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Change Your Mindset, Change Your World

Commercial excellence and mindset coach Mark Nicholson learned his first mental resilience lessons at a very young age and in unusual circumstances. Later in life, when some of his beliefs about the world were proving unhelpful, he discovered he could retrain his brain to perceive the world differently. This change in perception also changed his behavior patterns for the better. In his work Mark helps teams and individuals in ING become more aware of how their fixed patterns of thinking have an impact on the results they are getting, and helps them to adopt a stronger, more resourceful way of interpreting and responding to the quickly changing world in which we live.

Commercial excellence and mindset coach Mark Nicholson on how your interpretation of the world shapes your response to it

Key insights

  • Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t: As a young child, Mark was sent to boarding school, where he was very isolated and bullied mercilessly. His father’s advice was to focus not on his peers’ bullying (over which he had no control) but on his response to the bullying (over which he had full control). This stoic piece of advice was Mark’s first lesson in mental resilience.     

  • Focusing on what you can control applies to businesses, too: By focusing on doing whatever you can do to contribute to the result you wish to achieve, you stand a better chance of achieving it. You cannot force your client, or child, to behave in the way you want them to, but you can at least increase your chances of them heading in that direction. This is a skill you can always continue to refine and improve, as long as you are willing to assess, honestly, how well you are doing.

  • You can retrain your brain on how you perceive the world: Notwithstanding the above advice, the early years of isolation and bullying drove Mark to build a protective, emotional wall around himself. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) helped him understand his interpretation of the world as an insecure environment and the unhelpful behaviours this provoked in him. CBT taught Mark that by changing his interpretation of the world, he could change his behaviour.

  • Our behaviour is driven by deep-set, long standing patterns of thinking: Your thinking patterns govern your responses to the world. Closely examine your automatic thinking patterns and you stand a greater chance of being able to change your response.

  • The fear of failure stands in the way of success: Life is full of unsuccessful attempts. It is the interpretation of these unsuccessful attempts as failure that stops people from trying again. Becoming aware of the internal dialogue in your head that holds you back is the first step on the way to positive change.

  • Win-learn-change is an example of a different – and more helpful – framework of thought: Instead of thinking in absolute terms of success and failure, you can think of the less successful experiences as a chance to learn and improve your act, instead of repeating mistakes over and over again. This way of thinking bypasses the emotional load associated with the word ‘failure’.

  • The COVID-19 crisis has shaken us out of our set ways of looking at the world: Our brain operates in patterns to minimize energy waste, but COVID-19 has thrown us out of our usual patterns. We feel uncomfortable with the situation and are forced to contemplate why we find it uncomfortable. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to assess how you perceive the world and how you respond to it… to create a new world for yourself, now that you have increased awareness.

  • A good personal coach challenges your typical thinking patterns and reminds you of your abilities when you are too scared to take action: Where your imagination predicts failure and stops you in your tracks, a coach reconnects you with your innate resources and encourages you to go the extra mile and reach out further.

Dive deeper

Can you do what Martin can?

To help you keep your energy levels high and stay positive throughout your day it is essential to take breaks regularly. To help you get more out of your downtime, Martin Pet, a seasoned sport and performance psychologist and physiologist, will challenge you to perform a wide range of exercises that will do just that.

Martin Pet shows you an exercise that’s all about balance. Can you do this without tipping over?
Find out how he does it and why
In today’s video Martin gives us an easier start-up variation, next to the real challenge. For many of us the second part in this video will be quite a step on the road already. However, with a little bit of strength and balance I should be able to balance my body on my hands, shouldn’t I? Well, let’s figure it out. This and many of the ‘micro-break exercises’ may not be easy going from the start, however keep in mind why you do them in the first place. They are about creating better health, mood and performance, both privately and professionally. It’s the process that counts in the first place and maybe, just maybe one day you might be able to do them all.

About the crew member

Mark Nicholson • Commercial excellence and mindset coach at ING
Mark Nicholson

Mark studied at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, passing out as a young officer and becoming an Armoured Reconnaissance troop leader in the British army. This experience deepened his understanding of the impact of mindset on performance. After working in advertising and marketing, Mark moved into coaching and trained in mindset, teamwork, performance and leadership with rogenSi. With over 15 years of experience in helping teams and individuals perform at their best, he currently leads a change initiative at ING to drive commercial excellence across the global platform.

Your journey until now


Change Your Mindset, Change Your World

Commercial excellence and mindset coach Mark Nicholson about growing through your mindset

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