Mindset — An Inside Job

Meet Gianna Di Bella. A curious and wholesome state of mind, you may know her by her last name Di Bella, but she’s much more than just a name.

In fact, if you knew Gianna back in 2002, you might have known her as the co-founder of Aussie coffee brand Di Bella. She started that company with her partner Phil Di Bella and sold it in 2015. But even though she was working in the business full time, she never lost sight of her interest in psychology. With this knowledge she decided to explore the science of the brain, and learn how a shift in a mindset can allow for a more fulfilling way of thinking and behaving.

When asked if her intentions were always to work specifically with people on Mindset and Business, she gave us an insight into her childhood: “I had a troubled childhood with my father, so I was driven to understand him and what made him do what he did ”. This motivated her to study psychology, and later work in the Mindset space “It was a very natural progression” she said.

Mindset and Positive Self Talk

Many other “gurus” talk about how mindset and positive self talk is the key to making life changes, is this really possible? Gianna comments “I’ve seen clients completely transform their lives by focusing on improving their self-talk. From my experience, I can tell you that great results come from people who can shift to and sustain a growth mindset about who they are and who they want to become.” She goes on to explain why she is so passionate about shifting people’s mindset “from uncertainty to clarity, from confusion to vision, and from procrastination to action”.

How to stay on track when faced with negativity and negative self-talk

When living a busy life with work, family, and friends, it can become “an emotional landmine, triggered by a gauntlet of negativity-criticism, anger, cynicism, judgement!” as Gianna said beautifully. As individuals we have to learn how to prevent “this army of emotinal ‘bombs’ from sapping our motivation and manipulating our moods”, to ensure we maintain a healthy lifestyle both at work and at home.

Gianna suggests Attitude Breathing, which demonstrates how choosing a different attitude in the wake of a negative trigger can completely change the emotional chain reaction. The process is described below:

Step 1 Shift your attention to your heart and solar plexus/stomach area.

Step 2 Ask yourself, “What would be a better attitude for me to maintain in this situation?” Then set up an inner attitude, such as “stay calm,” “stay neutral in this situation,” “don’t judge before you know the facts,” “make peace with this,” or simply decide what attitude is appropriate for you.

Step 3 Next, gently and sincerely pretend breathing the new attitude you want in through the heart. Then breathe it out through the solar plexus and stomach to anchor it. Do this for a while until you feel the new attitude has set in.

Another technique includes Dispute Resolution, which refers to not challenging false beliefs behind an event, the initial distortion will lead to others and a succession of bad consequences down the line. To avoid this:

– Start disputing the distortion behind the stressor event as soon as possible after it begins.

– Argue the situation as if you were an outside observer, a friend, and bring in facts and evidence that disprove the black-and-white assumptions.

– Look for changeable (you can do better next time), specific (you didn’t have enough time on that report), and nonpersonal causes for the adversity to counter limiting beliefs.

– Avoid the three P’s-explanations that are permanent (”I’m not any good”), pervasive (your failings apply to all situations), and the personal (“It must have been something I did”), which are the basis for negative thinking and the belief systems. The safeguard against the 3 Ps is to view negative events as temporary, specific, and not part of your identity.

Unconditional Self Acceptance (USA)

Gianna explains what this concept means and how she utilises it when she finds herself in a negative state of mind. “Unconditional self-awareness is a ‘mental stopping queue’ I use for myself each time I catch negative self-talk playing out in my mind. It works for me because it immediately interrupts and breaks the mental loop of limiting the mindset around ‘I’m not good enough’, which I can be prone to! This technique of ‘thought stopping’ has been used for many years to treat obsessive and phobic though”

“For this method to be powerful in the moment, “deliberately practise so you can then use it on demand when you most need it in any given situation. It involves concentrating on negative, unwanted thoughts and after a certain time, (e.g 2 minutes, best to use a timer), suddenly stopping by saying your mental queue out loud (in my case, ‘USA’). This triggers the brain to let go and empty the mind from all negative, unwanted or unpleasant thoughts. Any word can be used but it must be meaningful to you, or a loud noise also works effectively if you have particularly stubborn mental thought loops that aren’t serving you”

Staying on track in busy times, with distractions and noises

We all live in our own little worlds, but sometimes it’s hard to get out of that and see the bigger picture. Gianna is so inspiring. She has so much to offer the world, and is constantly doing amazing things. We’re sure Gianna has experienced many busy times while running and selling her business, and creating a new commune. But she always seems to come out of it all with a positive attitude and a smile on her face. How does she do it?

“Each night before I drop-off to sleep, I revise my day and think about specific events or interactions that happened. I ask myself three questions – what did I do well, what do I want to improve on, what will I do differently next time?”

“This primes my brain each day to interpret my internal stories in a skillful, generative way and helps me to see all areas of my life through the lens of growth, a constant learning journey. This is a daily practice (and I use the word practice deliberately) because we need to develop these skills intentionally so when the pressure valve is turned up, we have already developed the mental muscle to support us and carry us through, rather than crumple under pressure.”

Final Advice

Gianna is truly an inspirational leader and she is leaving some impactful messages for us to digest. She leaves one last piece of advice;

“Having a clear vision of who you want to ‘be’ will help move you towards what you want to ‘do’. A clear vision of YOU will help you stay resilient when it matters most. So, whether personally or professionally, all of us should have a vision to keep us forward focused. Looking back, I know now I couldn’t have been as successful at Di Bella, or as a mindset coach, if I hadn’t worked on myself, getting my mindset right first.

The more I coach others, the more I’ve discovered that at different points in our life we all suffer from self-defeating thought patterns brought on by stress and anxiety. This is especially true when we’re going through difficult times or we are trying to achieve big things where the path is uncertain and unpredictable.

I hope that from some of my answers above you’ll remember – You have a choice!! You can let your doubts, worry and anxiety take over or you can take full responsibility and recognise, reframe and sustain your inner stories so you can be at your best.

Remember: Education, training and experience amount to little without a skillful mindset. A skillful mindset is what gets you where you want to go. I encourage you to use some of the ideas above, so you too can be more resilient in the face of pressure or hardships.

As the ancient Philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said ‘control your mind and everything else falls into place!’”.

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