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Making Change: Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?

This month I want to talk to you all about CHANGE – and how you can use it to make your life better.

It is important to talk about change because, like every cheesy card for someone’s 50th birthday, we are reminded of the fact that CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. 

And there are a few types of change:

There is change that we want, and maybe don’t know how to get. 

There is change we don’t want and it is happening to us regardless, we can’t control it. 

There is change that we do want and can’t control, so maybe we don’t know how to be proactive with it. 

 

Change is always happening and we can be victims of it, or overwhelmed and confused by – or we can start to learn new ways to SHOW UP and be proactive with it.

One way we can be more proactive with change is how we think about our ability to change. This is where the GROWTH MINDSET comes in. 

[PREFER PODCASTS? YOU CAN LISTEN TO THIS POST ON EPISODE 49 OF THE SIMPLE ON PURPOSE PODCAST]

But first – how does that word ‘change’ make you feel?

Stressed out?

Pressured?
Ambivalent?

Encouraged?

 

Depending on the season of life you are in, change can FEEL overwhelming, motivating or not applicable. 

 

And depending on your view of yourself and your ability to change, this word can make you feel all those things as well. 

 

Just right here you can see that there are two circumstances that can alter your relationship to change:

 one is your life season, what is coming at you (the ball being thrown at you). 

And the other is your view of yourself, your ability to handle it (can you catch the ball?). 

 

But why does it even matter how we FEEL about change?

 

It matters because our feelings tell us what we think about it – they tell us about our mindset – and we’ll talk about this in just a minute

 

WHAT DOES CHANGE MEAN?

To me, CHANGE means doing something different. 

There are lots of ways to do something different:

Change your environment, your space, the situation around you

Change your mindset and the story you are telling yourself

Change the emotions you approach things with

Change your actions, behaviour or habits.

 

There is a strong focus on change being something that we do with our ACTIONS, but without doing work on our mindsets and emotions this will fizzle out for us. 

We can only rely on willpower for so long before we need to get back to addressing the mindset we are operating from. 

 

USING THE GROWTH MINDSET TO BECOME A CHANGE MAKER

This brings me to the mindset that all of us need in order to become changemakers. 

 

The Growth Mindset. 

This is something I heard about when my kids were toddlers – a mombestie told me about it and then I had ads on my social media for it. 

Weird right, they are always listening. 

But that’s ok, they are giving me the info I needed.  Because I see my kids struggling with the growth mindset, especially as they entered into their school years. 

 

So the growth mindset was coined by Carol Dweck. She was researching education and how kids learn and uncovered the growth mindset and fixed mindset. 

 

The research found that students with a growth mindset were more successful overall because they were determined, hopeful, and embrace challenges. 

 

AND I’m not going to get into it all here, but there is such good information out there about teaching your kids a growth mindset – google that if it is something you are interested in as a parent. 

 

So what is the growth mindset and the fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset assumes that intelligence/skill is limited.

That struggles mean you are deficient in this area. 

That setbacks are cues to give up. 

 

A growth mindset assumes that anyone can learn anything, with time and effort. 

The struggles are a natural part of the learning process. 

The setbacks show you where to dig in more. 

 

The growth mindset matters because our thoughts matter!

And the reason the mindset matters is because everything we do comes from our underlying beliefs. Even if we don’t see them or appreciate them, they are there running the show. 

 

And I say this based on the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Model used in therapy and life coaching that teaches us this:

 

An event triggers a thought.  

(I’ve decided to take up running. I go for a run and can barely run a block)

 

My Thoughts could be: I should be able to go way further. I should have that runners high people talk about, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just not a runner, running isn’t my thing)

 

A thought triggers an emotion. 

(Feeling defeated, unmotivated to run, disappointed in my physical abilities)

 

This emotion motivates our behaviours. 

(I won’t run again, probably won’t feel much motivation to take up most exercise regimes. If anyone tries to give me advice on it I will shut them down.)

 

The behaviours reinforce the original thoughts.

So it is like a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

 

HOW A GROWTH MINDSET CAN CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOURS

And when I can barely run a block (and this a true story for me, btw) and

THOUGHT: I tell myself ‘Of course I can’t, I just started for the first time ever today – these things take time – I can give myself time and do the hard work it takes to get better’

 

EMOTION: I will feel much more hopeful and empowered. 

 

BEHAVIOUR: I will upgrade my 90s walmart runners to something with actual foot support. I will download a good playlist. I will look up running videos. I will give myself one simple little goal….get that one block nailed down. 

 

RESULT: I will do the work and become someone who is learning to run. 

 

This is true. I could barely run a block and would push myself to do it if someone was out in the neighbourhood, then I would turn the corner and crash on the street. 

NOW, like four years later, of little runs leading into longer runs – I am home on the treadmill and I can run for a whole netflix show! And when I say run, I mean jog – just to put it all in perspective.  

 

But switching to a growth mindset can’t be that easy!

You are right, changing your thoughts is NOT easy. I always say it is like a river carving a new path through the rock. 

BUT it is possible!

And the struggles actually act as a gym for your brain muscles to get stronger. 

Yes, struggles make you stronger. 

 

SO, WHERE DO YOU SEE A FIXED MINDSET IN YOUR LIFE?

Where do you hide instead of seeking help?

Where do you give up?

Where do you lack confidence in yourself and your ability to handle or change a situation?

What challenges do you avoid?

Where do you tell yourself you are broken, or deficient?

Where do you get defensive about feedback?

Where do you feel threatened by the success of others and how it relates to you?

 

Here is what I want you to take away from this. 

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE

Get excited friend. If you have been feeling hopeless and stuck, let’s open up this month with the belief that it is POSSIBLE. You don’t need to see the path just yet, but get excited that there is one available to you. 

 

PRIORITIES INSTEAD OF PRESSURE

I know this mindset stuff can feel like ‘oh sure, if it’s that easy, why don’t I do it’ This is where your nerdy girlfriend and life coach comes in – we will walk through that. 

OR you might be thinking ‘if it is as simple as changing my mindset then all I see is all the areas of my life where I NEED to change things’. This is where grace and priorities come in. If you are feeling eager to be a changemaker – start in one simple place. 

 

STARTING IN ONE PLACE

I recommend using the Life Evaluation quiz to help you decide which are of your life to get started. And then still, keep things simple while you work on observing your mindsets and gaining up traction with making simple practical changes over the month.

 

JOIN THE MAKING CHANGE CHALLENGE

This post is part of a lesson from the Making Change Challenge – which is four quick lessons with worksheets sent to you for the month of February. You can join in at anytime and work through the content at your own pace. Simply sign up below. 

 

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