How the Growth Mindset Allowed Me to Step Into a New Chapter of My Life
My personal tips on how you can do it too.
I am writing this article after a long break. Well, it’s actually been just a bit over a month, but since writing is such an important part of me, it definitely felt much longer.
Recently, I have been expanding my area of interest and started dabbling into public speaking. Last summer, a friend of mine suggested I started holding workshops on psychology topics but I felt like it wasn’t the right time. Yet.
Last month though, the company I work for as a Psychologist asked me if I was willing to hold some workshops for various corporations. As soon as they made that suggestion I was like…Uhm, ok, sounds good. But then, a few days later, my inner critique started popping up with various concerns. I expected this to happen because it always does as I step into a new area of growth and expansion, leaving behind my comfort zone. In the past few years, I have learned to befriend my inner voice and so, I started working on my presentations.
Thus, I started taking classes on public speaking and studying various speakers I resonated with for tips and tricks on how to engage the people attending my workshops and make sure I delivered the information they most needed. And so, my journey began.
Honestly, one of the main reasons I was afraid of public speaking was my fear of criticism. As a recovering perfectionist, I am still quite sensitive to critique and public exposure definitely increases the chances of that. So, every time I asked for feedback at the end of the workshops, my heart would shrink a bit with fear and anticipation. What did they think of me? Did I make a fool of myself? Was I able to deliver good quality and applicable information to my public?
Soon enough, I started noticing spiraling down and I realized how counterproductive that was.
And so, I realized the importance of having a growth mindset and how liberating and enhancing that could be. Throughout the years, I have definitely been working on my mindset through various techniques but it’s only when I was willing to put myself through uncomfortable situations I was able to actually put them into practice.
So, what is a growth mindset?
According to PositivePsychology.com, a growth mindset is the understanding that abilities and understanding can be developed through our lives if we put in the time and effort. As opposed to a fixed mindset which is basically saying that our skillsets are predetermined and thus cannot be further enhanced.
The difference in mindset is noticeable in one’s behavior as well. Those with fixed mindsets are more likely to put in less time and effort to accomplish a certain task or avoid learning new things because they level under the premise ‘you either have it or you don’t’. whereas the ones with a growth mindset are dedicating more time and energy towards accomplishing a certain goal and are more likely to engage in new tasks.
The growth mindset ones are less concerned about how people perceive them, less worried about having something to prove or appearing smart or flawless, and thus more open to feedback.
In the fixed mindset, people are less flexible and tend to go on a self-defeating spiral of thoughts. Instead of seeing challenges as an opportunity to grow, they tend to perceive them as obstacles and see feedback as a personal attack.
Now, of course, it is easier said than done. It is very easy to talk about them and make claims about which one we should adopt, but how do we actually do it?
“The mind is just like a muscle — the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.”
― Idowu Koyenikan
With practice and perseverance. The more you put yourself out there, the more you build resilience.
Here are a few tips that helped me last month that I highly recommend.
How to Change Your Mindset
1. Say yes to new opportunities coming your way.
Making vision boards and wishing for things to happen is not going to translate into physical reality unless you embrace the opportunities coming your way. Avoiding engaging with them is a form of resistance and illusory self-protection of not getting hurt if things don’t work out as planned.
2. Cultivate self-awareness.
Become aware of when a new opportunity presents itself and take a moment for a self-check-in. What are your thoughts on it? What are your fears?
3. Talk to your fears.
I know, it might sound strange, but our fears are also a part of us that are trying to keep us safe. Take a moment to sit down and see where you can locate the fear in your body. Have you had a previous unpleasant memory you are associating stepping out of your comfort zone with? Befriending and integrating our fears is much more productive than trying to ignore them and shove them down.
4. Once you become aware of your thoughts, see whether they are helpful to your growth or not.
‘I am bad at painting’ could be reframed as ‘I can get better at painting if I practice every week.’
‘Their feedback is unfair, they don’t even know how long it took me to put together this presentation’ can be reframed as ‘I am open to constructive feedback and see what I can take away from it to improve for the next time’
‘I’ll never take on yoga, I’m so inflexible’ can be reframed as ‘Even 10 minutes of yoga a day can make me more flexible than I was yesterday’.
5. Adopt the curiosity of a child and become more flexible.
We sometimes tend to be so stuck in our patetrens and expectations on how things should unfold that we hold on too tight to an outcome. Becoming less rigid and more curious instead can make us more flexible to deal with an unexpected outcome.
6. Look at failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Start looking at what didn’t go well as something you can work on and improve next time.
7. Be open to feedback.
Constructive criticism can do wonders for our improvement if we don’t take it as a personal attack on our self-worth.
Last but not least, seek out inspiration. When we see something that we admire in others it is because it already exists within us. Allow yourself to be more in tune with your authentic self and follow your curiosity.
Stepping into a new chapter of your life can be quite scary and overwhelming but as Joseph Campbell once said, ‘the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek’. I had this quote on a post-it on my wall whilst in college and I hold it very close to my heart because it is so true.
We often get nudges from the Universe on which way to take but we often dismiss them because we are too afraid. We hold ourselves back from achieving our fullest potential in this lifetime. All it takes is to give ourselves permission to be who we are meant to be.
When you allow yourself to shine, you also inspire others to do the same. Keeping yourself small doesn’t do you any favors. Adopt a beginner’s mindset. You’ve got to start somewhere.
I’ll leave you with one of my absolute favorite all-time quotes. Lengthy but truly powerful:
“Do More. Be More. You were made for more! Take all the chances and leaps. Every single step of the journey is a maze and never a straight line. You will sometimes take the wrong turns, make some bad choices, become helplessly confused and in need of direction, but guess what? As long as you don’t give quitting a second thought, all of that process of discovering your path, bettering your craft and consistently pushing on, is a beautiful adventure that will surely lead you to unbelievable results! You will become all that you never thought you will be! You will do all that you never thought you could do! You will also become that inspiration that others need to keep moving. It’s a beautiful process. Enjoy it! You’re never too late. Put no expiry date on your dreams.”
― Chinonye J. Chidolue
I would love to know if you have had any experiences when you adopted a growth mindset to step into the next chapter of your life! Let me know if you have any tips that have helped you along your journey.
Thank you for reading! I appreciate you!