Helping people with mindset is a big part of what I do as a business coach for ELT Freelancers. I know that more often than not, what is holding us back is not so much lack of practical business knowledge (important though that is), but confidence, fear of failure (or even success), imposter syndrome, worry about the judgement of others and other such delights.

But working on mindset is not the same thing as ‘self-improvement.’ You don’t need to become a new and better person, you’re just perfect the way you are.

Any problems you are encountering are not about your essential self; they are about the way you have adapted to what life has thrown at you.

So many people feel deep down that there is something fundamentally wrong with them, which has to be fixed (and which they fear can’t ever be fixed). I used to feel that way myself, and it’s horrible.

It’s also a crock of sh*t.

Where this feeling comes from


No-one needs fixing. But many of us hold deep set beliefs about ourselves or how we interact with others which cause us pain, or to set ourselves up for failure. This is what is meant by mindset- literally the way our mind is (currently) set.

Many of these beliefs (and related patterns of behaviour) are created in childhood. When we’re little we rely completely on our care givers not just to look after us, but also to teach us about how things work. If their world view is distorted, we pick that up too. We may well realise that something isn’t right, but we assume that the problem lies within us. That’s safer than recognising that those we completely rely on are fallible (or even toxic).

As we grow up, we may discard some of these beliefs and perspectives as we see them disproved through our own experience. However, very often we hang onto them, and subconsciously seek out experiences which will confirm their truth, and strengthen them further. 

How we reinforce these beliefs.


So, for example, if we had parents who taught us that the only way to survive is to work incredibly hard, then we will often massively under-charge and over-deliver, because that feels more ‘comfortable’ than charging what our service is really worth and being able to work fewer hours and take time off as a result.

We’ll find ‘evidence’ that we can’t possible charge more than £20.00 an hour, and if we try and charge more, we may well forget to add a call to action to our posts, or hide the offer at the end of a long post, or sabotage the attempt in other ways so we can prove to ourselves that we should stick to what we know.

So, if you’re thinking about making some changes, don’t think about how you need to change so much as what stories you are telling yourself that might actually not be true.

What amazing things could happen if you didn’t believe them?