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!
I spent most of my February in a dark place. It was depressing, scary, and cold. Yes, I spent most of February in a basement storage area tackling my big decluttering project. And it only took me thirty-six years to start on it!
While I was digging through one of many boxes, I found a paper I wrote my first year of college called “The Art of Packing.” How odd — to be finding it as I was unpacking my life, thirty-six years before I started packing it all up.
I was only a senior in high school when my mother passed away. Since my parents were divorced, I was left responsible for packing up a three-story colonial home. As I worked my way through each and every drawer, dresser, and cabinet, I divided the items evenly between me and my two siblings.
Yet, my brother and sister did not want much to do with the memorabilia I saved for them. So, I took on the role of caretaker. For thirty-six years, I held on to everything. Each time I moved to a new home, so did the boxes. I carried them around like a heavy weight from place to place.
I KEPT THE BOXES FOR
I’ve patiently waited for my siblings to show up at my house so I can pour them each a glass of wine, turn on some music, and go through the memorabilia together. I had this vision of a happy-go-lucky gathering. But, it never happened and it might never have happened. So I had my own party. Except it didn’t go exactly as I had envisioned.
There was no wine, no music, and no laughter. Just me alone, venturing into the dark storage area to retrieve box after box. Each item, whether it be a piece of paper or a picture, was painfully examined. Throughout the process, it felt like I was re-attending the funerals of both my parents. And even my own.
"We all lived with my mother in a three story colonial house. The house now stands silent filled with the lives of four people. These possessions that fill up our house now needs to be packed and put away." — An excerpt from my college essay, The Art of Packing, 1983
In the end, I filled up twenty contractor bags of trash, made two trips to Habitat for Humanity, dropped off two loads at my local second hand store, sold some items, and gave others away. This decluttering project was messy, heavy and depressing as hell. And I was left thinking about why I had held on to all of these things?
Keeping all of these mementos meant that I valued my life and the things I’ve helped create. These items represented my years of motherhood, building a business, banding birds in the field, and being part of my small, Upper Peninsula community. And keeping all of my family’s memorabilia meant that I cared about my parents and valued their lives. Otherwise who would? I thought, ‘why do we live these lives if nobody remembers or cares about us after we’re gone?’ But, this thinking kept me stuck. And it kept me feeling heavy.
"My mother had forty-five teacups and saucers. To be fair about the division, we cleared the family room floor, smoked a joint and preceded to put all forty-five cups and all the saucers on the floor." — Wendy Wagoner, The Art of Packing, 1983
I had to let go of my parents, again. I had to let go of the belief that I am a ‘bad’ person if I let go of my mother and father’s childhood pictures or their yearbooks. And I had to drop the role of caretaker that I had shouldered for thirty-six years.
In the end, I could feel in the deepest part of my being, that no picture or box filled with memorabilia represented a life well lived. It was just stuff. And that stuff doesn't define me as a child, sister, or mother. And that is what truly sparks joy in my heart!
"There is no graceful way for me to way good-bye, even to a house. The house is packed and gone, school has ended and I must move onward." — Wendy Wagoner, The Art of Packing, 1983
Start 2019 off with a deep peace that can be found in the stillness of the beautiful 80-acre Northwoods. Snowshoe across a small wildlife lake, sit amongst the trees, and listen to the winter birds, all in silence. Using a grounded balancing breath practice, we will explore the stillness within ourselves and around ourselves. Afterwards, we’ll take the opportunity to share our experiences with each other over refreshments and nutritious soup.
Why would we want to participate in a snowshoe into silence? Many of us spend our days thinking, moving, doing, judging, and evaluating. Our minds are scattered with a constant barrage of information, which can cause depression, anxiety, and stress. Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and contentment that accompanies time outdoors, walking in nature and being nurtured by connection with others can alleviate anxiety and stress, improve concentration and focus, and reduce inflammation.
Foster deep well-being and experience the stillness and silence of the woods. Do you need to find some balance and clarity in your life? Join us on our magical 80-acres of sacred beauty. We offer participants a chance to tap into your own inner peace and well-being.
February is the time for hibernation in bear country, or the Northwoods, but for us humans, we hunker down in winter and call it ‘going within’!
Why would we want to focus on going within and what does that really mean anyways?
