Limiting beliefs can keep you stuck from getting the connection, wealth, and abundance you want. Zahra Karsan, a personal Success Coach to dozens of global executives and the Founder and CEO of GetZENd, talks with Penny Zenker about the importance of adopting a productive mindset. You operate on 5% conscious mind and 95% subconscious in your daily life. Many of your limiting beliefs are subconscious. That’s why they run on autopilot in the background of your mind. To overcome them, you need to be aware of them. Face them upfront and learn risk management. Listen to this episode to discover practical tips on how you can get into a productive mindset.
Listen to the podcast here
Practical Tips On How To Have The Productive Mindset With Zahra Karsan
I’m excited to talk about mindset. You can have all the best strategies in the world, and that’s not what’s going to make you ultra-productive because it starts with mindset. Our guest, Zahra Karsan, knows and talks about it. She is passionate about it. She’s a certified mindset coaching and neuroscience expert. She’s an international public speaker as well as a trusted personal success coach to dozens of global executives. Her company is called GetZENd. She offers a suite of interactive tools that include online video training and a lot of different tools to help you get unstuck, reach your goals, and have the life experiences that you want. She’ll tell you more about herself. Zahra, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me, Penny. It’s a pleasure to be here.
What makes you passionate about mindset and why?
I would have to take you way back. I’ll go through it briefly if I may share my little story with you. I was born in South Africa during apartheid, which you can imagine is a challenging time. The US faces similar segregation challenges because of racial issues. When you’re little, you’re too small to understand how to process all of that. My little brain in my three-year-old body searched for some explanation to explain the phenomenon that we’re going on around me.
I couldn’t go to the public beach. I couldn’t walk into restaurants with my family. I couldn’t go to hotels. We couldn’t go to public spaces. It was segregated and not available for us to access. As human beings, I heard a saying once that said, “The moment we became aware of our thoughts is the moment we started worrying.” That’s so true.
What the human condition is we’re meaning-making machines. I needed to search for an explanation that explained my world and made sense of the world around me of what was going on. What I decided about myself at that moment was I’m not good enough because of whatever. It’s maybe because I was a girl or the color of my skin. That plays out in many different ways as you grow older, “I’m not smart enough. I’m not capable enough.” I was always a very strong-willed person. I always knew I wanted an exciting and adventurous life for myself.
At a certain point, I outgrew that little story. I said, “That’s not enough for me. How do I overwrite that? How do I shift my mindset and get rid of this story once and for all? Why did it show up in the first place?” That became my fascination. What is it that gets people so stuck in fear, belief patterns, and fear strategies that stop them from having the love, connection, joy, freedom or the type of wealth and abundance they want to attract in their life?
That became my fascination. What stops most of us? Why is it that those few are able to break free? I became fascinated with that gap and how to unlock and shift that mindset. I figured out how to do it for myself. I decided, “This is what I’m meant to do. This is what I want to teach other people to do.” I studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy, which is all about the subconscious. We’re 5% conscious and 95% subconscious. You talk about this a lot.
I studied the same background. We have some similarities there in that context.
I was so curious about how do we tap into that 95%. I was convinced that was the secret. It wasn’t enough. I wanted more data. I wanted the science behind it because I needed something to be proven to me. I’m the ultimate skeptic. I need something to be quick, powerful and efficient. If it works and you could show me results fast, I’ll do it. I don’t care if I don’t like it. I want the benefits. I’m going to figure it out and do it.
This was the same approach I wanted to take. I thought, “How can I start to work with people outside of the coaching world to give them the skills they need to start doing this work themselves so that they can have that awareness, make the shift and move beyond?” That’s why I created the r.e.w.i.r.e. System™, and that’s what I poured into this book. After sitting in Hypnotherapy, I wanted to study Neuroscience to understand the brain and optimal health. I wanted to study Positive Psychology, which is the study of happiness, finding peace and values, and how to manage your energy level.
