How to Master Your Mindset
4 Jul, 2024


Alvin Govender, International Performance Coach

Join me as we walk together and I teach you how to adapt your mindset to successfully ‘Master Your Mind’. Become the leader of your thoughts as we explore the powerful ways a mindset shift can change your life at work and beyond. As a public speaker and corporate coach, I’ve witnessed firsthand how emotional intelligence (EQ) can help pave the way to success. No matter what challenges come your way, it is possible to adapt and thrive.


Understanding Common Workplace Issues

It’s important to understand that everyone has issues at work. From the Executive Suite to the receptionist, everyone faces challenges at times. In my work with leading businesses over the last decade, I have had a front-row seat to big projects, restructures, promotions and takeovers. From my observations and data collection, I can assure you that the issues you grapple with at work are more common than you think, and many people are dealing with the same.

I often have to tell employers their staff are not enjoying work. Although that sounds alarming, one or two minor adjustments in how we lead people can change the entire environment and experience for employees. The way we have conversations and give feedback is important, a lack of feedback or empathy leaves employees feeling crushed when looking for validation.

“I have discovered that the leading cause of unhappiness in the workplace is not feeling valued.”

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and to be treated with respect. I urge leaders and executives to pay attention to their emotional intelligence because it has an impact on the resilience of their employees. Interestingly, when we ask managers and their employees about the management’s emotional intelligence, the feedback most often does not align. Managers are often not aware of the areas that they need to develop. In my job, EQ is crucial to what I do and I am constantly working on myself. Self-reflection is a daily practice for me – I still think that there is room for improvement.

There is a big awakening around eradicating a toxic work culture and trying to keep good employees happy, and I have witnessed in large banking and mining corporations that they have become extremely people-centric. The bigger issue is that we have leaders who are unaware of what their weakness is.

A lot of what can be misconstrued as a lack of care is someone who needs to better practice their means of communication. Often a hard thing needs to be said, but it depends on how it is approached. A good example is having a personal conversation with somebody about poor performance in a safe environment where they can speak freely versus just sending an email saying their performance was disappointing. We end with the same result, but it’s the way it’s approached that results in a different outcome. ‘Crucial conversations’ is part of every executive coaching programme, and has a massive impact on staff relations.


Navigating common roadblocks

The most common stumbling blocks in the workplace include:


This is most often a result of the ways people are managing their time and workload. People are not consciously structuring their day, so basic project management is lacking, leaving nothing left to pursue personal dreams or goals.


Depression is oftentimes due to isolation, feeling disconnected from a team or not having family around, and it’s affecting the confidence of employees.


This is the negative effect of when people are doing work but are either not getting recognised or feeling that it wasn’t good enough.

Working without a vision

People don’t often pick this up as a roadblock as we don’t realise the frustration it causes, but working without vision is harmful. When people don’t know what the reason for a project is, it feels fruitless. If they are aware of the end goal, they can align themselves with that.

The “Why?”

No matter the role, you need to ask yourself, why is this important to me? Where is the organisation going? Will I be here two years from now?

A need for peace

There is a need for calm and stillness because this is the true opposite of turbulence or adversity.

Managers need to reflect on their emotional intelligence.

“Do I have the ability to inspire my people? Am I aware of what they’re feeling, or facing?”


Transforming Roadblocks into Stepping Stones

In terms of advice, project management will address your fatigue and time management skills. But how do we address depression and isolation?

I have noticed in the past few years that there has been a powerful shift, particularly amongst leadership, with people seeking to improve their self-development. They are listening to leadership podcasts or TED Talks and practising self-awareness skills.

People often ask me for advice in building a growth mindset and the way I put it is if you ask me how to get fit or lose weight, I’ll tell you that you have to get to a gym and work on your body. The same applies to building your mind. How do you manage your thoughts? You have to be strategic, develop the right habits and take relevant action.

Experts say that the average person has between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day and most of those thoughts are repetitive, thinking the same thoughts over and over. Based on that, what’s the advice for people who are struggling to manage their minds? Let’s tune into those thoughts and practice repetition in a more positive direction.

To create a better balance in your life, do the opposite thing to what you usually find yourself doing. If you’re desk-bound the entire day, go for a walk in the afternoon. If you’re alone the whole day, surround yourself with people in the evening. Be conscious about what your needs are. If your workspace is chaotic, sit in the garden and enjoy the stillness. Aim to create balance in your life.

I always ask my executives what their goals are for their days off. Have a structure, set a goal for yourself, and invest in something worthy of your free time. One of the best tools we have is mindfulness. I think everyone’s heard of the concept, but mindfulness is defined as the art of concentrating your focus on the moment.

“In my experience, mindful people can be very busy but they will not have the harmful effects of exhaustion and burnout because they enjoy what they do.”


What does someone who has ‘mastered their mind’ look like?

The first thing you notice is that this type of person carries a presence. A magnetism. They possess good energy but also have a sense of calm that they bring to a situation. These individuals are very easily able to ground others and remind them what their focus is. They are solution-focused and able to bounce back quicker than others.

Along with resilience being a key indicator, an important attribute of a person who has mastered their mind is that they have a vision. They don’t need reminding of their focus and this is what makes them stand out. They can master challenges and access parts of their mind easily when faced with adversity.

Too often, people like this are considered to have been destined for success. But Angela Duckworth’s bestseller ‘Grit’ gives a different perspective. The New York Times bestseller details the psychologist’s view that passion and perseverance towards a singular goal takes grit, and that talent alone is not enough. The one thing we know about resilience is that it can be developed and a growth mindset can be created.

“There is a philosophy and a science-backed technique behind creating success.”

Think about how limiting it is to believe that someone is born with a set of skills you don’t have. It means you are powerless to change your situation. What it effectively does is remove the responsibility. Not only are you doing yourself a disservice, but you’re taking away from those who are successful.

Over the years, I have realised that my business growth depends directly on the way I manage myself because my business is a reflection of my thinking.

Mastering your mind is not a one-time event but a continuous journey that requires commitment, practice, and a willingness to evolve. By adjusting your mindset, you can turn roadblocks into stepping stones and achieve remarkable success.




@Alvin Govender, Awakening Leadership
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