Going within is a process that helps us direct our awareness and attention down into our bodies, bringing ourselves into the present moment. This exercise allows us to accept whatever is happening in the moment and allow any emotions to surface and be released. Going within encourages us to point the finger toward ourselves and BE the change we wish to see in the world. Any time you are triggered or have a strong reaction to something going on in your life, that is a clue to go within to track where, when, and who your reaction is in transference too.
“The truth will set you free, but first it might piss you off!” - Gloria Steinem
Most of us spend a good chunk of our day focusing and pointing a finger outward -- we are always judging and evaluating everything that is going on around as as good, bad, right, or wrong. We act as if we are victims of the lives we live. What if we shifted our focus inward? How would a focused change of going inward instead of outward, affect our everyday life?
Take a minute to FEEL how that shift might feel in your body -- no judgements and no critical evaluations. Instead you might have a quiet mind and a feeling of peace, love or joy.
Have I convinced you to hunker down and start your journey of going within? If so, here are some tools and events that will help you get started. Having a silent breathing practice is they key to start you in the right direction.
1. My free PDF Breathwork Tool will help you practice your breathing, focus inward, and calm your mind down. If you practice enough, it will create a lasting change in your life. It sounds simple, but until you actually take on this mindful practice each day, you will not notice a change!
2. Check out my recurring event, Snowshoeing into the Silence, located on our beautiful 80-acres retreat, the Northwoods, just 15 minutes outside Traverse City. These snowshoe meditations are from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm on February 10th and 17th. After a silent snowshoe trek around the lake, hot drinks and nutritious soups will be served. And to finish the connection, we will have the opportunity to share our own experiences. If you can’t do a snowshoe with us, just go outside and connect, be silent and do some sort of movement.
Do you have any other pointers for going within in your life? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
WHAT IS AN AIM?
An AIM is an intention that stems from a curious investigation about your life. It requires turning your attention inward not outward, when you are trying to achieve something.
It is not like setting a goal, which tends to be based on the ego or the future. A true AIM is directed toward truth, no matter what that truth is. The target your AIMING at is NOW, in the present moment.
To set your intention, you must be committed to being present and curious during the investigation.
What is the difference between an aim and a goal?
The practice of setting goals often comes from a stiff rigidity of judgement and in turn, we tend to beat ourselves up if we don’t get to where we ‘think’ we should be. Further, a goal tends to be ego-driven and is a way for us to seek out more happiness, love, and so forth.
With goal-setting, we tend to go to our heads or mental place - attempting to will ourselves to achieve the goal. Whereas with aim-setting, we set an intent to become curious and investigate with our whole bodies (not just our head, cognitive level) in the process.
SETTING YOUR AIMS FOR THE YEAR
What are your AIMS for 2019? In other words, what do you want to feel differently about in your life this upcoming year?
To help you set your AIMS, as well as action steps to help you get there, here is a step by step process:
STEP 1: DO YOU HAVE A BALANCED LIFE?
Allocate a percentage to each of the following 5 categories based on time spent, either on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
STEP 2: DETERMINING AIMS & ACTION STEPS
Come up with an AIM and at least one follow-up action step for each of the following categories:
CATEGORY: Family / Relationships
AIM: Be more curious about why I struggle to make true heart contact (i.e. being present in the body and having a fully open heart without withdrawing) with others.
ACTION STEP: My action step is to practice making active contact with my family members on a daily basis (without numbing out on my iPhone or TV during the process). I will practice active listening 1x a day for 15 minute increments, 5x a week.
THE KEY FOR ACTION STEPS
A C C O U N T A B I L I T Y
It is often easier to hold ourselves accountable to other people rather than ourselves.
When it comes to keeping a promise to ourselves, we struggle.
If you have a hard time keeping a promise to yourself, start an inquiry into this.
Before you can hold yourself accountable, you might need someone else to hold you accountable first.
SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS:
Wendy Wagoner has explored numerous avenues of disciplines over the last 30 years. She is a professional Awakening Coach, healer, and experienced workshop leader.
All Aims Attachment Theory Awakening Breathwork Childhood Colombia Connection Death Decluttering Events Fear Flowers Habits In The Moment Love Mindset Nature Peace Self Care Self-Care Travel Wildlife Workshop
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