How to Get Out of Your Own Way By Mastering Your Mindsets with Dr. Ryan Gottfredson

Dr. Ryan Gottfredson. is a mental success coach and cutting-edge leadership consultant, author, trainer, and researcher. Ryan is currently a leadership and management professor at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton (CSUF). He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources and is the author of “Success Mindsets: The Key to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership.”

Inside This Episode

  • How Mindsets Filter Our Experience and Create the Foundation for Success
  • Why 95% Of Our Behaviors Are Driven By Our Mindsets
  • Brain Science as the Future of Leadership Research
  • Why Mindsets Are the Gateway to Lasting Change in Behavior
  • The Lasting Effects of Framing on Experience
  • Why 95% of Us Have Room to Improve Our Mindsets
  • Digging Beneath the Surface to Identify The Real Mindset Gaps
  • How to Get Out of Your Own Way
  • Creating Awareness and Vertical Integration
  • Enhancing Your Window of Tolerance
  • Developing Agility and Future-Readiness
  • The Four Innate Desires of Leaders
  • Shaping Culture by Shaping Mindsets
  • John Ryan
    You're listening to key conversations for leaders. This is episode number 22. Welcome, everybody. In today's episode, we'll be talking about how to get out of your own way by mastering your mindsets with Dr. Ryan gottfredson. We'll be covering brain science as the future of leadership research the four innate desires of leaders and shaping culture by shaping mindsets and much, much more. If you look at the major successes and the massive setbacks you've had in your career, they can all be traced back to conversations you either had or didn't have. In fact, your future and that of your company is determined by the quality of conversations you have with your team, your customers and yourself. And that's what this show is about better conversations for better leaders.

    John Ryan 0:49
    Hey, everybody, and welcome to key conversations for leaders. I'm your host John Ryan, and today we have a very special guest, Dr. Ryan gottfredson. Ryan is a mental success coach. And cutting edge leadership consultant, author, trainer and researcher. He is currently a leadership and management professor at the mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton. He holds a PhD in organizational behavior and human resources, and is the author of success mindsets, the keto marking greatest success in your life work, and leadership. Welcome to the show, Ryan.

    Ryan Gottfredson 1:23
    Hey, thanks for having me on job and really excited for this.

    John Ryan 1:25
    Excellent. Thank you. You know, I want to begin by asking, you know, why is it that mindsets are so foundational to success?

    Ryan Gottfredson 1:35
    Man, you're getting right into it. I love it. So what the way that we describe mindsets is our mental lenses that shape how we view the world. And I think a lot of people see mindsets that kind of being this fluffy, almost ethereal concept. Yeah, we all need to have good mindsets, but it's but where's the substance behind it? And so when I talk about myself So that I feel like that's my job is to bring the substance behind mindsets. Not that it's anything I've created. I'm just tapping into both psychology and neuroscience and what they're saying the role our mindsets plays in terms of we operate. And so the basic ideas, since our mindsets are these mental lenses, how we see the world that shapes how we think, learn and behave. So for example, when we think about this COVID-19 shut down that we've all been going through. We've seen people who have seen this as though the sky is falling. We've seen other people who see this as a unique opportunity to learn, grow, develop, and push forward. And so depending upon how we see things, influence then how we process in those situations. But the reality is, is that even though we describe our mindsets as mental lenses, they are literally neural connections in our prefrontal cortex that shape how we one in take in information, how we interpret that information. And then based upon the information that our mindsets filter in, and how we interpret it, that is what activates the different elements about ourselves, like our different personality traits or skills or talents so that we can navigate the situations that we encounter. And so literally, our mindsets are effectively the first line, maybe of defense to play out that language, but it's the first line or the front line between the situations that we're in, and how we interact with those such with those situations. And so literally when as we dive into the neuroscience behind mindsets, our mindsets are literally the most foundational element about who we are because they shape the information that comes in and based upon the information that shapes how we then process and navigate Does that make sense?