I poured all of that into this book called 6 Weeks to Happy. It’s a program to teach you the tools you need to get from A to B, shift that mindset, and keep you there. A lot of us take these little weekend courses, we read a book and get a nugget, go to a yoga class or run. Something feels great but we don’t know how to keep that feeling. I wanted to give people the tools to stay in that state of flow and that vibe. Thank you for having me. I’m able to share this.
The more we learn, the more we want to learn more. This is a deep topic. I want to go back because I like to have some back and forth and converse around some of these points. One of them is that I’m not enough. That is our journey. At some point in our life, everyone experiences something that challenges them that way. You mentioned that we’re meaning-makers. I talk about that all the time. I didn’t realize it until I went through some of this Neuro-Linguistic Programming and what my strategies were.
I was like, “Look how I’ve approached creating different meaning in my life, and where that gets people stuck.” I would like to dig deeper into that. That’s where your program goes. At the end of the day, that’s where it is. That’s the sliding door. Do we choose door A or the first way through, which is unproductive and doesn’t get us to where we want to go and keeps us from the very thing that we want? Do we take the other door, which gives us more choices and options which is more productive and lead us down a different path?
Describing it like a sliding door is exactly right. My first career was as a management consultant. That’s how I have this relationship in mindset-coaching and consulting with these executives. That was my background. I started a coaching practice. I was doing both and realized I was seeing patterns in the data in my clients. We have a handful of limiting beliefs. It got to a point where I realized, “This is universal.” In science, you get a result north of 70% and you can say something is evidentially true, but I’ve never seen 100%.
In this case, I would be sitting there and waiting for it. I would be working with a client and I’m observing them and say, “This is one of their five.” It came down to five buckets of these limiting beliefs. You can call them fear strategies. You can call them limiting beliefs. I call them core limiting beliefs because they keep us stuck. They make us more risk-averse. It’s the thing that stops us from starting that business, going for that next pay raise, or going for that next job.
It’s in every area of life. It’s what makes us reach for the donut versus the granola bar.
It’s some story that we’re telling ourselves. In the consulting world, you have to figure out how to go from the current state to the future state. Let’s say you’re building a system and you need something to be different than it is now. Life is no different than this. People are no different than this. We want something to be different, but we don’t know how to get there because we don’t have the tools yet.
One of the things I had to learn in consulting was you have to learn about risk management. You have to identify all your barriers to success upfront and then work through them. By the time you roll out your project and you’re trying to achieve your goal, you’ve already assessed every possible risk and figured out how you’re going to overcome it. That secret sauce is those five core limiting beliefs. If your story is the, “I’m not enough,” it might not sound that way. It might sound like, “I don’t think wealth is for everyone. I don’t think I’m resourceful enough to make that kind of money. I’m happy where I am. I’m comfortable here.” It could sound very different.
It’s all sorts of stories that can boil down to that. Tell us what those five are. Let’s dig into the other side of it, which is the strategy to help us get unstuck.Your physical body is the gauge of how well you're doing with your spiritual, mental, and emotional bodies. Click To Tweet
I don’t know if we can get through all five. We talked a little bit about the not enough, and I’ll give you another one that we can dive into. How does the “not enough” play out in your life with respect to love, for example? If you’re dating, you won’t be able to have the confidence to ask that person out or to make that next step. If you go further, let’s say you’re in a relationship. What does that feel like?
When you feel you’re not enough for the person, you’re constantly reminding them of why they shouldn’t love you. You’re creating situations to prove to yourself. It’s running in your subconscious mind through your operating system. It’s happening beyond your awareness. It’s like you’re on autopilot. If it’s running you and you have no awareness of it, you can’t get in front of it. You can’t be in the power of it. You can’t be in control of it.
It’s developing that awareness and having an understanding of how it can possibly play out in different areas of your life that prevent you from having that real trust, support, partnership and relationship that you crave because there’s this little story running in your background saying, “I’m not enough for this person.” It prevents you from creating that trust and that real sense of love and partnership you crave. It creates a barrier.
