By Katherine Adamek Special to OnMilwaukee Published Feb 10, 2019 at 11:01 AM

Did you know that the most successful teams, businesses and relationships show a positivity ratio of 5:1? That means that for every five positive interactions there is one negative. The closer that ratio gets to 1:1 the more likely a team, business, or marriage is to fail.

Performance Mindset doesn’t just mean chasing your goals at work or in your sport. Performance Mindset also means actively engaging in the mastery process. Engaging in the mastery process means building and creating an environment that you can be happy in.

True happiness doesn’t come from the tangible things we hope to accomplish. It comes from having a process that allows us to learn, grow and evolve into the best version of ourselves at work, life and home.

Circles of Identity

We all have roles in life that we personally identify with. These roles are separate from each other, but do overlap in the way that we tend to carry habits from one role into another. Remember the last time you were feeling overwhelmed at home and took that stress with you to work? How about vice versa?

Overlapping circles isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s totally normal. It only becomes a bad thing when a negative thinking pattern becomes so overwhelming that it’s no longer productive. A good example is that never-ending to-do list.

To-do lists allow us to track our productivity and stay on top of tasks we’ve identified as important. This can be helpful, but it can also be overdone when we start to feel as though our self-worth and happiness is somehow related to the number of items we check off the list. When you carry this way of thinking home with you it can feel like the only way to earn love and acceptance from your family is to be constantly productive and continually checking things off of your list.

Fortunately, I’m here to tell you that nobody at home cares about your to-do list! What makes your family feel happy and successful comes from you spending time with them.

Letting go of the to-do list in order to be present and happy is not a mainstream way of thinking. But if the mainstream way of thinking worked, wouldn’t we all be a lot happier by now? Instead of expecting new results with the same old patterns of thinking, try developing your Performance Mindset Skills to use a new, positive thinking pattern that you can carry with you everywhere you go.

Self-Love and Self-Compassion

The most effective way to practice a new, positive thinking pattern is to practice self-love and self-compassion. I know I just took a sharp left toward the soft, mushy side of performance mindset, but hear me out.

When you make a mistake what is the first thing you’re most likely to think to yourself? If you’re like me it’s something along the lines of, "How could I let this happen?! Why didn’t I see this coming? Why didn’t I know better? I suck!"

Hopefully you’re laughing because it’s easy to see that that way of thinking isn’t true or helpful. It’s me taking failure personally, instead of taking it as an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s frustrating to learn lessons the hard way, but being aware of past mistakes is the only way to avoid making them again in the future. This is self-love and self-compassion.

Learning from Mistakes

When is the last time you made a mistake and found that you just couldn’t get over it? Did ruminating on the past cause you to feel depressed? Did projecting the fear of making that same mistake into the future cause you to feel anxiety?

Imagine that same mistake as if someone else had made it. What would your reaction be? Would you immediately start thinking bad things about that person? No. You would encourage them, help them identify the root of the problem, and then help them find a solution. Why is it so easy to do this for others and yet so difficult to do for ourselves?

Allowing ourselves the grace and space to make mistakes feels soft. It feels weak. It feels like we can’t forgive ourselves for our short-comings. Otherwise, how would we motivate ourselves?

Consider this … what if the motivation to be better came from an internal drive to embrace the mastery process? To accept that failure is not final, nor is it fatal. In fact, it is inevitable. Thinking of failure in this way releases the grip of fear that we commonly attach to it. To move forward from your mistakes and get back to the mastery process, follow these steps

1. Give Yourself the Benefit of Doubt

Imagine the obstacle you’re facing (no matter what circle it’s in) as if it was an obstacle for someone else. Use this broadened perspective to give yourself advice as if you were giving it to a friend.

2. Offer Yourself Love and Compassion

Now, think of someone you love. If that person were to make a mistake, how would you want them to be treated? With harsh criticism or with compassion and respect? You are someone’s loved one. Treat yourself with compassion and respect.

3. Take Action Moving Forward

The worst part of making a mistake is not actually the mistake. It’s the constant replay of the mistake over and over again in your mind. Look at your mistake as an opportunity to learn something you didn’t know before. Decide what you can do better next time and keep moving forward.

Take Performance Mindset Home with You

As with all things that are worthwhile, embracing the mastery process will be tough and it will take practice. Somedays you will succeed and somedays you will fail, but you will always have the opportunity to keep learning and to keep moving forward.

Pick something easy to start with. Something simple like, "I won’t be mean and judgmental (to myself or others) the next time I miss trash day."

Then try something harder like, "I will learn the lesson and get back to the mastery process next time I make a mistake."

Finally, apply this way of thinking to others. When someone you love makes a mistake, offer them the same love and compassion that you hope they would show to you when you make a mistake.

If all else fails follow this simple instruction:

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
- The Dalai Lama

Katherine Adamek Special to OnMilwaukee
Katherine Adamek is a 2x Olympic Medalist and Performance Coach based in Milwaukee. She offers private coaching as well as group workshops to develop mental toughness skills like focus, resilience and confidence to improve performance.