    John Ryan 4:00
    I think it does. And I want to ask of questions to explore a little bit more about that. So first of all, I love that you're taking it from a you know, psychological perspective, a concrete perspective versus the said, The airy fairy ethereal. Well, just positive mindset, which is very ambiguous. And what does that really mean? But you're getting into the Yeah, the neurological aspect that it sounds like it's the the barrier between my internal world and my external world that determines how I'm perceiving the actual world is, am I getting close to that approximation?

    Ryan Gottfredson 4:35
    Yeah. So it shapes how we're perceiving our external world. And then how we perceive our external world based upon our mindsets, then activates the different elements of our internal world. So let me give you another example that I think is a fun one to bring up is how do you react when you get constructive criticism? So when I ask Groups this most people say is effectively they get defensive and they kind of get this emotional reaction. Maybe they tune them out or they shut their brain down. But then there's other people who who look at constructive criticism as being this incredibly valuable information that will help them learn, grow and improve. And depending on our reaction to constructive criticism, and you know, I'm kind of painting as an either or, and it's not necessarily always an either or. But our instinctual reaction to constructive criticism is based on the mindsets that we have these mental lenses that cause us to see constructive criticism as either being bad, and a threat or being good and a help. And so, for most people, they don't they're not conscious of their mindsets, yet they are dictating what research has found is 95 percent of our thinking, feeling judging and acting is all primarily founded on our non conscious automatic processes, which are driven by our mindsets.

    John Ryan 6:10
    So you mentioned the prefrontal cortex and which I connect with the the rational, logical part of our being. And and I always mix up some of the parts of the brain. So please correct me if I'm off. But I think of the emotional center is the amygdala. My Yeah. So does that emotional center is tying it back to the crisis and feedback. Is it constructive? Do I look at it as a negative or positive? The crisis is the sky falling, etc. It seems like the emotions would also be is that also inside of behind the veil of that mindset?

    Ryan Gottfredson 6:46
    Yeah, this is and I love that you're exploring here and I'm just for full disclosure, I'm kind of an amateur neurologist. Right. So I'm not an expert, but this is, this is the next frontier for leadership science is the mind And and so I, I'm doing some really deep dives right now on these topics, I'll bring up some of the things that I'm learning. But what, from a mindset perspective, what researchers have found is that our we kind of have two memory systems. One is a rapid fire memory system. One is a slow building memory system. So for example, if I had you reflect upon your last vacation, is there a memory that stands out to you? Right? So so when you do that, what you're doing is you're activating memory that's stored in your fast firing memory system, because the only way to activate that memory is if you're initiated. To go back to that. If you're not initiative initiated to go back to that you're never going to go back to it. But when you activate it, you can It's almost like you're there. Again, you could smell the smells, you can hear the sounds like it's a really rich memory. But and that's not where our mindsets reside, our mindsets reside in our slow building memory system. So based upon multiple interactions in the past, such as I'll give you an example, my wife when she was two years old, her brothers made her watch the movie it. So now she is deathly afraid of clowns, like literally deathly afraid of clowns. I grew up in Utah going to rodeos in the summer, and I see clowns as being these fun rodeo people. So when we see clowns, what's going on is we're activating this low binding memory system of past experiences that has caused us to see those pieces of information in unique ways. And we can categorize all of this into different sets of mindsets, which I'm sure we'll get into. So that being said, what, what is going on We've got different levels of our brain and, and to simplify things, we've got what is generally referred to as the mammalian or the lizard brain. And this is kind of the write off of our brainstem, there's the amygdala, there's the hippocampus. And there's a, there's a couple of other pieces there that are more of this mammalian brain. Whereas the outer rim of the brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex, to your point, is the rational side of our brain. This is the more mature and evolved brain. And and so both of these top four parts of the brain seem to tap in to these memories to the slow binding memory system. And and so emotions I what I guess what I would say is emotions don't necessarily play a role. Emotions are a byproduct of how these two mechanisms of the brain are working together. So where I've been currently diving into this is looking at what is the role that trauma plays in people's mindsets over over the period of their life. And it's really fascinating. And what what research has found is that trauma, and I'll give you a this is a phrase that I picked up actually reading a book this morning, affects our window of tolerance. So a window of tolerance is how open are we are, for example, to new ideas, new experiences, uncertainty, things like that. So people who have gone through trauma, they have a smaller window of tolerance generally, then those people who have not gone through trauma. And so what this means is in terms of these two systems of the brain, the mammalian and lizard like brain is hyperactive relative to this rational brain. And so the mammalian and lizard like brain can overload and the information doesn't even get past that to our prefrontal cortex, which is where the more positive mindsets really need to function because the more positive mindsets are generally intentional mindsets. And so what happens is when when a situation occurs that activates this lizard like or mammalian part of the brain. It's our capability of, of, of controlling that shapes our emotions, if that makes sense. So, so it's our emotions don't necessarily shape our mindsets. It's this lizard, a mammal like brain that then activate emotions and activate the degree to which we can control those based upon kind of the strength of our lizard brain to our more rational brain. And if those aren't imbalance effectively, then we're going to have a really hard time with regards to being intentional With our mindsets,