Another one we can talk about is a lot of people feel alone in this world. It won’t sound like, “I’m alone.” That’s your subconscious underlying belief that says, “I’m alone in this world.” How it may sound or how it could play out in your life is, “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself,” or, “I can’t rely on my partner to do this. If I want this done, I’m going to have to get it done myself.”
How does it show up in business? It would show up with, “Are you able to delegate and rely on your team? Are you able to rely on your business partner for certain things?” Imagine you’re in a relationship, and you’ve got a family and jobs. That’s a lot to manage. It’s incredibly busy already. It’s time-consuming. Your energy’s usually tapped up from day-to-day prioritizing. If you’re in the mindset and the story that’s running in your mind is, “I’m alone. I have to do everything for myself,” how exhausting is that?
Check it out, people. If you’re one of these people, you don’t ask for help. This is how it shows up. You keep piling it on and don’t ask for help. You think you’ve got to do it all for whatever reason you tell yourself. It’s exhausting.
You don’t take those risks. You don’t open up to your partner. You don’t rely on your business partner. You don’t rely on your team. You end up scrambling and doing everything yourself. By the end of the day, you’re too tapped out. You’re completely depleted of energy. How do you recharge from empty? If you were to delegate even 20% to your team, business partner, family, spouse, partner, love, whoever that is, all of a sudden, you have 20% of your energy back. It can be a game-changer.
That’s a small change. Even if you were able to have that awareness of how it showed up in your life, shift that obstacle, flip the mindset and say, “I’m fully loved and supported. I have all the support and resources I need at any moment.” How different would your day go if you knew you could count on your team?
If you knew when you woke up in the morning that you and your partner had an equal responsibility to look after your life, you would have so much more time and energy free for yourself to manage. You would be able to find your joy again. You would have more peace again. You would have more balance back in your life. It’s critical to work through this.
You’ve mentioned a couple of times energy. I talk about energy management as well. That was a great point that you said, “How do you come back from energy zero?” We don’t need to tap it until it’s dry. It’s much better if we leave ourselves some space and know when we’re getting low. You don’t do that to your car. If you drive a fuel-operated car, you don’t let it get down to zero. You fill it back up. You make sure that there’s enough in there or charge it in enough space. That’s a great little metaphor to think about. It’s so much harder to come back from zero. It takes so much longer than it does to put those buffers in place so that you’re managing that in an effective way.
What you’re talking about is called ego depletion in the world of Positive Psychology. It’s not just the ego that we’re talking about. It’s the idea that we are energetic beings. We have a finite amount of energy that needs to be managed. We’re like a battery or a gas tank that needs to be refilled or recharged. Energy input has to equal energy output. Many of us are running on empty all the time. How you know you’re running on empty is you wake up feeling tired instead of rested. You’re less able to manage or regulate your emotions throughout the day. You have outbursts because you’re strung out. Anyone is like that. It is the human condition.
The energy is still there. It’s a little bit Einstein-y. It’s not created or destroyed. It just changes form. That’s the key.
At that moment, when you’re tapped out and something requires of your energy and you have nothing to give, you’re going to have a little outburst. It’s the only way you can do it. There’s nothing left in the tank. Where are you going to get it from? You’re going to get it from a push of some way. Living in that mindset, headspace and energy space is taxing.
First of all, it’s taxing on the body because we have wear and tear over the years. Over time, we have chronic stress and fatigue. We have inflammation in the body. We have autoimmune disorders. It can show up in many different ways. I like to think of it as the four-bodies system and learning how to manage and regulate the four bodies.
We have a spiritual or energetic body, mental, emotional and physical body. When most people think of happiness or being in a good state of health or low stress, they’re talking about how to manage the physical body. It’s so much more than just managing your physical health. Your physical body is usually a gauge for how well you’re doing with the other three bodies as well.
It’s the last stop. You’ve been doing this for a long time. We’re breaking down to the point where you can’t ignore it.
