Do you have a Growth Mindset?
For the past week I’ve been fighting off one of the bugs that is doing the rounds (not Covid), so this weekend I had to cancel my plans to attend a family wedding and get dressed up for Halloween in favour of sitting on the sofa catching up on Doctor Who. I’m not very good at doing nothing and usually need additional sensory input so between naps I dug out some half-finished craft projects to work on. There was a cross stich of my favourite Entrapta quote and some knitting to sew up and add buttons to, but as I was finishing them off, I realised how easy it was to focus on the bits that weren’t perfect.
There was a time when these small imperfections would have made me either give up or feel I had to unpick and fix the mistakes. Indeed, there have been times when fear of getting it wrong has stopped me from even attempting something in the first place, because if it isn’t perfect then there’s no point. I knew this wasn’t a helpful way of looking at things, but I struggled to challenge it for many years. One of the things that helped me to become a recovering perfectionist was when my Aunt introduced me to Carol Dweck’s book Mindset (there’s also a great Ted Talk), which is where I learnt the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset. I was living with a fixed mindset, one that said my ability was static and unchangeable. What I continue to work on now is developing my growth mindset, one that tells me that I can improve with practice and effort.
One of the things I love most about Growth Mindset, is that the research tells us that just knowing it exists can help us to develop it, so reading this post may even be your first step in changing your own mindset! Without starting the shift from a fixed to a growth mindset, there is so much I wouldn’t have done, like training as a counsellor and setting up my own private practice. Our potential is often much more than we think if we only give ourselves space to get things wrong and learn. I often tell clients that perfection doesn’t exist, we’re all works in progress.
What would you do if it was ok to do it wrong?