    John Ryan 12:01
    Having trauma and having an over excitability of the lizard brain and the mammalian brain, then what that does is it gives you less ability to use your rational frame of mindset from the prefrontal cortex to make conscious decisions. You're actually probably more being reactive than analytical, I think at that point in time.

    Ryan Gottfredson 12:22
    Yep. And the way that I would just say it slightly differently is, is we're being reactive as opposed to thoughtfully responsive,

    John Ryan 12:30
    thoughtfully response. So I do want to say proactive, but yeah, that's a great way to say it so thoughtfully, responsive. Now in your research, because it sounds like a lot of this is really below the surface, right? It's the iceberg. And all these things are happening. Can we shift our mindsets over time? Can we consciously shape them?

    Ryan Gottfredson 12:50
    This is why I love focusing on mindsets. So if we've got if we look at all the different attributes about ourselves, and we start stack them up in order of at the bottom, really in stable traits. And at the top is really stable traits. So at the bottom, we'd have things like emotions and moods and attitudes. Because those are things that we could change really quickly. At the top, we would have things closer to Akin of intelligence, personality traits. I'm not saying we can't change those, they're just much more difficult to change. And, and I would say that most in most leadership development focuses on those top levels, which are actually things that we can't really change over time, that we're just limited. And those are what we call our innate traits. mindsets fall in the middle. So these are semi stable traits. We can't change them. They're not as easy to change as moods and emotions, but once we do change, they have a tendency to Stick around for a while. And these are what we call our learned traits. And so I love focusing on mindsets, because as we develop our mindsets and improve our mindsets, not only does that enhance ourselves right there, but then it enhances our ability to more effectively tap in to our innate traits. So for example, if you've got, there's some people who consider charisma to be an innate trait, a personality attribute, well, who's going to be more effective, somebody that is charisma charismatic, and has an open mindset, or somebody who's charismatic and has a closed mindset? Well, the person is going to be more effective. So so we get more out of who we are, as we improve our mindset. So I think that mindsets are not the only thing to focus on in terms of development. But it is, is probably the most important element. And at the same time, it's probably the most overlooked element.

