (To Believe In Yourself, Achieve More).


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How to Make the Most Out Of Life Through a Growth Mindset

Before I get into how a growth mindset helps, let’s get clear about what I’m talking about.

A growth mindset is a mentality where you embrace challenges and believe in your ability to learn as you go (and that you’ll learn from failure). It’s the opposite of a fixed mindset, where you worry about failing, looking badly and/or being criticized.

To be clear, mindset isn’t just about a belief or attitude. It’s much deeper than that because it includes how confident you are in your abilities and the value you place on yourself (also known as self-esteem).

Here’s how a growth mindset will help you to make the most out of both your career and personal life:

A Growth Mindset Means Living a ‘Not Yet’ Life (Instead of An ‘I Failed’ Life)

Having a growth mindset allows you to embrace the power of ‘not yet’ because the focus is on learning and growing (as opposed to worrying about looking badly, failing or being criticized).

That means that your focus isn’t just on (or even mostly about) winning versus losing. Instead it’s about being the best you can be while acknowledging that you can be better. Imagine how this mindset would change how you perceive yourself, your achievements, failures, other people and the world around you.

A growth mindset is what allows you to be content with yourself and your life. . . even while working to be and live better. It’s why mindset is everything when it comes to living a happy life.

By adopting a growth mindset of ‘not yet’, you’ll be more likely to start something new (even with doubts and fears about failing), push forward when facing adversity, and not get stuck in setbacks (but instead think more creatively to move forward).

[Recommended Reading: Learn how to cultivate a growth mindset even after you’ve failed by reading How to Be Confident Again After You’ve Failed.]

The Right Mindset Will Increase Your Mental Resilience and Self-Confidence

Having a growth mindset will make you more likely to succeed. Not because you’ll suddenly be able to manifest what you want (sorry, it doesn’t work like that), but because you’ll:

  • Be more resilient to stress and setbacks,
  • Acknowledge your weaknesses, and
  • Admit what isn’t working.

These are necessary requirements for success. You’re more likely to persist and course correct as needed without getting stuck. This is how failure is turned into fuel (it’s a new challenge to overcome).

A resilient, strong mindset is what a winning mindset really is (and brings with it more fulfillment and happiness).

A Growth Mindset Creates Stronger Relationships (With Self and Others)

As already mentioned, a growth-oriented mindset allows you to readily admit and deal with weaknesses, failures and mistakes. That makes you more willing to ask for help and delegate when needed (strengthening trust and relationships with others).

It also means that you have deeper knowledge around what’s most important to you, allowing you to face vulnerable feelings most people shy away from. But there’s more to it than just being self-aware.

I’ve found (both in myself and within my clients) that as self-awareness deepens, it increases your awareness of others. You start to notice how other people perceive you, which then leads you to notice how you affect other people. And that eventually leads you to become more aware of other people’s emotions (and sometimes their thoughts).

Over time, your emotional intelligence will increase, making you more attractive to others and increasing your communication and leadership skills. And your relationships will strengthen (both at work and in your personal life).

Master Your Mind To Make the Most Out of Life

To sum up what you’ve learned:

  • Mindset is everything when it comes to both success and happiness. The right mindset will help build a more confident, calm mind that’s ready to take on any challenge while focusing on ‘not yet’ as opposed to ‘I failed’.
  • Cultivating a growth mindset will help you turn failure (and even fear) into fuel so that you take courageous action and make better decisions for yourself moving forward.
  • A strong mindset means more awareness – of self and others and an increase in your emotional intelligence.  This will help to strengthen your relationships.

Now it’s time to start making the most out of life by adopting some simple practices that will create the happy, healthy mind you want.

To help you get started, get your copy of 10 stress-busting, mood-boosting and mind-sharpening tools (aka The Legal Mindset Mastery Toolkit) here.

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Hey there, I’m Heather

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I’m here to help purpose-driven lawyers and other professionals (like you) build your ideal career to support the life you actually want. Because you shouldn’t have to choose between professional success & personal happiness.

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