This Fall has been a wonderful season of new beginnings. I am living alone, I started my Positive Psychology class and I am an administrative assistant for a charity. Three new paths of life, all starting in the same month.
The transition to living alone came in small steps of preparation. My class was planned last June and is a fascinating study related to my field in Life Coaching. The administrative assistant position is completely new to me and was not really planned. It was a gift. A gift that has taken my mind to a new arena of learning. This arena is called a growth mindset.
As I grew up, I developed certain skills and talents. I began to see myself with a propensity to do well in certain areas and struggle in others. I always believed I was to develop the strengths and avoid the weaknesses and to pick a field of study that matched my strengths. I did well in my teaching career and moved on in life. As I did, I unconsciously put myself and others into categories of skill-sets,, talents, strengths and set paths in life. I had a fixed way of seeing myself and my capabilities.
My new job challenged that belief. I am faced with responsibilities related to technical computer skills, spreadsheets, website management, the world of technology. This aspect of the job required me to see myself capable of learning and embracing new skills. It challenged me to let go of comparing myself with others who were already functioning in the job and reframe my thinking toward my potential.
Two weeks after my job began, I learned the concept of mindset during my first onsite class in Positive Psychology. That is when the shift came. We explored the research on mindset theory and its impact on positivity, health and success. A mindset is a way of thinking that determines one’s behavior, outlook and mental attitude. People with a fixed mindset believe their abilities are established and can't change much regardless of how hard they try. People with a growth mindset know that they can learn and grow if they invest enough effort. Mindsets are learned and can change.
This was really good news to me. We dissected all aspects of this concept and applied it to our lives. We studied the research that supports it. I was suddenly aware of my fixed mindset in this area. I did have a growth mindset in other areas of my life, but my new job caused me to face an area and belief system that did not serve me well. I know now I can change my intelligence in any area. I tell myself: “ If I can't do this now, I can learn with time and effort.” This shift in mindset has really helped me to encourage my adult children with growth mindsets as they explore life paths.
As I said before, my new job is a gift, an unplanned gift. A gift that led to more freedom to embrace life with open arms and an open mind, regardless of age.
"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7