    John Ryan 14:57
    I'm loving where you're saying it's so The stable unstable sounds like it's like unstable, like a negative way. But it's really means more it's more malleable. changeable, yeah. But the impact is less. So the more stable you go, the more permanent the more relatively fixed it is, in the shorter term, but the mindset, it sounds like that's in that sweet spot where it's actually shiftable. And actually can allow you to multiply or amplify what you have from an innate, the stable level, the spectrum terror is that

    Ryan Gottfredson 15:30
    Yeah, let me give you an awesome example of an experiment that was conducted. So they did this experiment, they took a group of financial professionals, and exposed half of them to a three minute video about how stress is debilitating. The other group saw a three minute video about how stress is enhancing both of these videos or based on science. And they're both designed to activate different neural connections, mindset, neural connections in their previous frontal cortex. And then what they did is they tracked their engagement, their performance and their blood pressure over the next two weeks. And what they found is those that saw the three minute video about how stress is enhancing, at higher engagement, higher performance and lower blood pressure. So this is an example of a three minute intervention, a three minute video shifted mindsets that affected their attitudes, their performance, and even their physiology. And we can't expect this to continue in the long term after one single intervention, so we could see it in two weeks. But if we want to make longer term shifts in our mindsets, all we need to do is engage in similar interventions on a repeated basis over time. And as we do that, what we're doing is we're hitting the gym for our brain, and we're activating and strengthening our positive mindsets, so that in future situations when we encounter a situation, we're much more prone to filter that through our positive mindsets these strong more quickly, firing neural connections then are less or slower? Negative my

    John Ryan 17:09
    that's a great example that study that's amazing I can't believe really blows my mind that three minute video has that level of impact and like you said, it's not like it's going to be forever, but you have to reinforce that. So in your research, it sounds like consistent development and active, intentional. Developing of that mindset is important. What percentage Would you say that people have like naturally occurring positive success mindsets?

    Ryan Gottfredson 17:40
    So I have a mindset assessment that people could take, I think you've taken this, right, yes, I've had about 11,000 people take this mindset assessment and we look at four different sets of mindsets. And the all four of these sets of mindsets are I focused on these sets because these have been studied for 30 plus years. right there's there's other mindsets that are out there such as abundance and deficit mindsets, which I love the concepts behind them. I just got zero research backing on them, right? So so the four mindsets that I focus on are research back. So across these four sets of mindsets, what I found is that only 5% are in the top core tile for all four sets of these mindsets, meaning 95% of us have got significant work to do with regards to our mindsets. And I would even say that, that probably half have multiple mindsets on the negative side. And and so, and this is where I love for again, I love focusing on mindsets, because one, I think we undervalue them. We don't understand the foundational role they play and so we've kind of talked through some of that. But then the next question becomes, well, what mindsets Do I need to have to be successful? And do I have those or not? And so then we start talking about out, what mindsets are out there, what mindsets they need to have. And then as they take the mindset assessment and learn about these mindsets, what individuals are doing is deepening their self awareness at a level that's probably deeper than they've ever gone before. They're awakening to these non conscious mechanisms that shape how they think, how they learn, and how they behave. And it's once we awaken to these things, that we can then do something about it. But as long as we continue to stay blind to them, they'll continue to just kind of operate, whether for the positive or for the negative, depending on upon the quality of our mindsets.

    John Ryan 19:38
    So the first step is awareness, which I think is where your quiz comes in and shining a light on your strengths and your opportunities for improvement. And then what you do from there really depends on where the deficit is.

    Ryan Gottfredson 19:51
    Yeah, usually so and if I was engaging in a coaching practice, I would not only just focus on where the deficit is but out of these Generally out of the out of these four sets, we can identify one of these, that is wrecking greater havoc on their progress to their goal goals than another mindset. So usually, if I was if we were to engage in a coaching call or a process, what I would I would be focused on overall, what are the more negative mindsets, because that would be concerning to me. But most importantly, which of these mindsets is causing you to get towards your goal more slowly than had you had the more positive mindsets? Which one is wrecking greater havoc on your progress? And once we awaken there, that's where I primarily want to focus, at least initially.

    John Ryan 20:41
    Is there a finite number of limiting mindsets that exists?

