As we emerge from our deep winter hibernation, we move toward a spring thaw of love and growth. It's the perfect time of the year to transform our fixed mindsets into growth mindsets.
We are not born with a fixed or growth mindset. Instead, our mindsets develop as we grow. As such, we tend to take on mindsets similar to those that belong to our family unit. To illustrate this pattern, I’d like to share my personal story, which highlights how we can develop fixed mindsets from an early age. Keep reading to learn about the traits of both fixed and growth mindsets and how you can practice a growth mindset.
Understanding A Fixed Mindset
The relationships we have with our parents early on play a key role in the foundation of our mindset, which in my case, was fixed.
As a child, I didn’t feel good enough for my parents. It was as if I couldn’t live up to my mother’s expectations of me and while my father certainly loved me, he eventually left Michigan for a new life in Florida and I was left behind. Frankly, these things left me feeling like I wasn't lovable or good enough.
As a young teenager, I would shy away from activities and hobbies that made me feel stupid, uncoordinated, or bad about myself. My mom signed me up for various lessons: guitar, clarinet, organ, tennis, horseback riding, posture, swimming, and art. But, I never stuck with any one thing long enough to become skilled or interested in it enough to pursue it further. And during the time spent on each activity, I didn’t put forth the effort needed to get better. I would give up long before that. Why did I do this? Unconsciously, I was validating my core belief — which was that I wasn't good enough. Deeper than that, I was unlovable.
A bit later, this insecurity played out in my relationships, which always seemed to be full of drama. I tried to be what others wanted me to be, never really knowing what I wanted, or what my opinions or were. As I was not aware of my own needs, or how to ask for them in a healthy way, I became passive aggressive and instead, codependent on my partners’ needs. This wound rippled into all areas of my life, keeping me stuck in a fixed mindset. Here was my old thought process:
If you resonate with any of the above examples, you might also benefit from a growth mindset.
Understanding a Growth Mindset
A person developing their growth mindset practices a different thought process:
To truly live a growth mindset is to find value in the effort that it takes to create the life we want to live.
Practicing A Growth Mindset
I now value curiosity in new activities, people and places. The fear of ‘failure’ is gone. Instead of running away, or feeling unlovable, I now look at it as if I have something to learn. But, getting to this point takes practice.
And remember, practice means practice! For example, it’s unlikely that you’ll become a rockstar overnight if you decide to pick up guitar. It takes continuous effort. The key to changing your mindset is to practice daily. Start small, make it doable, find accountability and put forth the effort.
Need an accountability buddy? We are here to support you in the Attuned Coaching private Facebook group, Mindset Masters Unite! Our community comes together to share our daily mindset accomplishments and struggles. Find daily motivation and tips on kicking ass with a Growth Mindset by joining us here!
Start with these growth mindset practice activities:
1. Acknowledge which mindset you generally fall into — fixed or growth. Come out of hiding and truly own where you are right now. Look back and have compassion for your child-self that unknowingly developed this mindset.
2. Start a growth mindset journal and ask yourself these questions:
a) What can I learn from today’s fixed/growth experience(s)?
b) What step(s) did I take to achieve growth today? What step(s) can I take tomorrow?
c) Where am I falling short and what do I still need to educate myself about?
d) Do I still have some exploring to do? What is the root cause of my trigger? (You might want to find a coach to work with when practicing this step).
e) How did I keep going when things were tough and I wanted to quit? How can I continue to be my own cheerleader?
3. Decide on an area of your life that you’d like to improve. Now, focus on that area for 15 minutes a day, or less. Within two months, you’ll have dedicated around 15 hours of focus to this area of your life!
4. Practice active listening. Seek to first understand, then be understood.
As you begin your adventure, remember:
Now, close your computer or turn off your phone and go BE in the present moment. Stay curious and have fun!