Seven Signs that Mindset Issues Block You

Shobhit Chugh
5 min readOct 8, 2021

Your mindset determines how you perceive the world, yourself, and the future. It helps you define what is true for you. It is the lens via which we see everything.

I have had the pleasure of coaching 100s of high performers. When they start working with me, they often want to know about the right strategy or approach to achieve a goal.

More often than not, they need to change their psychology to get to the next level.

When we do not get our mindset or psychology right, it is a huge struggle. We hit this proverbial brick wall. No matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to break through it to get that raise, promotion, or the happy, accomplished life we are after.

But when we do get it right, it’s freeing. We can act without worry. We recognize our work as valuable and feel happy and fulfilled.

It can sometimes be tough to gauge our mindset, so here are my seven signs of mindset issues blocking your progress in product management.

You give up too soon.

Often, I face the same scenario. In this scenario, a product manager approaches me and says they presented a proposal to their manager, but nothing came of it. After discussing potential problems, they told me this was six months ago, and they never even followed up on it. This scenario is what I call “giving up too soon.”

Too many product managers are working hard on a concept, presenting it once, and when the response is not immediate action steps for their initiative, they quit. What I hear when this scenario greets me is, “Shobhit, I don’t want to hear any negative feedback on my proposal, so instead of bringing it up again, I am going to fall back and avoid potential rejection.”

The problem with this mindset is that you are shortchanging yourself out of potential opportunities. Perhaps with a small change, your initiative could be the very thing that gets you to the next level.

You believe things will get worse.

This sign is perhaps the easiest mindset trap to fall into because it seems the most contagious one. The negativity surrounding your career will only bring about more negativity.

When we believe that things will continually worsen, they often will, and our chances of success continue dwindling every day.

What you believe about the opportunities that await you in your future is your choice. Choose to squash the negativity and engage yourself in positivity. What we put out into the universe truly does meet us where we are.

The opportunities lie in the challenges.

You think about what went wrong.

Perhaps I am aging myself, but back in my day, we listened to cassettes. The most bothersome part of cassettes was that they occasionally would get stuck and begin looping the music. The only way to fix it was to take it apart and fix the tape to avoid repeating the same thing.

I often see the same with product managers. They received feedback on a project that was roughly 70% positive and 30% constructive criticism. Instead of focusing on the positive, they are contemplating the 30%. The words repeat in their heads, which continues for the next ten years of their career.

If you find yourself replaying these scenarios, this is a vital sign that your mindset is not where it should be.

You cannot focus on the good in your present if you spend all your time focusing on the past.

If you keep believing things will get worse, they probably will. But it is your mindset causing the problem.

You tinker.

Now, details are important and make for incredible products. However, for many product managers, it is equally as important to realize that details are not your job.

Constantly staying in the details means you are insecure in jumping to a higher level and working on the strategy.

Too many product managers claim they have no time because of this reason alone. Their comfort zones lie in the details, and because of this, they don’t have time to contribute to high-level work.

New visions, strategies, and higher levels will come when you stop tinkering with the details.

You get defensive too fast.

I will not pretend that I have not had my highs and lows throughout my career. I have found that in my lowest lows, my defensiveness grows. I found myself reacting to criticism with arrogance.

It was not until my coach pointed this out to me that I even realized what I had been doing. He explained that my mindset became skewed. When someone gave me a different point of view, I extracted the meaning that they were challenging my abilities, work, and value as a person.

You remember the worst.

Research has suggested that humans remember the highs, the lows, the beginning, and the end of something. The danger of having rocky performance psychology is that we do not remember any of the highs in this state of mind. We only retain the lows.

For many, this does not just apply to our careers. It also carries over into our everyday lives with our loved ones, causing us to not even enjoy time with our family or friends.

Unless you decide to fix it, you will continue living in your hell.

Don’t let yourself stay stuck. Take bold action. It all begins with a decision.

You don’t have a vision for your career.

When I ask my clients how they want their careers to go, they usually respond with silence. Many of them act as if they have never faced this question.

One can quickly identify mindset issues when a product manager believes the next level in their organizational hierarchy is the only way to succeed. Having this goal is not always negative. The problem lies in not having any bold, life-long goals and dreams.

Your goals should stretch beyond your immediate next steps and require great boldness.

What is stopping you from getting what you want? Do you now know how to get there, or is your mindset causing you to play small?

If you liked the blog post, you would love my free workshop, “5 Steps our Product Manager Clients Take to Land Their Dream Job, Increase Their Salary by 200%+, and Accelerate Their Career.” Go ahead, enroll now!

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Shobhit Chugh

Founder at Intentional Product Manager (http://www.intentionalproductmanager.com). Product @Google, @Tamr, @Lattice_Engines, @Adaptly. Worked at @McKinsey