It acts almost like an alarm bell. For example, I have a back injury. Even though I may have done nothing to trigger my back whatsoever, if I’m at a prolonged period of stress in my life and I haven’t taken the time to dial back, my back will signal. I get lower back pain out of nowhere, not having stressed it, strained it or lifted anything heavy. All of a sudden, I wake up one day and go, “I need to slow down. This is my warning.” I know this about myself.
Let’s talk about the four bodies so people understand. The energetic or the spiritual body is your connection to the source, whatever you want to call that. It has nothing to do with any faith. It’s more about the condition of being human. We are energetic beings. We are connected to the quantum world around us if you believe that we’re atoms and thoughts or energy.
We are energy and how we interact with that world and regulate our energy becomes important. Energy trickles down from the source through the energetic body. It hits your mental body first, which is your CEO, your brain, thoughts, decision-making processes, critical thinking. It then hits your emotional body, which is where we house all past memories, negative emotions, pain, sadness, hurt, fear. All of that goes into our memory.
Positive ones are there too. Let’s not forget about those.If you feel stressed, the quickest bio-hack is to take six deep breaths with slow exhales to get yourself back to calm. Click To Tweet
The positive ones are also there, but it’s where most people get stuck. If everything is flowing and you’re in a high state of elevated positive emotion, then you’re fully aligned. That is the state of flow because then your spiritual, mental, emotional, physical bodies are fully aligned. You can accomplish amazing things at that moment.
When you’re not, you’re going to tap into that. That energy’s going to flow into your emotional body. It’s going to run into negative emotions like fear and all of those self-sabotaging behaviors. Those stop you from going for that next job, pay raise or whatever change it is you’re trying to shift in your life. That’s where you’re going to get stuck.
That’s fine in the short term. We all have bad days. We all have life events and things that have us feeling tapped out for a few weeks or a few months. Think about it over time. Ten years pass and you haven’t worked on that one milestone or that one goal that you feel is going to bring you so much more peace or freedom of having your bills paid and not having to wake up and worry about that. One day would be a game-changer for some people.
It hits your physical body after that. If your spiritual, mental and emotional bodies haven’t been looked after in the right ways, your physical body is going to be a symptom. It’s going to be a gauge for how well or not well you’re doing. It’s your physical body that takes action. If your mental body is setting the goals, your emotional body is getting the goals. If it gets stuck there, then you’re stuck or stopped.
I want to talk about bringing some solutions. They can find out more information about your system. They can go to your website. Let’s talk about solutions. We all get stuck. We know that there are five core limiting beliefs. We talked about two of them. What are some solutions that help us get unstuck when we’re not aligned, we’re not in that space, and we get caught up in those stories?
When you wake up in the morning, you’re stuck on autopilot. In the world of neuroscience, we know that we’re 5% conscious mind and 95% subconscious. When you wake up in the morning, you have that set of feelings and start thinking about your day. You have that set of thoughts that says, “I have so much going on. I don’t know how I’m going to get through it all.”
You start having the emotions that go with those thoughts. Your emotions are less about the day is beginning with gratitude. Maybe you’re switching to being stressed, worried, anxious, nervous or frustrated. Those thoughts and feelings get bundled together in a loop. The more you do them, the more automatic they become.
Now you’re waking up with this constant thought and feeling loop that says, “I don’t know if I’m going to get to it all.” Do you think that’s the day you’re going to achieve anything or work towards your goal? Absolutely not. That’s the day you’re going to be kind to yourself, maybe pour a glass of wine at the end of the night and say, “Today is not the day I begin that journey.”
Here’s tool number one. If you can wake up, start with asking yourself, “How do I want to feel instead?” Instead of feeling tired, set your intentions for the day. It shifts you automatically to a completely new and more empowered mindset where you get to consciously think and feel the way you want to think and feel. I talk about this in the book. I was coming out of something. I was uber-stressed and I knew something needed to change. This little voice inside me said, “How do you want to feel instead?” I said, “I want to feel peaceful, calm and happy again.”
