Mindset and Belief Systems
We all have mindsets and belief systems that proved useful in the first half of life. I am squarely in the second half of life and that mindset no longer works for me.
Over the last couple of years, many of my mindsets and belief systems have been challenged.
My wife and I have been living in Ajijic, Mexico for almost 2 years. In fact, we will be celebrating our 2nd anniversary of living in Mexico on June 23rd of 2020. Both of us are very happy to be here even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out my podcast episode called My Life in Mexico during the COVID-19 Pandemic [Podcast].
This has caused a big mindset shift, but more on that later.
A mere four years ago, I would have never thought I would be leaving Austin, TX where my wife and I have lived for the last 40+ years. I believed that we would be living in our condominium, a short distance from downtown, for at least another 10 years.
Then a number of things happened that challenged me to look at why I was doing things the way I was.
Note: This post was originally published in July of 2018 and was updated in June of 2020.
In late 2016, I was introduced to the book Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud. You can read my full review of the book here.
My favorite quote from the book is:
“Whether we like it or not, endings are a part of life. They are woven into the fabric of life itself, both when it goes well, and also when it doesn’t. On the good side of life, for us to ever get to a new level, a new tomorrow, or the next step, something has to end. Life has seasons, stages, and phases. For there to be anything new, old things always have to end, and we have to let go of them. Infancy gives rise to toddlerhood and must be forever shunned in order to get to the independence that allows a child to thrive. Later, childhood itself must be given up for people to become the adults that they were designed to be.”
I know a lot of you have done a lot of soul-searching during the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. I wrote about this in the post Has the CoronaVirus Altered Your Perspective on Life?
As we all move to the next phase of life, what things should end so that new things can begin?
Why am I Still in Austin?
It got me thinking – why am I still in Austin? Other than my wife, I have no family in Austin. My business is virtual and I work with clients all over the world. Although I do have a network in Austin, most of the people I regularly speak and interact with are not in Austin.
Why was I still here? I did not have a good answer. Austin has become very expensive and the city is growing by 150 people every single day. Traffic has grown dramatically. It is not the sleepy government/university town that I moved to in the late 1970s.
The city had changed, but my mindset and belief systems had not changed with it.
In the last couple of years, my wife and I have traveled back to Austin about every 6 months. We notice the changes each time and wonder – has the city changed or has our mindset changed? I believe it is a combination of both.
Health Insurance and Healthcare
In October of 2016, we received our rate increase notice for our health insurance from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas. It was an eye-popping 50% increase which made us rethink this entire area of our lives.
My wife has endocrinological issues that were treated fairly inexpensively – that is, until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) disallowed us from the private health insurance market. I stayed employed in the private and public sector for years just so we could get health insurance from an employer.
I have had to rethink and re-imagine how we would get healthcare and pay for it.
Ever since that time, my mindset and belief systems have been challenged. You can read more about this in my recent post, The Looming Healthcare and Insurance Catastrophe for Baby Boomers.
I did not think that when we looked at moving to Mexico that my wife would be thrilled with the doctors she would find here. My wife is a formerly registered nurse (RN) which makes her a total pain in the butt patient. 🙂
As we watched with much dismay what is going on in the US and the COVID-19 pandemic, we are happy that we are living in the state of Jalisco of Mexico. You can read more about COVID-19 in Mexico here. The state of Jalisco has an extremely low rate of infection as I write this but…that can always change!
Business and Economic Climate
I launched Career Pivot in 2012 when we were still clawing out of the great recession. My target audience was baby boomers who were struggling to recover from the second major recession in the last 10 years. Many saw that retirement was no longer a possibility, or like myself, have no real desire to retire like our parents did.
A lot has changed since I launched the business. The economy today is growing at a rapid rate, but at the same time, creative destruction has accelerated. I have had multiple clients who have seen their industry change so much that they no longer fit in, or their industry just simply went away. I wrote about this in the post Living in a “Career Disaster Area” at the Age of 65.
Even though the economy appears to be booming, it is not booming for everyone. Many boomers are being left behind in this economy. I wrote about this in my post Full Employment is Here Except For Baby Boomers.
Our finances and investments have done very well before our move, and with our move to Mexico, our expenses have been cut dramatically. I have started to look at my business model of one-on-one coaching.
