Part 1—Kieran Lenahan: How to Develop a Healthy Mindset
Mindsets help you achieve your goals and operate a better business. Best of all, they help you accomplish them in less time. In this episode, guest host Kieran Lenahan gives tools to build an effective Christian company through the lens of mindset building. He goes into both the ancient principles found in the Bible as well as the science required to be successful in this regard.
Kieran has a decorated career in non-profit, startup and corporate management. He is an iPEC certified business coach and owner of Lenahan Coaching; a firm which helps business owners win in the arena of time management. When he’s not coaching, he spends his time with family and fighting homelessness at Covenant House, where he is as an associate board member.
This episode covers the topics of Kingdom business, mindsets, mind over matter, Bible, prayer, coaching, and healthy thinking habits.
Welcome to break a special weekly series of the eternal entrepreneur. It gives you bite-size pieces of wisdom on how to build a functional faith and business. Each episode impacts a short, actionable topic you can put into practice this week. Let's get into it. Hey, he turned entrepreneur is Pierce Brantley.Pierce Brantley:
Here we have a special lunch break episode for you, which comes from a new version of the show called the partnership series. And these limited edition series, we partner with great minds from our interviews to bring you business content. You won't find anywhere else this way, you can hear both their story and the strategies they use to run successful companies. Today's lunch break is from Kiran Lenahan. He runs letterhead coaching, which helps Christian entrepreneurs succeed in business. Without sacrificing their health, family, and faith. We loved having Karen on the show before, and we know you enjoy them today, as they unpack the subject of mindsets, let's get into it.Kieran Lenahan:
So just a quick introduction to me. I am first and foremost, the follower of Jesus. I'm also a husband and a dad. I have a one and a half year old foster son and a five month old biological daughter. I'm a big fan of sports, both watching and playing and business-wise and in the. Work setting. I am a mindset and business coach. My background is originally in organizational leadership, psychology understanding human behavior. And I also have experience in both the nonprofit startup and most recently the corporate world. But now I work with Christian business owners, primarily one to five person service-based businesses. And I helped them grow their business while spending more time with family and growing closer to God. So now that you have a little bit of context on who I am, let's jump into the series. I'm super pumped about it. So in this series, we're going to dive really deep into mindset, which is a topic. I personally love and have obviously built a business around it and built much of my life study in the time and effort that I spend around this topic. But this is one where I see so much alignment between the ancient wisdom of the Bible and modern science. That's now kind of catching up. Mindset has also dramatically impacted my life. Personally. It's improved my marriage and other relationships. It's helped me grow my business over five times over the past year. And it's also the common denominator that you find in the most influential people in history. Typically what separates them is the way that they think. And so. From this series. And a specifically from today, I want you to walk away with a very clear and simple understanding of what mindset is because it's becoming a huge buzz word. What is it? Why is it important? And then equip you with some specific examples of how this applies to your business and how you can use it. To become a better business owner and achieve whatever your goals are related to growing the business, doing it in less time, whatever that looks like for you. I want to give you the tools to be able to do that through a mindset lens. Let's not waste any time. Let's jump right in mindset. Like I said, has become a huge buzzword and it's important that we're all working off of the same definition for the next couple of episodes. You know, when I say the word mindset, so what is it. Oxford defines mindset as the established set of attitudes held by someone. So in layman's terms, mindset is just the thoughts that you think over and over a couple of other ways to describe it. You can think about mindset as the way that you think, or your thought patterns. You know, typically we think of habits as external behaviors that you can see someone do like. A habit of doing a hundred pushups a day, but mindset is like your thought level habits. So it's your typical perspective, your typical way of thinking. It's certainly related to self-talk and how you talk to yourself inside your own head can reveal aspects of your mindset. And then the last thing that I'll share is Stephen Covey in the seven habits, seven habits of highly effective people refers to. Mindset as a paradigm, a way of seeing or thinking about and understanding the world. So a couple of attributes that I think are important about mindset mindsets are not static or fixed, or 100% determined at birth. These are things that we learn they're fluid and they can change, and they do change on the flip side of that. It's not just something that you can change. Willy nilly. We're talking about. Habits thought level habits and patterns that have been around and been with us since our childhoods. And so they've been reinforced many, many times. So in order to make changes to it, it takes a lot of awareness. It takes intention and an effort. To shift them. So again, just like with habits, the more often you do something, the more natural it becomes, the faster you can do it. So the more you sh more often you shoot a basketball, the more effortless it becomes. The more often you have a certain thought, the more natural it becomes and the faster your brain can think it. So for example, the more often that you think I'm bad at marketing or. I'm bothering people whenever I post on social media, the more you think that the more effortless it becomes to think like that to the point where it can then become part of your identity when you think it and believe it over and over and over again over time. And so that's the principle that, that we'll get into much later, but I wanted to at least mention that here. So the last thing I'll say, kind of around the. Origin of mindset or kind of the idea of it is that it is influenced by our families of origin. It's influenced by how we grew up