Hard hat and goggles - Achieving mindful mindsets with massive disruption


How do you achieve ‘mindful mindsets’ in this period of massive disruption? During this COVID-19 period, a big challenge for everyone has been to remain focused, (and as someone who is used to working from home, I’ve never been so distracted with such a full house to navigate!) while keeping safety front of mind during more isolated working conditions. Without being able to rely on the extra eyes and ears of our team looking out for us, and without the usual framework of toolbox talks, debriefs and pep talks, we have to really switch on and rely on ourselves to check in on our mindsets and states before and during a shift.

As one of my clients so aptly put it, “Our minds and our attitude are the only human levers the business has to be confident that we are operating in a safe manner.“

3 steps we can all consider during our working day are Regroup, Refocus and Reset, and each step contains a toolkit to help you create Mindful Mindsets. I’ve picked out some of these tools that participants practice during my INSTINCT(C) Safety Culture program, and they will hopefully give you some ideas to use during this very surreal period to help your teams and yourselves keep your safety radar switched on.


1. Regroup

Check in on your PRESENCE. Rate how present you are, and how close to 100% is it? To help get it to 100%, you could repeat the mantra;

Where are my boots? Where my boots are, is where my head needs to be.”


Create your ‘between space’ – follow a ritual to help you leave COVID-19 distractions at the door before you start work. You could, for example, leave the distractions figuratively on a tree, or in your car, or do some exercise or call a loved one to help shift your thoughts and focus.

It can be useful to write down your percentage to hold yourself accountable – and include the action you’ll take to shift it towards 100% today. Being mindful is very different from being mind full, and I would hazard a bet that most of us fall into the latter category these days. Breathing is the hidden power we all have to help us veer towards being mindful so even by doing some conscious breathing at the start of your shift, you can help create that 100% presence you need to work safely. (Apps such as Headspace and Calm are useful resources for practising mindfulness.)


2. Refocus

Check in on your FOCUS. Make sure you’re focusing on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Say it out loud so you hear it. For example ‘Today I am present. Today I am productive. Today I’m pumped.’ This will send the message to your unconscious mind, as our brain listens to what we tell it. Keep reminding yourself what you want to be focusing on as you go through your shift.


3. Reset

Check in on your STATE – and think about what you need and how that may be affecting your mood.

  • Do you need energy? Do something to create movement (a walk, exercise, or some stretching)
  • Do you need motivation? Think of something you’re grateful for today and write it down if you can so that it sticks
  • Do you need company? You may be working solo, but get a check-in buddy you can make contact with at various points during the shift
  • Do you need certainty? You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t! One thing that can help is to ‘control the controllables’ and focus on your own circle of control.
  • Do you need normality? There is real comfort in routine in these circumstances, so make sure you stick to your favourite daily routine as much as you can
  • Do you need clarity? A clear head is a safe one. In sport, there is a concept immortalised by the All Blacks about whether or not you’re operating from a ‘Red Head or a Blue Head’ zone. If ‘Red Head’ then you’re H.O.T- heated, overwhelmed and tense. If ‘Blue Head’ then you’re cool, controlled and aware. The key is to sense the cues when entering ‘Red Head’ zone and use triggers to get back into ‘Blue Zone’, such as the ones we’ve talked about here. You can read more about this great state control concept here. http://danielcoyle.com/2014/09/25/a-mental-trick-from-the-worlds-best-team/


I hope you’re all doing ok. Stay safe


For more tips on Maintaining Mindful Mindsets, ask about my INSTINCT(C) program that up skills your Team Leaders and Front Line Leaders to facilitate a series of powerful toolbox talks which results in shifting and empowering mindsets, behaviour and performance applicable in all circumstances. Call 0420 204 982 or email deborah@deborahkeep.com.