I have rapidly reached the point where the people who can afford my services are not the people who most need my services. This is why I have formed the Career Pivot Community. I am totally rethinking about how I might be able to help my target market.
I have had to step back, challenge my thought process, and ask, “Why am I doing what I am doing, and for whom?”
This shift in my mindset has been pretty dramatic.
As we experience the COVID-19 pandemic, this mindset shift has made experiencing this crisis so much easier. I have gone from having a fixed mindset to having a growth mindset.
Fixed versus Growth Mindset
I know many of you have what is referred to as a fixed mindset versus having a growth mindset. The quote I love from the linked article is this:
People in a fixed mindset believe you either are or aren’t good at something, based on your inherent nature, because it’s just who you are.
People in a growth mindset believe anyone can be good at anything because your abilities are entirely due to your actions.
I have a growth mindset. We arrived in Ajijic, Mexico in June of 2018. Our plan was to find a long-term rental property and return in January to live full time. Well…we discovered that simply will not work.
Rental properties are snatched up quickly. It is a hot market for long and short-term furnished houses and apartments. On top of that, the high season is October through March when snowbirds descend on the North Shore of Lake Chapala.
Our Plan was Flawed – in Fact, Horribly Flawed
In the past, I might have continued for several more months trying to find something that would be available in January.
Instead, we adapted and pulled together funds (all in cash) to put a deposit on a 2 bedroom, 2 bath furnished apartment with off-street locked parking, and a courtyard for $950 a month. Rates had gone up a lot in the last 2 years. Waiting was not an option. We followed the Nike slogan Just Do It.
We took possession on September 3rd of 2018 and returned to Austin in late September 2018 to handle all of the details of renting out our condo there. This will include selling and giving away a lot of “stuff” and putting a little bit in storage. This was 3+ months sooner than planned. Our condo was rented shortly after we left.
My wife and I adapted to the situation and changed our mindset and belief systems. Listen to the podcast I produced in September of 2018 called Marc’s Update – Pulling the Plug and Moving to Mexico [Podcast]
2 Years as an Expat
My mindset and belief systems have continued to adapt in the last couple of years as an expat. Please read my post My Life after an Amazing Two Years as a Digital Nomad.
I continually amaze myself just how comfortable I have become living in a foreign country, even during a global pandemic. The ups and downs of the financial markets since the pandemic started has not fazed me in the least. I have made rational decisions in the last couple of years that have shielded my assets and my emotional well-being. The move to Mexico has made this possible.
Have Your Mindset and Belief Systems Stopped You?
I want you to question whether your mindset and belief systems are holding you back.
The COVID-19 pandemic is touching just about everything in our economy and society. There will be a new normal. Will you shift your mindset and belief systems to the new normal?
What is your next step and what is stopping you from taking it?
Starting in March of 2020 all of us have been living in a world filled with uncertainty. This is stressful.
I find these shifts to be very stressful, but that has never stopped me.
What is stopping you?Marc Miller
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Peter in Brisbane here. It strikes me that the “establishment” in western countries seems intent on increasing the cost of living and not working for the people to make life affordable. The bigger the cities grow the more they become unaffordable and unliveable through more traffic, increased costs (power costs are teh big issue here because the LEFT have been pushing for renewables and no new coal fired power stations so we now have blackouts in our major southern city (Melbourne). It is an unreported story here that an unknown number of Australians move / retire to SE Asia because it is more affordable (and warmer) than many parts of Australia. For now Brisbane, is an OK city but in 20 or 30 years it could be a different matter if the growth isn’t reduced or stopped but it seems politicians or the people in power (well that is the unelected public servants – well that is a joke ….servants Haha) want growth at all costs. I have come to conclusion that Australia is now just a place to make money and then you have another home overseas and the money you make here you spent by traveling to Europe etc.
I look at the USA and think that it is in many ways quite dysfunctional at the provision of basic services. But it has the very BEST and the very WORST of all things. Why is the wealthy country in the world unable to look after all its citizens?
It is true – you cannot stand still – you have to keep moving forward with ideas and heaps of critical thinking on what really makes sense in life. I sometimes think what would a Roman have done (who was like us but removed from all the social media stuff, dross TV, flash news, left leaning national bradcasters etc). That is, looking at the bigger picture.
Good luck, Marc and keep on blogging.
PS I don’t normally respond to blogs that come across my emails. Feel privileged. Happy to converse. This ways seems all one way and disconnected.