On Mental Wealth #5: Standing at the intersection 🚦

On Mental Wealth is a weekly publication created by Anthony Ware, Principal of AWare Catalysts. It's the fusion of mental health, culture, and business based on his experiences working with Black, People of Color, Women, and LGBTQ+ aka “underestimated” startup founders from around the world. 

@PHABSTUDIO on nappy.co

Why did you cross the road?

A few days ago, I was waiting to cross the the street at an intersection in the heart of the tourist area of Santa Monica, CA. The "walk/don't walk" sign turned to "walk" and started to cross the street. After a few steps, I realized that I could walk on a diagonal straight through the middle of the intersection. Super simple, and brought a smile to my face.

My old programming almost made me blind to the fact that their were new options for me to explore. 

When I think back on that moment, I think of life as an entrepreneur. The common language used is that an entrepreneur wears many hats. I think it's more like we pass through many intersections. 

From developing our ideas to relationships with our team, investors and customers/clients, we stand at the intersection. Sometimes we are waiting, and other times we have a green light.

The challenge we have is that our minds can play tricks on us to make us doubt ourselves, be blinded from the good in our lives, or worse.

The underlying cause is what's called cognitive distortions...irrational or overblown thoughts that distort our perception of reality or ourselves in a negative way.

Examples include:

  • Filtering - For any given situation, you filter out the positive and focus on the negative...creating blind spots to the positive. This one probably impacts a high percentage entrepreneurs.

  • The Shoulds: - Exactly how it sounds. You say to yourself that you "should be" doing something. When you don't you spiral into guilt, depression, anxiety ,or a mix of all 3.

  • Personalization - When a person sees themselves as the cause what everyone else responds or reacts is do to you. Another key one for entrepreneurs. I see this one showing up with not being able to separate the value of our business with our self-worth. 

This is how your mind may be working right now, in the past, or in the future. When I learned about cognitive distortions, I was relieved because I could look back and put a name to what was happening in my past.

Now you know a little more. The leader or "Type A"  in you may want to go "all-in" to explore more. I challenge you to take a beat and only do your Mental Wealth Deposit. 

You can always do more later :)

Mental Wealth Deposit of the Week

@mayamediahq via nappy.co

Notes from Your Crosswalks

This week, you'll make time to stand in the intersections of your life, much in the same way that I had the moment in the middle of the street Santa Monica.

Here's you challenge:

  • Make time to study these cognitive distortions. They'll show up in different ways.

  • Set your timer. 5-10 minutes at the end of each and journal to see which one, if any, of the cognitive distortions bubbled up for you during the day.

  • The goal is to NOTICE, not to obsess and talk down to yourself. 

  • Celebrate the courage you have to notice yourself from a new perspective :)

Deeper Dive

20 Cognitive Distortions and How They Affect Your Life by Good Therapy Staff: This is quick summary that you can study for your Mental Wealth Deposit for this week

Cognitive Distortions, Humor Styles, and Depression by Katerina Rnic David J. A. Dozois, and Rod A. Martin: This a research study that looked at the impact of humor on cognitive distortions. Studies are great because they give links to deeper dives and sources to study. 

Who is Anthony?

I help underestimated startup founders who are struggling with imposter syndrome, or mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion, create their Mental Wealth Toolkits, so they can: get out of their own way, regain confidence, hire the right people, accept the right investors money, create generational wealth for their families, and find joy in the journey.

You can find out more about my life here.

What is Mental Wealth? Mental wealth is a key part of the foundation of the next evolution of humanity. It's the collection of intentional thoughts, behaviors, and experiences —mental wealth deposits—someone uses to make a positive impact on their mental health. These deposits have a cumulative positive effect, especially useful during times when you’re challenged with mental illnesses and external events.


This post originally appeared in On Mental Wealth, a weekly creation by Anthony Ware, Principal, AWare Catalysts.