#012—What does your mind really think of you?

Hey all, I’ve been doing a lot of gardening lately.  But it’s not the kind that you’re thinking of.

Last week, I passed along a piece of advice to a number of my mentees. It came from one of my own mentors recently, and it profoundly changed the way I think so I thought I’d add it here, too. 

The advice is this:

Think of your conscious mind as a gardener planting seeds. Think of your subconscious mind as a garden in which the seeds grow. 

Over the last two years or so, I’ve become hyper aware of my thoughts and more intentional about what I consume.  Still, this analogy resonated deeply with me.  

Once you start envisioning your mind that way, then you can begin to consider whether the seeds you’re planting are actually serving you. If you want a certain “plant” to grow, you need to plant that seed and tend to it carefully—don’t let weeds choke it out.  I’ve developed habits and my own practices to help me do this.  More on this in Final Thoughts.

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Before we dive in, I’d like to ask your opinion about these weekly emails of mine. When I first started sending it out, I was hearing demand for career opportunities and virtual hangouts. But at this point, I’ve noticed that the percentage of people who click on links of companies hiring and events is tiny. Most people tend to click on the guides, tips, or “how-to’s” that I send out, and the email replies I receive are almost always related to my Final Thoughts section. 

I spend hours every week writing and curating for each newsletter, and I want to make sure that time is serving all of you. So, I’d like to hear from you (just reply to this email).

  • What type of resources have been the most helpful to you? 

  • What would you like more of? 

  • What would you like less of?

Please don’t be shy--I’d love to meet you! Thank you in advance. 💜

And now, let’s get to this week’s resources:


💼  CAREERS AND MEANINGFUL WORK

A lot of the beliefs that limit us from meaningful jobs and lives revolve around not having enough of something. Time, skills, money—people constantly tell themselves if they just had a little more of them, they could do what they really want to. 

Not long ago, I talked to Chris Atoki, and our conversation (listen here)  made me realize just how wrong those beliefs can be. Four years ago, Chris was homeless and trying to get by without any support from family or friends. Today, he has a six-figure career and fulfilled his dream of buying a house on acres of property.

The best advice he shared with me was this: Everyone tells you to have a five-year plan. And if you do think five years ahead, that’s fine. But more importantly, visualize what you’ll be doing in the next 24 hours and then do your best to follow through on that. Getting those things done day after day compounds, just like interest. 

And synchronously, I came across this Margaret Young quote: You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.

How do your beliefs today, about who you are, limit what you do? How do they keep you from what you want? Big questions I’ve asked myself often in my career, and the answers have been enlightening.  

  • Here’s David Perell sharing his own habits and the personal development questions he’s asking himself, like:

    • How can I monetize a low-stress life where I get to explore ideas for a living? 

    • How can I be a thriving knowledge worker without compromising my health? 

    • How can I push myself and reflect on my weaknesses without descending into self-loathing?

  • August had another round of layoffs unfortunately.  If you’re job searching and want to know what companies were impacted, check out this list.  If you’ve been impacted by layoffs, consider adding yourself to lists like these.  I’ve personally hired two people off of community lists of folks impacted by layoffs. 

  • Working on your self-reflection skills? Just had Replika shared with me by another coach - I haven’t tried it out myself yet so if you do, let me know what you think! It’s a personal AI that helps you express yourself and do some self-reflection.

  • Woman engineer, designer, or product manager? Check out Women Hack for tons of free resources and events


👋  SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL HANGOUTS

  • Core Confidence: How to Own Your Talent

August 17th, 7:00 p.m. PDT

Confidence – everyone wants it and no-one wants to admit to not having it, yet the truth is even the most successful executive will admit there are times when “I don’t feel confident at all”. Confidence is elusive, which is why we have spent years researching and working with people in workshops to really understand why confidence is the cornerstone to: Creating the career and life you want, Setting and enforcing healthy boundaries, and Resilience – the ability to bounce back when things go wrong or fail. More details here.