our school system systems, our friends, the surrounding culture, all of these things contribute to the way that we see the world in the way that we think about things. So before going any further or talking about anything else, I think we should always start with why and ask the question. Why is mindset important? Why should you as the listener care? Right. We just talked about what mindset is. So hopefully we've got a common definition, but why is this actually important? Why does this matter? So a couple of reasons, the first reason I'll give is that. Number one, it is in the Bible. It's something that God clearly cares about. We see it referred to many times and I'll give a couple examples here. So from Romans 12, do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That's why probably the more common one that you hear about, but there are some others as well from Philippians. Paul says finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true noble, right? Whatever is pure, lovely admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things in Ephesians, you were taught with regard to a former way of life to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self. Create it to be like God, in true righteousness and holiness, a couple last examples from Corinthians in Colassians. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. And we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. And in cautions set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. There are a bunch more examples that we could pull from, but I'll stop there. First point it's something that's important. It's something that we should pay attention to and care about. Second reason. Why is mindset important? It affects everything that you do, and then sounds maybe a bit crazy or both to say, but your mindset affects everything that you do, and it affects the bottom line of your business, how you approach your relationship with God, how you relate to other people, how you lead others. And as we'll talk about. It affects every behavior that you've ever engaged in. And if you think about it, any building product law, business, any object that ever existed and was created first started out as a thought in somebody's head before it became a real thing. There is so much power that comes from our thoughts. And so. Let's make this relevant to your business, right? You're talking to a potential client. Your mindset is there with you. You're writing your marketing copy. You're writing emails or social posts. Your mindset is influencing the things that you're writing. If you're giving a presentation, your mindset matters and how you show up and give that presentation. And we can go on and on about the different areas of your life that your mindset shows up, but you bring your mindset with you wherever you go. You can't just take it off at the end of the day, like a jacket and hang it in the closet. It goes wherever you go. And it affects everything. The last reason I'll share as to why mindset is important. Is that not only does it affect everything, it is the one place where if you make changes here, it flows into every other area of your life. So if you think about a house that has a bad foundation, and you try fixing a bunch of things above the foundation to compensate for that issue, you would essentially be treating symptoms of the problem, but not addressing the true issue, changes at the mindset. And the identity level are lasting changes. That is where sustainable change. Comes from so mindset is underneath behavior. It comes before behavior. So if you were to think about religious behavior modification, AKA obeying God from a place of fear, a fear of punishment versus a heart that's been changed by the gospel and somebody who actually wants to obey from love and from gratitude and wants to offer their life as a sacrifice to God. Right. That is the difference between just trying really hard and using motivation and willpower to do something versus having a mindset and an identity that is allowing you to do the things that you do. So. God says it's important. It affects everything you do in your entire life, but especially in your business. And it's the one place that if you focus on making changes here, it's going to impact and improve every other area of your life. So it sounds crazy. I'm not exaggerating. It is that important. And this is actually the reason why the coaching industry is blowing up right now. And why so many people are flocking to it because. There is an incredible amount of impact that this work can have. And so that's why my life was transformed by this work. My clients lives as well. This is really powerful stuff. Especially when it's built on top of the gospel as the true foundation. So I want to wrap up this intro episode again, I'm kind of teeing some things up here for the next couple of weeks. I wanted to make sure we're all kind of operating from the same place. Let's wrap this episode up with a personal example from my life, and then by giving you a super practical way and framework to think through, okay, well, how do I identify my mindset? What does that even look like? So personal example, I'll try to be pretty quick with this. In third grade, I distinctly remember sitting in a classroom teacher, asked the question and I raised my hand to give an answer to the question. It turns out the answer that I gave was wrong and I was immediately mortified. I was kind of drilled into that. Being smart, going to school, working hard, doing all your homework, like these were all good things. And so I prided myself on kind of knowing things and being smart. When I got this answer wrong, I felt this tightness and this weight and kind of like this darkness, like overcome me where I felt so embarrassed. And I felt like everybody in their heads was just like staring at me saying, how could he get that wrong? How could he be so stupid? And that one experience. Turns out. I didn't know this for decades, but it turns out that one experience I carried with me. All the way into my corporate career, through my college career into the workplace, to the point where I would be sitting in meetings, afraid to speak up, afraid to offer my opinion, because I had this thought that I didn't know was operating in the back of my head that said, don't take a risk. Don't speak up unless you are 100% sure that you're going to be right, because you don't want to look or sound stupid. That thought was. Affecting me in every single meeting, I went to every presentation that I gave and it created so much anxiety. It created so many situations where I held back what I brought to the table and