I promise you that if you wake up in the morning and sit, whether it’s in meditation or sit with your coffee for even five full minutes and say, “I want to focus on feeling peaceful,” and let that wash over your body and vibrate at that level of peace, happy, calm or whatever that emotion is that you are choosing, that’s a beautiful space to start your day from. After you finish that five minutes, you’re going to look at your day and say, “How do I think it’s going to go today?”
It’s going to be altered. It’s going to be shifted for the better. You can’t wake up in the morning and feel stressed and happy at the same time. You can feel peaceful and grateful at the same time. You can feel grateful and happy at the same time. You can feel calm and productive at the same time. It’s very hard to feel stressed and productive at the same time.
Start your day off in that right headspace. Throughout the day, if you feel stressed, the quickest bio-hack to get yourself back to calm is six deep breaths with a slow exhale. It triggers your parasympathetic nervous system. It triggers the brain and your central nervous system to say, “There’s no danger here. Everything is fine. We can go back to calm.”
From that space, go back again and ask yourself, “How do I want to feel in this moment?” Pause and reset as many times as you can throughout the day. That shifts you from being in that 95% of autopilot and taking control back. You’re not in that subconscious thinking-feeling loop again. You’re consciously choosing, “How do I want this to go? How do I want to feel? How do I want to be thinking?” You talked about this in your TED Talk when you were doing that dive where you caught yourself in that fear.
I was smiling because I felt I was being hypnotized while you’re saying, “This is how you feel now.” I was like, “I feel that.” It is as simple as that. You can bring yourself into those feelings simply by breaking the pattern of that loop that was going and walking and stepping into a moment. Some people might be saying, “I don’t meditate. That’s not my thing. I’m not energetic.” While you were saying that, I was thinking about some of the tools that we’ve learned. It’s as simple as thinking of a time when you felt peaceful. Is there a place where you go to think peaceful?
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and my brain is racing. I’m like, “It’s 4:00 in the morning and I want to sleep.” I have a place where I go. It’s a place that’s peaceful and relaxing. I put myself on a mountain bike in the woods in Switzerland because I used to live in Switzerland for a number of years. That was my happy place. I was in nature and I felt grounded and free. For whatever reason, that’s what came up for me. I started to do that. Anytime I wake up in the middle of the night, I take myself through a tour of the woods. It’s like one of those music that sometimes gets put on and shifts your being. We all can get there. It’s just a matter of remembering, “What was a time and place that made me feel calm, peaceful and happy?”
You tapped into something so powerful there because the brain doesn’t know real from perceived. Imagine that first moment, the next day or that first morning when you wake up in your happy place or your vacation spot. You’re having your coffee. The world and your jobs are a million miles away. You’re so present. The air is crisp or warm and you feel the sea breeze.
If you can get into that state of mind, you don’t have to “meditate.” You can close your eyes and get yourself to a peaceful state of being and a peaceful state of mind by recreating a memory of when you were in that happy place. The brain doesn’t know the real from perceived. If you can imagine it, you can perceive it and get yourself there. The trick is it has to be thought and feelings. You have to feel the feelings. You can’t just imagine yourself.
I’m on the bike. I feel the breeze as I’m going and see the leaves as they’re waving. It can be so easy. If I’m opening the window, I can feel the sun on my face. We can bring those feelings alive because we’ve been there. Some people are like, “I’m not so great at always visualizing somewhere I’ve never been.” Anybody can remember a moment where they were and how they felt, and bring those emotions and feelings in.
You can remember a moment where you were truly your happiest, where you didn’t have a care in the world. When you imagine that moment, whether it’s real or constructive, it doesn’t matter. When you’re imagining that, the brain lights up your visual, auditory and kinesthetic center. If you ask yourself at that moment, “What am I seeing? What am I doing? What am I hearing? What am I feeling?” and get into that elevated emotional state, it’s a game-changer.