  • How To Be a Side-Hustler

August 18th, 11:00 a.m. PDT

"Being my own boss" is a dream many professionals have. But, we all have bills to pay, so most of us don't have the luxury of immediately quitting our day jobs to pursue our own dreams of self-employment.  Enter the side hustle! Join our lineup of speakers as they deliver tactical tips and tricks on how to start a successful side hustle while keeping your day job.  Details here.

  • Wellness Wisdom w/ Gympass

August 19th, 10:00 a.m. PDT

Live class - one of their certified personal training partners will be on the call to lead us through a 20-minute, open level, yoga workout! Take a break from work, relieve some stress and try out a live fitness class for yourself. Details here.

  • Design Your Dream Job

August 21st, 9:00 a.m. PDT

A Gallup study found that nearly 70% of people feel disengaged by their work. In other words, they work because they have to, not because they want to. If that sounds like you, then join us for this solution-oriented workshop. We will help you to discover what matters most when it comes to finding inspiring work. We’ll then teach you a clear and compelling approach to find, and get, a job you love faster. It won’t happen all at once, of workshop, but this workshop can jumpstart your journey towards finding joy and meaning in your work.  More details here.


⭐ FINAL THOUGHTS

So, I mentioned the subconscious mind and the conscious mind having a similar relationship as a garden does to its gardener.  What am I even talking about…?

In the “mind as garden” metaphor, you can think of your subconscious as incredibly fertile soil. Pretty much anything can grow there if you give it a chance. 

When your conscious mind thinks something, it’s then accepted by your subconscious—whether it’s a good thought or a bad one. Continue thinking that thought, and the seed will sprout and begin to grow.

For instance, if you’re constantly reading and listening to negative and scary stories about the world, your subconscious mind will accept and store those perceptions about the world. Those are the seeds you plant, so what grows in your mind is a negative view of the world as a really dangerous place. 

That’s why it’s so incredibly important to be aware of the information you’re taking in. Weeds can grow like crazy in your garden if you’re not careful about what you’re reading, listening to, and thinking about. 

Those weeds are often limiting beliefs. Thoughts like, 

  • “It’s been done before,”

  • “I’m not good enough,” or 

  • “There are so many other people trying to do something similar, so why bother?”

If we let them, those weeds can choke out any seeds of positivity before they have a chance to grow. 

So instead, we need to pull up the weeds where we find them and do our best to keep them out of the garden of our subconscious in the first place.

Here’s how I do it:

  • I walk through my garden often. What have I planted? How do I think about the world around me—about my own experiences as well as larger societal issues? Is this way of thinking serving me or limiting me? 

  • I pay attention to what I tell myself. Last week, I did an activity where I tried to pay attention to my thoughts and what I tell myself about different situations, for the entire week. Try it out yourself.  I guarantee you’ll begin to notice some repetition in the types of thoughts you have. Write those repetitive thoughts down. 

  • I write down my goals and desires. Every month or so, I write down the things that I really want.  I describe what my dream career looks like, along with my dream relationships, finances, house, etc. And then I ask myself, are any of my repetitive thoughts telling me that I can’t achieve these things or don’t deserve them? If so, those are weeds. I then know that I have to remove those limiting beliefs just like I would weeds in a real garden. 

It may sound like a lot of work, but walking through your garden becomes an insightful and interesting habit. The more weeds you pull, the better your garden looks—and the more you want to keep it that way.

I encourage you to try this out this weekend or next week, or whenever you feel like it.  But make the time to do so.  I am confident that at the very least, it’ll help you become more mindful.  Best case though, it’ll help you reverse some major limiting beliefs and propel you towards your goals, like it does for me.

Sending you good juju,

Shireen

What did you think about this week’s email? Let me know by simply replying to this email. 😀

  • What type of resources have been the most helpful to you? 

  • What would you like more of? 

  • What would you like less of?