I was raised in the South in the 1960s, when a woman’s place was in the home. If I dared to think otherwise, all I had to do was look around. Almost every kid had two parents: a father who worked and a mother who stayed home. When moms did work outside the home, it was as a nurse or teacher.

Nevertheless, my parents expected me to attend college. After college, I would marry, have children, and be a stay-at-home mother. I wanted to go along and get along, and so I mostly did what my parents expected. My mind-set was focused on three possible paths: nurse, teacher, stay-at-home mom. (I am not saying there is anything wrong with these professions if they are what you truly desire.)

As the world around me was swirling with change from the civil rights movement and the women’s movement, I felt held in place by my small community and family beliefs.

When I was a senior in high school, my worldview was challenged. Mr. Nelson, my teacher at the time served the students in my program as more of a mentor than a teacher. On one day, we sat down to talk about college choices. I had no idea it would become a day that rocked my world. He asked me what I wanted to study. My reply was simple. I didn’t like needles, so I could not become a nurse. The only option left was a teacher.

Mr. Nelson paused for a moment and then, looking directly in my eyes, said, “Young lady, if you were to go into medicine, you would become a doctor.”

I was so taken aback by his statement that I honestly don’t remember if I responded. My head was swirling with foreign ideas: Women as doctors? A career in medicine? Could that be possible? If so, what else could be possible?

Mr. Nelson had offered me an opportunity to change my mind-set. I could stick with my three choices—teacher, nurse, or stay-at-home mom—or I could expand my thinking. Over the next few weeks I took on the challenge and began exploring. I went from three choices to an infinite possibility of options. Gradually, as I opened my mind, I developed a new mind-set: women can be anything they choose to be.

I made exploring career options a new adventure, looking at a variety of avenues. However, I felt passionate about one career in particular: accounting. This passion ultimately laid the foundation for me to earn a degree in it, gain my CPA designation, and start my own business in my twenties.

I was ready for a new perspective when Mr. Nelson gently nudged me to expand my horizons. Once I did, my new mind-set was my treasure to keep.

We live in a world surrounded by people with limiting beliefs. The people who raise us—parents, caregivers, and teachers—share their limiting beliefs with us. They aren’t given to us as a choice, but rather, as a truth. We see limiting beliefs played out daily in the media, in interactions with others, in houses of worship. Pick a venue, and at least some of the time, you’ll find that a limiting belief is screaming at you.

The mind is powerful. No human has yet to harness its full power. It is only recently that science has begun to understand even the most basic ways the human brain functions.

My experience is that when I am up against a goal that I’m having a hard time meeting, it’s time to look at my mind-set. When I am super frustrated, I can choose two paths. One, to stay there and exhaust myself. Two, to stop for a moment and see the frustration as a message from the universe. Something like, “Hello, Mackey. We’ve noticed you are working really hard and are wondering if you want to relax a bit and look at your mind-set.”

Anytime you find yourself limited by a belief, take the time to ask yourself, What is the source of this belief? Is it true? Does this belief serve me in creating my most prosperous self? Is this belief some sort of arbitrary measuring stick I’ve been using to measure myself and others by? It is time to let it go?

When I am not in crisis, I know  the universe is always conspiring for my highest good. When I step back and see my problems from this perspective, every one of them becomes an opportunity. All that is needed is a shift in my perspective.

That isn’t to say that once I change my mind-set, I instantly reach my goal. However, once I align my beliefs with that goal, I am bringing the most powerful force in my command to my mission.
Your mind-set is your gift to yourself. It is a force that contains the power to exponentially expand or severely limit your prosperity. It is with you in every moment, framing your possibilities or lack thereof.

As a business owner, the single most effective thing you can do to become more prosperous is to expand your belief system or mind-set. It is impossible to rise above your mind-set. Changing it starts with brutal honesty in acknowledging what it is today.

It is my hope that as this new year and decade begins, you will take the time to expand your mindset. Start by inventorying your current beliefs. Then set a path to expand them.

To help you identify any mindset limitations that might be holding you back, my first gift to you this year is the Prosperous Mind Scorecard. Click here to reach the scorecard  Use it for yourself, with your partner, or with your team.  If you need help, reach me at Mackey@MackeyAdvisors.com

Be well and prosper,

Mackey McNeill