The following is an excerpt from The Reset Mindset, a new book by Penny Zenker, The Focusologist, an international speaker and best-selling author.

Ten years ago, I found myself soaring ten thousand feet above Las Vegas alongside Lisa, my friend and fellow adventurer. We had paid money to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Skydiving had always been on both of our bucket lists, so with a nudge from someone in our group, we were booked on this trip. I was trembling in anticipation!

We had gone through the extensive orientation and training—if you want to call five minutes of lying across a stool and being told, “Put your arms out. Don’t forget to breathe. Just lift your feet, and you will be fine” extensive. The training may have been brief, but the hundred-plus-page waiver was not. Once it was signed, we’d gotten into our flight suits, snapped on our goggles, and met our jump buddies. We’d each be jumping with an instructor strapped to our backs.

While signing the epic waiver, my excitement had shifted to fear. I quietly wondered, Was this all the preparation we were going to receive? Suddenly, instead of eagerly anticipating the rush of the jump, I couldn’t help but think about all the things that could go wrong. After all, they were listed right there in black and white. Focus, especially the doomsday variety, has a funny way of amplifying your feelings.

As I walked toward the plane, I started to get more and more anxious. Even though I had chosen to go skydiving, it seemed scary and daunting now that I was in the heat of the moment. It did not seem fun now. I looked at Lisa. She was also obviously nervous too. As we lined up to board the plane, she pulled me to the back of the line so we could go last. Brilliant plan, right? Put it off for as long as possible.

Proud of ourselves and channeling our nervous energy in another direction, we started to laugh and joke. But as we got to the entrance of the plane, the joke was on us. All the seats were taken. The lead instructor motioned for us to sit on the floor—right in front of the doors. We went from laughing and joking to crapping our pants as we realized . . . we were going FIRST, not LAST!

They packed us into the plane, and off we went—higher and higher, my fear escalating with the altitude. My hands were shaking and sweating. My stomach was churning, and I felt lightheaded. The propellers were loud, like a buzz saw inside my brain. Once we were at altitude, the door abruptly slid open. The gusting wind blew Lisa’s long hair straight back, like a flag whipping in a hurricane. I looked down on the clouds and began questioning every decision in my life that had brought me to this point.

The blood drained from Lisa’s face as terror took over, and she started to resist the instructor strapped to her back. But he clearly had dealt with this sort of thing before. Implacably, he nudged her forward. As they got to the opening, Lisa grabbed on to the sides. Her knuckles turned white as she tried to hold on for dear life. But the instructor was stronger. He pushed her out, and whoooosh! They were gone. Over the wind, I could hear Lisa’s fear as she was screaming her favorite word all the way down: “Fuuuuuuuu . . . !!!”

Suddenly, I felt the instructor pushing me forward. It had become clear that one way or another, I was going to be leaving this plane. I pictured Lisa’s face and realized hers was not the experience I wanted to have.

I intentionally took a moment to reset my mind and body. I took a deep breath and allowed my heart rate to slow. Taking a mental step back, I reassessed the situation. I remembered that the entire point of doing this was to challenge myself, expand my comfort zone, and experience something new and breathtaking. I could enjoy this ride . . . if I chose to. So I decided to stop focusing on plummeting to my death and shifted my focus to the fact that the instructor strapped to me had done this a hundred times before. Literally, he had my back.

With that shift in focus, I plastered a big fat grin on my face and let go of the urge to resist as he hurled us into the blue void. That feeling of flight was unforgettable. Seeing the world from this incredible viewpoint, made me feel so present and alive. I can’t explain it; it shifted something in me. Seeing the Earth from ten thousand feet changes the way you look at your whole life. When I reached the ground, Lisa was already there, still pale and shaking. Even though we had both just taken the same wild ride. We each had a very different experience.

By taking a moment to reset and take back control of my skydiving experience, I didn’t get pushed, like Lisa did. I Jumped. That is the power of the Reset Mindset. We know that personal growth and transformation are possible because the human brain has a remarkable capacity to change and adapt. The Reset Mindset is firmly built on the concept of neuroplasticity—our brain’s proven ability to reorganize itself and form new neural connections.

In neuropsychologist Donald Hebb’s book The Organization of Behavior, he wrote “Neurons that fire together wire together” to describe how pathways in the brain are formed and reinforced through repetition. In other words, our brain clusters our beliefs to make implementing them more efficient. It’s much like the operating system on your computer. Your reactions “load” automatically like software. But because it takes programming to achieve these clusters, you can influence your mindset by choosing which actions and behaviors you want to perform repeatedly.

Or think of it like the concept of muscle memory—like a pianist’s fingers that glide over the keys after repeating the same music that has been practiced over and over or a speed cuber that runs through well-practiced algorithms to solve the Rubik Cube in a matter of seconds or one you might be familiar with, riding a bike. By engaging in consistent repetition, the tasks that were once demanding conscious attention eventually become second nature.

The same process applies to your thought patterns when facing change, challenges, or uncertainty. With each repeated mental shift, your brain becomes more proficient at adapting, reassessing, and reframing your thoughts. This practiced flexibility becomes automatic, allowing you to tap into creativity and effortlessly recognize and assess relevancy, value, and priorities. Over time, just as muscles remember movements, our brains remember this adaptive way of thinking, making it an instinctive part of how we confront new situations.

While It’s true that much of your mindset has been programmed by your upbringing and ingrained biases and assumptions, you have the capability to reprogram it! You can choose how which thoughts, actions and behaviors you want to perform repeatedly.

Once you activate your Reset Mindset, you will automatically reassess the way you approach people, problems, and opportunities. You will be able to reinvent (and reprogram!) yourself again and again. As circumstances change, you can adapt so that your business does not fall behind. You’ll be able to accept that the best practices of yesterday may not be the best practice for today, much less tomorrow. And you’ll welcome change instead of fearing it, because you are always willing to look honestly and objectively at what’s working and what’s not.


  • Penny Zenker is known as “The Focusologist.” She’s a captivating international speaker and best-selling author. By the time she was 31, she'd built and sold a multi-million dollar company in Zurich. Serving as a Tony Robbins business coach, Penny guided entrepreneurs globally to double their businesses. Her previous book, The Productivity Zone, was an instant Amazon bestseller, and her TEDx talk, The Energy of Thought, has gained attention around the world with over 1 million views. Penny is the host of the Take Back Time Podcast, and she's been featured on NBC News, Forbes, Inc., ESPN, Wharton Business Radio, and many more. Penny inspires audiences worldwide.