    Ryan Gottfredson 20:46
    There isn't but but usually there's one that that plays the biggest role is what I found. And so for example, there's a client Mind that I have and he's a sales rep. And he has just felt perpetually stuck as a sales rep. But he wants to become a sales leader as one of his goals. And another goal that he has is he wants to sell in his line of work $5 million of business during the year. And that's a significant amount of work. It's a stretch goal for him, which is great. And so I'll ask him, what are you doing or not doing that's preventing you from reaching your goals? And one of the things that he said is, well, I'm probably not making as many phone calls as I should write and most personal development coaches probably stop there. They just say, Okay, well you just need to start making more phone calls. Well, if it was that easy, I you know, my guess is both of us would be out of a job. Yeah, we got to dive deeper. There's a reason why he's not making phone calls. And so then we will What are your Why aren't you making phone calls and then he ends And says, I'm afraid, that of failing, I'm afraid of looking bad. And therefore with this fear, he's got a commitment to look good. And and he's also got an assumption and that assumption is if I make phone calls, I'm going to get a No. Well, and he's seen that as truth. What which there may be a lot of truth to that, but that's not absolute truth. There's going to be some people that say Yes, right. So he's got these fears, commitments and assumptions that are causing that are preventing him from picking up the phone and making the calls that he needs to make. And so then we come back to what mindset is fueling these fears, commitments and assumptions. And because he identified as his fear, this fear of failing and of looking bad, then then way identify this as being primarily driven by a fixed mindset. So when we have a fixed mindset, we don't believe that we can improve our talents, abilities and intelligence. And we have a tendency to see the world in terms of haves and have nots. And so if I, if I fail at something with a fixed mindset, that means I'm a half not, and we don't believe that we can ever become a half. So those are the fixed mindset. Because of them not wanting to be seen as a have not. They become fearful of failure, failure, and their primary focus is on looking good and on succeeding. And then there's a variety of negative side of side effects that come because of that. And one of those side effects is kind of to your point is because he's focused on on not failing. He's also focused primarily on himself. And so when he's on the phone talking to a customer, he's thinking, don't fail, don't fail, don't fail which is a self focus mentality. As opposed to add value, add value add value, which is another focus mentality. And so that taps also taps in and affects his inward to outward mindset continuum is disease see the people that he's working with as an object or as a person. And so he's got multiple mindsets he's got to work on. But the biggest one that seems to be wrecking havoc is this fixed mindset.

    John Ryan 24:24
    Does that make sense? It does. I like that description. And thank you for that hypothetical analogy. So like, if we were in that situation, that's maybe how you'd break it down. So breaking it down and tracing it to the mindset can reveal all kinds of things underneath the hood that that if you look at it from the surface level, well, let's just track your calls and have some accountability. But it's not that it's not that at all it's a fear based mentality of me focus versus of adding value focus, and and that's that mental lens that you're talking about as well.

    Ryan Gottfredson 24:59
    So when I speak with groups of people, one of the things that I'll commonly say is because I want to start talking about mindsets, and you've got to have positive, more effective mindsets. I, my my belief is that everybody in the room is thinking, yeah, I've got really good mindsets, I, we have a tendency to think that our mindsets are the most ideal mindsets to have. And that's because our life experience has taught us that that's the case. I mean, if we thought that we could have better mindsets, we would have already changed our mindsets. So the mental lenses that we're using to view the world, we fundamentally currently believe that the best mindsets to have but they may not be they may not be serving us as well as they think that they are. And in terms of my own personal journey, as I started to learn about these different mindsets, I found that I was on the negative side of the continuum for each of these sets of mindsets. I mean, I I think I work on I think I focus on mindsets, primarily because it's therapy for me, I need it as much as anybody else does. And but as people dive into these concepts, and as people read my book, what I what I'm hearing is people are saying, this is one of the most one of the deepest introspective dives I've ever done. And they also say simultaneously, it's not easy. There's some pain associated with it. But But I now more clearly see how I am getting in my own way. And I now I more clearly see how I can get out of my own way and unlock the success that I've been seeking.

