One of the things that TeamUp Coaching helped me with was to shift from a more fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
In the TeamUp Triads we encourage taking on active practices in order to transform and improve elements in our lives that we want to change. It really only is possible to change by making a conscious effort and believing that it is possible to change.
Carol Dweck Author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success introduced the concepts of a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset. When we operate from a fixed mindset we believe abilities are innate and unchangeable, we see failure as permanent and we take criticism personally, whereas when we operate from a growth mindset we believe that abilities can improve through practice, we see failure as a chance to grow and take criticism as a chance to improve. Carol Dweck writes: “Everyone is actually a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets, and that mixture continually evolves with experience. A “pure” growth mindset doesn’t exist, which we have to acknowledge in order to attain the benefits we seek.”
I think many of us get trained into developing a fixed mindset as we enter the education system that encourages us to focus on what we’re good at, improve that and eventually build a career in one field of work, advancing step by step.
Growing up in Denmark where the school system is fairly innovative and focused on a broad range of human facets I still fell into believing that I had certain talents and that at 30 it was too late to learn new skills. I recently looked through old photos on Facebook and when I stumbled on a selfie from 2012 I was struck by the comments; a friend had written something about how the photo should be my cover for a record and I replied “haha maybe if I knew how to play an instrument or sing.” Reading this now I can see how much I have changed since then. I look at myself with compassion because I know how fearful that woman was back then, and how I had strong limiting beliefs about myself. Today almost seven years later I do play an instrument and I sing a lot. It’s not a change that happened overnight, no, far from that. It happened by taking small steps and practicing regularly.
Being born into this world as a human being entails constant growth and development. Just look at kids, they’re constantly trying, failing, practicing, and improving. The tricky part about learning new skills as a grown up is that we know when we’re not really that good and we’re so intellectually aware that we judge ourselves. Someone told me that you need to give yourself permission to suck at something in order to learn to do it well. When you operate from a growth mindset you worry less about coming across as smart instead you put more energy into learning.
In the work I do with women now I use movement, dance, sound, meditation, play and more, and so often I hear women tell me “oh you have a beautiful voice, I can’t sing” or “I’m not a dancer” or “I’m not good a meditating” - and I get it, because I used to tell myself something like that. It’s often easier to see how others limit themselves through false beliefs or narrow mindsets than to know it about yourself. One of the reasons the TeamUp Triads can be so potent is exactly because you are helped to uncover blind spots by the facilitator and the other participants.
I’m currently putting together an online course for women where we specifically work on opening up to a larger sense of possibility and freedom by shedding light on limiting beliefs, cultivating creativity, self-expression and more. Having operated from such a limiting view on myself and knowing the immense sense of freedom and lightness to be gained from expanding the view makes me feel strongly about the work I do. The first way to begin changing is by applying a growth mindset when we’re faced with something we would like to do but feel we can’t. We do that by saying I can’t do this yet, and then define a practice that can help us build the skill/new behavior.
Carol Dweck also writes: “When we face challenges, receive criticism, or fare poorly compared with others, we can easily fall into insecurity or defensiveness, a response that inhibits growth. Our work environments, too, can be full of fixed-mindset triggers. A company that plays the talent game makes it harder for people to practice growth-mindset thinking and behavior, such as sharing information, collaborating, innovating, seeking feedback, or admitting errors. To remain in a growth zone, we must identify and work with these triggers.”
I believe the more you can surround yourself with people that support you, with whom you can let your guards down, express when you’re triggered, celebrate when you’ve taken a step in the right direction, voice your fears and laugh a little when it goes south, the easier it is to change, develop and grow. And TeamUp was definitely part of that for me.
Here’s an invitation to ask yourself: Where are you holding yourself back because you believe you’re not good at something? What a small step can you take to start practicing this new skill/behavior?
And most importantly: Do you believe change is possible?