If you can start your day that way, even with 5 or 7 minutes, and do that as often as you can throughout the day, you’re starting to rewire the brain from the old worrying you to the new more peaceful, empowered, focused and productive you. You’re tapping into real human potential, and that’s a beautiful thing.If you want something different, you have to know where to start. Click To Tweet
For those of you who are reading, do this. How about sharing that with other people and helping them access those feelings when you notice they’re feeling stressed? How do you bring them to a place that brings them calm, joy, happiness, that gives them a different starting place? There’s always another level. This is like karate where there are multiple levels of black belt.
However you guys who are reading might apply this already, what’s the next level for you? How could you apply this at the next level to make a difference to the people in your lives, to help them reframe a situation so that they too can be happier, more productive and focused on the things that matter in their lives? Thank you. We didn’t get even to talk about the whole r.e.w.i.r.e. System™. Give us two sentences and tell us where to go to find out more about you and your systems.
If you want something different, we have to know where to start. Navigating through this life without having an understanding of what tools we need to do it successfully is like trying to get to a destination with an outdated map. Every successful entrepreneur or athlete has a coach. If you want to coach, there are great coaches available. All you need to do is reach out.
I can teach you hundreds of strategies on how to improve the quality of your life. I’ve taken the top eighteen strategies and put them into the r.e.w.i.r.e. System™ and this book, 6 Weeks to Happy. You’ll learn three simple tools to align your four bodies per week over a period of six weeks. All it takes is ten minutes per day. It gets you on the road to happiness and success. All you have to do is go to 6WeeksToHappy.com and start your journey. Don’t wait.
That sounds awesome. Thank you so much.
Thank you for having me. It’s my pleasure.
Thank you all for reading. You get it. It is about mindset. It’s the one thing you have 100% control over. Believe it or not, you do. There are a lot of things out there that we don’t have control over. We exhaust ourselves trying to control things that we can’t. Let’s reset and get clear on those stories that we’re telling ourselves, how they’re limiting us, and how we can flip the script, change those stories and rewrite them. Anything that’s learned can be unlearned. We can learn what it is the direction that we want to go.
Remember that that’s within your power. Hopefully, you’re invigorated to take a look at what are some of the things that are holding you back? What are some great practices that can help you start your day in a more productive way? What are some resets that you can make throughout the day so that you’re aware and paying attention to where your mindset is being destructive, and where and how you can make it productive? That’s our show. We’ll see you in the next episode.
About Zahra Karsan
Certified in Mindset Coaching and Neuroscience, Zahra Karsan is an inspirational public speaker as well as a trusted personal Success Coach to dozens of global executives. Voted by Yahoo Finance as a Top 10 Success Coach, she is the best-selling author of 6 Weeks to Happy and the creator of the R.E.W.I.R.E. System™, a groundbreaking methodology that retrains your brain for greater happiness, health, wealth and success. Her company, GetZEND, offers a suite of interactive tools that include online video training and an award-winning app to help you stay on track with your life goals without compromising your life experience.
With over 20 years of experience as a top-tier Management Consultant and Corporate Coach, goal setting and producing results became second nature for Zahra. She now coaches corporations, business executives and industry leaders on how to achieve their career goals while also experiencing a more fulfilling life. Most recently, Zahra was awarded a Top 100 Healthcare Visionaries Award by the International Forum for Advancements in Healthcare. She holds degrees in Psychology, Applied Positive Psychology, and Neuroscience, and is Certified as a Master Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner and Life Coach, Master Hypnotherapist and Master Timeline Therapy Practitioner. She also continually advances her education in Quantum, Metaphysics, and related fields, to bring you the latest research and most innovative tools so you can continue to achieve and thrive.
Zahra sits on the board of the World Happiness Foundation, whose mission is to create a world where we can be free, conscious, and happy. Zahra also works on her passion project with The Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation to empower young girls to move past limiting beliefs so they can live more powerfully.