    John Ryan 26:41
    So connecting back to that we all tend to think that we have positive mindsets, because we have that confirmation bias that hey, well look at all the all the good choices I've made to get me to where I am. Then even before the awareness which we said a little bit ago that awareness is the beginning is a willingness to accurate Look and take inventory and take stock of do I actually have a positive, helpful mindset versus a deficiency mindset? And in that case, that's that's it. How do you do that? How do you help someone get to that point of being willing to admit that maybe their mindsets are actually causing them to not get the results we're looking for?

    Ryan Gottfredson 27:24
    Yeah, this is one of the reasons why I'm doing a lot of research around trauma because what research on trauma says is that people who have experienced trauma, which is a much higher percentage than we what we would like to think, for example, one in every four women have been abused in their life. Hmm. Right. So and that's, that's abuse, that's not neglect, which is also a very traumatic thing and a wide variety of other things. So so a lot more people have gone through trauma than than we like to think but what research on trauma has found Is trauma generally, as a way of coping with that trauma, they shut down elements of their brain that allow them to actually do that introspection. And so there is a there's a certain percentage of the population where they they avoid any invitation to introspect. Right? So there's that group of people and I'm what I'm wanting to learn is how do we reach them? Because, again, I I don't think that they're the majority. I think that they're the minority, but they're a significant minority. For everybody else who hasn't experienced trauma. I think generally, just by learning about mindsets and about the foundational role that they play in their lives it to them they say, Oh, this seems worthwhile to explore. At least let me explore it now. How accepting they are may be dependent upon their mindsets how close versus How open they are. But I think most people get a lot of value from doing mindset work and diving into the topic, and they have the ability to kind of run with it. But then again, going back there is a small percentage of people that have a really difficult time doing that. And so what I'm learning in terms of how do we help people do that is is there's a terminology that's called vertical integration. And it's the idea that how how integrated with our mind is with our body. So when somebody experiences trauma, they literally as a way to cope with that they disconnect from their body. So their body may be feeling things, but their brain doesn't register it as well as somebody who hasn't experienced trauma. And so what needs to happen for these individuals who have experienced trauma, we've got to build up that vertical integration, and there's different techniques to do that. The way that they're generally described as either a top down process or a bottom up, so a top down would be we use our prefrontal cortex and allow us to kind of explore our body. So meditation practices, particularly body scans is one of those practices. The bottom up an example of a great i thought was a really fascinating example, is a therapist told their client that they need to do essentially take horse riding classes. And, and, and these classes are not just about learning how to ride a horse, it's also about taking care of a horse. And so through one is the individual is connecting with another kind of being. There's a lot of kind of brushing and care that where you're touching, you're using your body to move to feel, which is really good. And then when you're riding a horse, you're starting to become very conscious about your posture. Your body movement where you're, how you're balancing yourself. And so by going this is again a bottom up process. And so what what all these activities are doing is helping that individual better connect with their body and better connect with others, which which they had a problem doing so because of the trauma, so, these are, to me, these are really interesting ideas, that as a whole, I don't think that these ideas are great for people who have gone through trauma, I think they're great for everybody. And they help facilitate deepening our self awareness, and also our conscientiousness of others and engaging in perspective taking.

    John Ryan 31:39
    I love that intervention, you know, not just top down but bottom up and connecting to a horse another body could literally connecting to another body and getting that connection on a view. a psychologist Dr. Tom Miller has the metaphor which goes all the way back to the elephant and the rider and a horse and the rider and it's your unconscious mind like the horse in that moment. becomes your non conscious subconscious unconscious mind. And you're creating that connection with yourself plus the endorphins, the oxytocin and all that stuff that's getting released as well. So very, very cool stuff. So for most people they don't necessarily need to have. So yes benefit for doing that. There's a benefit and externalizes the mind body connection. But if you have that trauma in your past, then probably even more so even more so prescribed?

