How your state of mind affects your productivity

emotions leadership success

Before starting her own training business Anna Gross spent a decade as a tax adviser and business development consultant for Fortune 500 companies and high net worth individuals.

Now she has found her passion for coaching and training. She works with ambitious and determined executives around the world who are ready to unleash their full potential and create a change and a potentially a new direction in their career and life.

We are talking with her about the role emotions play in leading and succeeding.


What role do our emotions play in the corporate world?

We face numerous challenges everyday and we need to learn how to successfully respond to them both at work and in our personal life. When we are under pressure in the workplace or face a conflict, we may find ourselves ruled by our emotions and later discover that our state of mind was far away from being productive.

Recent studies done by A. Caillet, J. Hirshberg, and S. Petti published in the Harvard Business Review showed a clear link between the state of mind and the performance at work. Participants who participated in the survey were able to recognize emotions that create a productive state of being and an ineffective state of mind.

Participants to the survey identified specific emotions they feel when they are productive.

They reported feeling calm, happy and energized when they are in their most productive state. They revealed that when they are frustrated, anxious, tired or stressed they have a hard time producing at work.

Thus, your ability to manage your state of mind as important as your qualification.

My Story:

I know what living in a dull state feels like. Before I launched my own training business I spent nearly a decade as a tax adviser and business development consultant for Fortune 500 companies and high net worth individuals.

I traveled all over the world for work and could afford any luxury I wanted. Yet, I was unhappy and this made me realize that I had to change my personal and professional life. When I would stop to think about how happy I was in life, I’d rate my life. I was living at five or six but I wanted to live at a 10 at all time. I was craving more passion, adventure, and personal connection. I knew there was a larger purpose for me and I wanted to find it.

After a divorce, I transitioned to a new corporate position and dived my head into personal development. Soon, I began exploring my dreams and feelings and transform them into bigger possibilities for myself. Now I am happily married again, I became a mom and run my coaching and training company.

My experience of going through two major changes in my life lead me to the realization that I want to guide others to do the same. Everyone can create a change in their career and life. I was able to move through an emotionally painful period and discovered how to turn my negative emotions into positive ones. From being stuck I was able to go forward a brighter and more successful future.


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3 reasons why we should pay an attention to the state of our mind

During any difficult time, we have two choices: we can either react to what is happening or recognize that we can grow through this challenging situation. My experience has brought me to the understanding of three major points, which I want to share with my readers:


  • Our beliefs and the way we are thinking affect how we feel and, thus, affect our internal state of mind.


When we know how to control our beliefs, thoughts, and feelings, we are able to stop blaming circumstances and take responsibility for our lives. When we believe this world is the safe place to live in, we are more open, friendly and more likely to approach others. On another hand, when we believe, that this life can hurt us, we tend to close ourselves off to people and new experiences and often stay in a bad mood and put blame on others for our own circumstances.


  • Our body reacts to the internal triggers.


Confident people walk with a straight back and open chest. People in negative states tend to walk with their shoulders rolled forward and walk with their head down. According to the scientific studies, our thoughts and feelings have an impact on the state of our bodies and vice versa – our physical state influences on how we think and feel. For instance, Amy Cuddy’s research shows how our body posture influences our state of mind.


  • Our mind does not distinguish between what is real and what is imagined.


When you create a portrait of yourself and truly believe in it, it becomes your driver either for fulfillment and success or anxiety and depression. Also if you believe in your fear it will appear in reality for you. Dr. David R. Hamilton discusses this in his article.

Thus, if you want to change your life you need to change your deeper beliefs. Change how you think about yourself and your life. Change how you feel about your body and and how you hold your body. Use your imagination to create a positive and brighter future rather than being stuck in the negative spiral that puts you down through beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.


How to change your state of mind?

When you feel a lack of motivation, for instance, I want you to become aware and recognize that motivation is a state of mind and somewhere in the past you have experienced it. Think of a time when you were feeling motivated. Things that you were doing and the way how you have done them were just right for you, and your natural abilities just flowed. Everything you wanted to achieve just happened and your mind and body were congruent* with how you felt.


* Congruence is a state of total alignment with ourselves in all aspects of who we are and what we are doing. You might have heard sports people talking about the flow state.  

Imagine standing outside of yourself, being an observer of the situation and have a look, feel and listen to your feelings at this time. If someone would see and hear you in this state, what would they tell about you? If you want others to know how you looked, felt and sound at that state what would you tell them?


How to know if you are living in a positive or negative mood?

Are you in a bad mood?

Do you wish you had a different job?

Are you isolating yourself after work because you feel drained?

If you answered YES to the above three questions, your mood can be classified as negative. It’s important that you recognize your actions first in order to change them.

Here is a checklist to review to help you know if you are out of alignment:

– you feel a tension in your facial muscles or your body.

– your body posture is asymmetrical.

– you point to mistakes of other people.

– you use words “must”, “try”, “should”.

– you emphasize situation by using such expressions as “I don’t want”, “not”, “never”, “I can’t”.

– you feel moody, anxious, frustrated or stressed.

– you have hesitancy in the voice.

Do you get excited for those around you?

Are you feeling grateful and at peace when you get up in the morning?

Is exercising something you look forward to?

If you answered YES to the above three questions, you can classify your state of being as positive!

And, you are in the congruent state if:

– your facial muscles are relaxed and your body too.

– your body posture is symmetric.

– you start with yourself before pointing to others.

– you use such words as “I choose to”.

– you emphasize the situations by using such expression as “I want to”, “I really like”, “I can”.

– you feel excited, focused, clear on what you want.

– you use active language when you speak.  

Now you become aware that you can choose what state of mind to live in – to be stuck or find a way out of your situation.


Is it enough to simply imagine that something is good?

Imagination can help you to create a desired state of mind, but you also need to work with your core beliefs and hidden emotions as these might prevent you from reaching the results what you want. I had to transform my beliefs about life, partnership, money in order to be able to create the lifestyle and business that I want.

It’s common that some clients come to me knowing exactly what is holding them back. In most cases, it’s a childhood experience. The majority of my clients experiences an aha moment when they discover a parallel between their current challenge and a situation to their past or childhood.  

Thus, to improve your life and career dramatically, you have to do more than read a smart self-help, psychology or leadership book. It is essential to work on core beliefs, thoughts, and feeling. Once limiting beliefs, feelings and thoughts are removed, the old patterns disappear and we are able to create a better and more fulfilling future.