Business lessons learned: Controlling the monkeys in your mind

Over the past year, West Cork Life and Business Coach Anna Healy embarked on a personal journey to interview women in business in West Cork, hearing their stories and learning from what they shared about their businesses. In the process, she learned a lot about herself in her business too. In her series of Women in Business articles, Anna will share some of these learnings with you.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” Suzy Kassem.

As a Business Coach, I understand the power of the mind and how your thoughts can impact how you perceive yourself and your business. From my interviews with women in business, I have noticed that when asked about the challenges they experienced, low confidence and fear of not being good enough has popped up regularly. Anna Groniecka, Photographer, calls the challenging thoughts that she experienced her “mind monkeys”. 

As humans, we experience approximately 60,000 thoughts a day, a lot of them are unconscious repetitive thoughts, such as getting up and dressed (how many of us remember brushing our teeth today?), and the others are conscious thoughts, the ones that we are aware of. 

The Buddha defined it best when he said; ‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.’

So, imagine that each thought is a branch, and that the attention of your conscious mind, is a monkey, swinging from thought-branch to thought-branch all day long. This might sound like it could be fun, but a lot of the time, the thoughts that are often in our minds are concerned with the fears and pressures of life. This can cause the monkey to swing in all directions and when unchecked, go bananas, causing stress, mental and physical exhaustion. Imagine how this could impact on how you work in your business? 

We can all experience this from time to time, especially when these turbulent Covid-19 times bring a whole new set of challenges. I have experienced the mind monkeys ‘going bananas’ with my thoughts at times, these are the times when I doubt myself and my ability. If I feel overwhelmed by the task up ahead and I cannot see the wood from the trees, my mind monkeys start to go into overdrive and I find it difficult to get perspective. 

So here are five things that can help you settle the monkey mind:

  1. Self-awareness is key. Sharon Huggard, The Style Coach, reassures us “you need to know where you are so that you can make changes”. Once you work out what are the triggers that set your mind monkeys off, then you can manage these and settle the monkeys before they go wild. 
  2. Write your monkey thoughts down, sometimes when you see them written, you can make better sense of them and get some perspective.
  3. Anna Groniecka reminds us that “you can’t please everyone…when I doubt myself I have this (signed wall poster) to remind me that there are people who think I can do it”. Set your own boundaries around how you respond to others comments. What others say about you is none of your business, it can be a challenging lesson to learn but a good one to master. 
  4. Surround yourself with supportive people, Anna Groniecka advises that “sometimes we are our own worst enemy….call your friends and talk about it”.
  5. Try some mindfulness or meditation. Meditation practices will help your monkey to settle and redirect the mind to more positive thoughts.

Be gentle with yourself and remind yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take pride in the little wins each day and these can help you build your confidence to keep moving in your business.

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it.” Leon Brown.

Next week I will tell you all about another key learning from Women in Business in West Cork – It is never too late to start something new.

Anna Healy is a Life and Business Coach based in West Cork. She is also the membership officer of Network Ireland West Cork branch. You can hear the ‘Women in Business in West Cork’ series on West Cork FM fortnightly on a Saturday.

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

Next Post

State-of-the-art €10 million extension approved for St. Brogan’s College, Bandon

Wed May 13 , 2020
Cork Education and Training Board has been given the green light by the Department of Education and Skills for an extension to St. Brogan’s College, Bandon, which will see the school expand to cater for 1,000 students.   Cork ETB Chief Executive Denis Leamy said this is great news for Bandon […]