    Ryan Gottfredson 32:25
    For sure. Yeah. So I mean, as a whole, what mindfulness does, for all of us, regardless of where we're at, it is it enhances our windows of tolerance, right? So it allows us greater capacity to take in maybe alternative perspectives, different ideas, and, and not be triggered by them. That we're able to sit with them be present in the moment and be aware of our own feelings as we're experiencing that information. So, So mindfulness practice As a whole, I think have huge benefits for everybody. Regardless of whether it's trauma or not, it's just happens to be that trauma, people have experienced trauma. They need it more severely than the rest of us. But we can all significantly benefit from.

    John Ryan 33:15
    So if you increase your window of tolerance, is there more satisfaction, more happiness and the positive emotions that you might go with go with that?

    Ryan Gottfredson 33:27
    Well, it's a more grounded approach. So I think as a whole, it allows us to be more intentional about then creating greater well being for ourselves and to make sure that we're putting ourselves in the situations that bring about that greater well being. And so, yeah, I think it's as a whole, what we're doing is we're creating greater capabilities of navigating situations effectively another way of saying that is We are enhancing our agility and our future readiness. Because what allows us to take in this new ideas and new perspectives, and if it adds value, we adjust. If it doesn't we say, okay, that's nice. We keep going on our way. It's the people that have a hard time being agile and future ready, is they take in information and as because it's new, just because it's new that they kind of resisted, because it seems scary. It seems difficult. Just because they're, they're unfamiliar with that.

    John Ryan 34:32
    Because back to the lizard fear response and things like that. Every new idea that you bring in I can see you doing a full day workshop just on agility and future readiness. Like that's a that's a whole focus in of itself. But I think I think our will keep our focus here for a moment and just in this one, when people are in a job where the stress because what what job doesn't really have stress. I know that you've indicated in your research, you've that people are actually quite often more, they'd rather have another boss than actually more payer or something of that effect that that is it is so interpersonal versus financial, like, how does that resolve itself? Like how does that work?

    Ryan Gottfredson 35:18
    Well, it's it's interesting, right? So let me give you some other leadership statistics. So you mentioned 65% would prefer to have a new boss compared to more pay. 75% of employees say that their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job. 82% of employees state that they can't trust their manager to tell the truth. Right. So employees experiences with their managers are generally negative as a whole. I'm not saying that everybody, all managers and leaders are bad. But the thing that's really interesting to me because organizations bring me in to work with their leaders and managers. And and I know these statistics, and I'll ask these leaders again managers, are you doing the best that you can in your job? And all of them say yes. And then then I throw out these statistics and I make the connection. Look, for many of us, our current best is having negative effects on the people that we lead. And why is that? Right? And that's when we start to talk about mindsets and self awareness. Because at the core, what is going on? What would lead managers best to have negative effects for the people they lead is they've got more than negative mindsets, which are actually self protecting mindsets. So let me get I'll give you a four desires here. And I think that all leaders feel pressure to to espouse these desires, a desire to look good, be right. Avoid problems and get ahead. Right. I think all the all leaders kind of feel pressure To look good, be right avoid problems. get ahead, because who wants to look bad? be wrong, have problems and get past up? Well, nobody, right? Because so these desires are really easy to justify. But when we look at these desires, where's the focus? It's on ourselves. How do we look? Are we right? Do we have problems? Are we getting ahead? And these all of these desires are attached to the four negative mindsets that I focus on fixed, close prevention and inward and so many individuals, leaders, in particular, when we have these negative mindsets, these negative desires, we're effectively in self protection mode. And to go back to your original question, is when we feel stressed What's our natural inclination is to be like a turtle that pulls our head in ourselves and self protect, right? So when COVID-19 happens and all the shutdown occurs, stress goes up. Most people are inclined to actually take take on more of the negative mindsets. But what we need to do is we need to be much more intentional about our mindsets and their associated desires. So instead of having a desire to look good, we should have a desire to learn and grow, which may mean at times that we have to look bad as we're learning and growing. Instead of having a desire to be right, we should have a desire to learn and grow. Which means at times we're going to have to be wrong. Instead of having a desire to avoid problems, we should have a desire to reach goals, which generally means we're going to have to wade through problems. Instead of having a desire to get ahead, we should have a desire to lift others, which means at times we're going to have to put ourselves on the back burner. And so these four positive desires are associated with the four positive mindsets growth, open promotion, and outward at and What happens is that if we could stay with these positive desires, we're keeping our neck out of our shells, which allows us to rather be in self protection mode, be in organization, advanced mode or in contribution mode. And it just takes being intentional to get there. Well, one self awareness and then to intentionality to get there.

