By Christi Hegstad | President, MAP Professional Development Inc.

Earlier this summer, I finished a retreat on the West Coast and hopped a plane back to Des Moines. I found my middle seat and struck up a conversation with the man next to me. Within moments he had commented on his delightful trip, the unseasonable – but great – weather, his gratitude for having a seat on this plane (an earlier one had been canceled), and the kindness the airline workers always showed him. His smile was contagious and even his bright checkered socks seemed to exude positivity.

The passenger to my other side arrived and, also within moments, shared about his disappointing trip, the awful weather, this frustrating airline, why he doesn't like where he lives, reasons he hates to travel, even some life regrets. I found myself fascinated and exhausted, and thinking about mindset.

We all have rough days, and even the most positive among us experience anger, sadness and frustration, so no judgment here. But if complaining and focusing on the negative represent your typical mindset, you may be impacting more than you realize: More and more studies are linking mindset to professional success, relationship strength, life satisfaction, even physical health. In short, mindset matters.

Fortunately, you have the power to choose your mindset and develop it how you wish. If you're ready to up-level yours, consider starting here:

Select your intention. I'm a big believer that how you start your morning sets the tone for the day. Even with the busiest schedule in the world, you can begin mastering your mindset before you even get out of bed: Choose a word that captures who/how you want to be throughout the day -- maybe "patient" or "energized" or "focused." Call your intention to mind any time for an instant shift.

Eliminate your trigger word(s). What do you often say, to yourself and/or to others, that instantly depletes your energy, positivity or confidence? For me, it was "should"; maybe for you it's "can't" or "overwhelmed" or "don't have time." Challenge yourself to eliminate draining words from your vocabulary and see what happens.

Keep a success journal. I encourage my coaching clients to record one win per day -- either a general highlight or one specific to their goal. This simple act trains your mind to seek out the positive, plus it provides confidence-building fuel you can review before an interview, presentation or difficult conversation.

Give yourself grace as you begin mastering your positive mindset, knowing that -- like all good things and strong habits -- it may take a while to stick. But with just moments per day, you'll notice your perspective shifting, and so will the people around you -- even those who only enter your life for a brief plane ride.

Christi Hegstad, Ph.D., is a certified and award-winning coach, speaker, author, and founder of the upcoming fifth annual Spark retreat. Connect with her online at or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ChristiHegstad.