the value that I can offer. Because I was so afraid of sounding stupid. And so, yeah, that's one example of a thought, a recurring mindset that I was operating from that was holding me back in really tangible ways. So let's, let's give another example. And I'll, I'll share plenty of examples throughout the series, but let's walk through an example using a framework. That is called the model. It was created by the founder of a coaching school. It's rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, which is, has been for the past couple of decades seen as kind of the most effective therapeutic strategy. But this is a tool that I use with my clients and that I actually use for myself when I am not in a good head space. And so here's the basic outline of the framework circumstance thought. Feeling action results. Right? So there's five stages. There's a circumstance. You have a thought about that circumstance based on what you think about the circumstance. That brings up a feeling. And from that thought, and from that feeling that you have, you decide to take an action. And then of course, the results that we see flow from the actions that we take. So circumstances are always neutral. These are just facts with no positive or negative value inherently. Ascribed to them. It's just a circumstance like it's raining outside, not a good or bad thing. It's just the fact. Now you interpret that circumstance through your own lens, influenced by again, your past experiences, your default thought patterns based on that thought, you're going to feel a certain way based on how you feel. You're going to take an action and based on the action that you take, you're going to create some kind of result. And so the takeaway from this framework, Is that your thoughts are actually the beginning of what creates your results, not your circumstances and the situation that you find yourself in a circumstance in and of itself cannot make you feel a certain way or do a certain thing. It's not until you have an interpretation and a thought about the circumstance that it creates a feeling or an action. So your thoughts. Ultimately leads your results. Again, this is why mindset is important. This is why this work is impactful. So quick example, we have two people, Jake and Molly, both of them before the pandemic wanted to start a business. Both of them were currently working in a nine to five job. So that was all before pandemic. All of a sudden COVID hits Jake. We're going to run through his model. Of circumstance thought feeling action result, and then we'll run through Molly's and we'll look at the difference. So Jake wants to start a business COVID hits and his immediate thought is, wow, this is the worst possible time to start a business because he's thinking that. He feels very de-motivated to start a business. The action that he took from that was to stay in his nine to five job and just focus on doing his work there. So the result that he had at the end of 2020 was that he didn't have a business and he was still working his nine to five Molly. On the other hand, she wanted to start a business COVID hits and she says, And thinks to herself. Wow. Now is actually the perfect time to start a business because that's the thought that she has, she feels really excited and motivated to get started. She starts to market herself. She starts picking up clients. And by the end of 2020, the result that she sees is actually replacing her previous full-time income. And so. When Jake looked through the lens of it's the worst time to start a business. He, his brain kind of used confirmation bias and went and found a bunch of evidence to support that thought. Molly looks through the lens of why it's actually the best time to start a business. She was thinking things like more people are online and home and available thinking about changes they want to make in their life. Living expenses have decreased as people have moved away from cities, but have kept the same jobs. You know, people are realizing life is short and now's the best time to take action and make a change. So Molly was finding all these great reasons as to why it's the perfect time to start a business. So do you see how one thought or mindset based on the exact same circumstance can lead to a certain result, but a different thought would lead to a totally different result. Again, it's not the circumstance that determines the results that you get. It's how you react. It is the thought that you have the thoughts over the course of time that you have about your circumstances that affects the actions you take and the results that you produce. So we'll wrap this up in this episode, I wanted to give you an understanding of mindset and a framework to work with. We're going to come back to that in the coming weeks. We're going to practically apply this framework to. Ideas and aspects of your business. So we're going to talk about goal setting from a mindset perspective. We're going to talk about how mindset affects selling and marketing your business. And we're going to talk about how you think about investing in yourself and investing in your business. So next time we're going to get into goal setting. So just to tee up that episode, I want to leave you with a question or prompt. To help you become aware of, of your mindset around goal setting. So let's get very specific. What is your revenue goal for next month to the dollar? And the idea is it's, it should be a stretch goal. It should be something that is going to stretch you and cause you to grow. Now on a scale of one to 10, one being not confident at all, 10 being 100% confident. What is your level of confidence that you will hit that goal next month? Now, if your answer. Is a 10 you're either lying or it's not actually a stretch goal. That's kind of making you a little bit uncomfortable. So if you're setting a stretch goal, and if you're honest with yourself, you're probably going to be somewhere between a five and a 10, if I had to guess. So ask yourself this question and bring this next week. What is the number one reason that popped up in your head as to why. You can't be 10 out of 10, confident that you're going to reach that goal. What does that doubt, what does that fear or what does that resistance that popped into your head as to why you can't be confident in reaching your monthly revenue goal? Hold on to that. We're going to talk about that next time and we will see you then. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed the show, do me a favor and leave a quick review. And when you do it helps other entrepreneurs find this content and benefit from it. You too see you next week.