    John Ryan 39:22
    I love that. Thank you so much for sharing that. So, for our listeners out there are leaders at all levels, that organization, how do they start to develop those positive mindsets? Or does it begin with something like your quiz? I'm not just trying to plug your quiz here for a second. But But seriously, getting that self awareness like we've talked about a couple times throughout the training, their discussion to really know what to do next.

    Ryan Gottfredson 39:46
    Yeah, there's two things to think about. If I if I'm an organization, and I want to shift the mindsets of my people on my organization, I need to focus on mindsets as a way to shape the culture of the organization because Culture culture incentivizes these different mindsets. So if we have a really competitive culture, then people are going to be much more inclined to want to look good, be right, avoid problems and get ahead. If we have a more collaborative culture, they're going to be more inclined to learn and grow, to find truth, to reach goals and to lift others. And so one is from an organizational perspective, if I want to shape the mindsets of my leaders, I've got to shape the culture and oftentimes the incentive structures to fuel those positive mindsets. But if I'm a leader, even operating in a negative culture, that doesn't mean that I have to take on these negative mindsets. Well, to your point is we need to deepen our self awareness and we need to be intentional about these mindsets. And what I found is is that the mindset assessment that I have, again, it's free on my website if anybody wants to take this, but what it does for individuals is it brings some objectivity to to their introspection, it's kind of here's where you are relative to 10,000 other people. And then what that does, right is it makes it a little bit more concrete for them, and at least gets us a foot in the door for making the shifts that we need to internally, to become the person that we want to be to our external world. And so it's definitely a foot in the door. It's one tool that's designed to deepen our self awareness. And then there's some other resources involved that people take the assessment that where they can hear some activities they can engage in, if they want to work on shifting their mindset.

    John Ryan 41:38
    Fantastic. Dr. Ryan, thank you so much for being here and spending time with us. So would you mind sharing this? What's the best way for them to find that assessment and to stay in touch with you and to find out more about your work?

    Ryan Gottfredson 41:50
    Yeah, thanks for asking my websites the best place to go www.ryangottfredson calm you'll see a link really quickly to the free mindset assessment. If you want to Do some deeper mindset work. Of course, on my website, you'll find my book and I have a bunch of free promotional giveaways. I've got a tool called a digital mindset coach, which are designed to be regular interventions designed to activate and exercise these positive mindsets. And I've got an online course called high octane mindsets for the people that really want to do some deep, transformational work. So that's the best place to go. Next Best place would be if you want to connect with me, LinkedIn is probably the social media network where I'm the most active.

    John Ryan 42:31
    Wonderful. Thanks again so much, and congratulations on all your continued success.

    Ryan Gottfredson 42:36
    Yeah, thanks for having me on, john, and thanks for the great questions. Thank you.

    John Ryan 42:40
    To connect with Ryan again, check out www.ryangottfredson comm I'll put links in the show notes and until next time, develop yourself empower others and lead by example. Thanks for listening to key conversations for leaders with your host John Ryan. If you enjoy the show, be sure to subscribe and please let us know. Give us a rating or write a review, if you have a question, send me an email to, if you haven't already, connect with me on twitter @keyconvo or on LinkedIn under JohnRyanLeadership

    John Ryan

    Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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