It doesn’t happen to me very often, but being called a ‘star’ or ‘brilliant’ – feels good for the ego! When I look back on my sporting career, it may have been all too easy to assume I was a natural. I wasn’t. But I was determined, I was consistent, I was focused. And I turned up every day to train and improve. Those are the qualities that I attribute to my medals, trophies and titles.
So instead of words like ‘star’ and ‘a natural’ what else can we say to help those around us believe they can get their own medal or goal. To achieve we need a mindset that tells us that our growth is limitless – in other words, a set of thinking strategies that will equip us for life and all the challenges it throws our way.
Wonderful things that happen with a growth mindset – with the right approach, attitude, skills and behaviours I believe each of us CAN learn ANYTHING. And the news worth celebrating is that you don’t have to be a natural and you don’t have to get it right first time!
This news might be a little unpalatable for the perfectionists amongst us, but hold your nerve whilst I explain!
You see, in my experience, effort leads to progress and results. You know the one that goes “the harder and smarter I practice, the luckier I get” – well, it’s true! We can encourage students to work and train hard, to see challenges as an opportunity to learn.
Did you just roll your eyes? Yep – for some of us, our internal ‘judgment’ dialogue will be telling us that this is all fluff and nonsense – life it just unfair and I have no other option but to suck it up. Wrong!
I thought exactly that when I first came across this stuff because I was in a fixed mindset. But then I had a lightbult moment that I am eternally grateful for, and it went something like this.
What would it be like if I didn’t have to be the best? What if I didn’t have to win every competition? What if I didn’t get it right first time, every time? Perhaps I could enter more competitions – and I could learn while I was competing.
What if it was OK to not be able to lift weights that my neighbor might? Or to lose my ego, so that with a bit of banter and clumsiness, I slowly grasped the technique. My ‘ego’ would have had me loading up the bar and slinging it up into the air with a really cool expression – with injuries to follow!
And it was this light bulb moment that led me into a growth mindset that knows no boundaries. I was teachable and I wanted to learn.
And in my everyday life the same mindset helps me – you see, I have this ‘thing’ with words. I have to use every ounce of growth mindset to help me understand that it doesn’t matter if my Facebook posts or blogs aren’t perfect English. I had to dig deep to let spelling mistakes be open for criticism and potentially damage my professional reputation. If I dropped the need for perfectionism, I gave myself time and space to communicate with the people who are interested to learn from my ideas.
The growth mindset I was able to do things outside of my comfort zone – even if I am not a natural writer!