As a parent and entrepreneur, COVID-19 shifted my daily routine and mindset. I was having a hard time focusing due to constant interruptions at home and the unestablished boundaries. My mind went to a fixed mindset, witnessing sad loses and emotionally experiencing setbacks. Yet I also received great lessons.–The fixed mindset definition you’ve been looking for lies ahead.
After going through my dark space, I was reminded of the importance of having and developing a growth mindset to focus on the good!
Before the pandemic, I had focused on being a Mindset and Communication Coach and Trainer. One of my dreams was to work from home and be able to attend all my third-grader’s school activities. I wanted to be present for my daughter.
But then school closed. I continued with my booked virtual trainings, expert interviews, and promo work. I was going back and forth between work and helping my daughter with school. In my view, things were great!
But there were some cracks. I admit that having everyone at home and no longer having my quiet space was not my favorite. I could hear my husband
talking during his meetings in the other room. My daughter’s class would suddenly get loud while I was trying to record professional interviews. I felt stressed, but I was determined to be resilient. I ended up giving myself permission to being OK with not being perfect. That was difficult.
I heard parents struggled. Some quit their job or got a sabbatical to help their kids with virtual school. I remember thinking, “We are good.”
Boy, I was in complete denial.
Three months in, things started to change. My daughter needed more help, frustration began, and one parent had to give in. That parent was me. The idea of quitting what I had created, what I had worked so hard for, hit me hard. I went into depression; I had low energy, no motivation, and I just wanted to stay in bed.
I realized I had gone to a dark place; I had gone to a “fixed mindset.”
Fixed Mindset Definition:
A fixed mindset is basically when you give up easily, ignore feedback or take feedback personal, and you believe your abilities are fixed (no room for growth). I felt that it was either parenting or my coaching practice. You see, here is an important principle - it’s getting out of the either/or. When you’re in an either/or, you’re in a fixed mindset. I was not seeing possibility and I was not focusing on the good. In that moment I thought my coaching practice was completely over. Then I remembered what a great mentor had shared, “every setback, every disappointment, or mistake is a learning opportunity.” I suddenly got that the lesson, here was a learning opportunity that I was not seeing in that moment, but at least I am aware of it for now. The first step of changing to a growth mindset is Self-Awareness.
A person with a growth mindset on the other hand will persevere, put effort in
learning a new skill, embrace change, accept feedback as an opportunity to grow, and will have a positive outlook. A person with a growth mindset will bring more creativity, possibility, curiosity in order to find solutions to generate, contribute, or level up.
Eventually, with support from my husband and community of powerful women, I shifted.
Here are 5-Growth Mindset practices. My intention in sharing these is to remind you that it is possible for a single person who is experiencing a setback or disappointment to develop growth mindset abilities:
- Develop new skills.
- Make decisions based on your priority values.
- Live in the questions of what is possible.
- Reach out for support.
- Step out of your comfort zone.
Develop new skills. Having a growth mindset means you believe you can grow your abilities or skills. During this pandemic I took advantage of mastering the skill of developing a relationship with myself, how to have self-compassion, self-love, and acquiring a professional certificate. The skills that I learned, I absolutely love and enjoy teaching my clients. This was a new opportunity that opened up for me. If you decide to practicing Self-Awareness– I suggest you start by tuning in to how you are feeling, or asking yourself what you are needing or desiring (in my view, we women tend to do too much and then forget about ourselves and our needs). Part of self-awareness is also becoming aware of how we behave with others (who are you “being” around others – loving, empathetic, insecure, angry…).
Make decisions based on your priority values. Values are your personal beliefs, worldviews, and what matters most. Some of my priority values are family/respect/support. Therefore, when it comes to making decision that involves my family, it is easy. Family and creating memorable moments are high values for me. Future vision values are also important. You want to make decisions based on what supports your future values and goals. For example, one of my future values is integration-wholeness which is defined as the inner capacity to organize the personality (mind and body) into a coordinated and harmonious totality. This value reminds me of who I get to be and how I get to show that behavior (of who I want to be) as a parent, wife, and entrepreneur (present, kind, congruent, respectful, empathetic…). Here is a question that can help determine your future decisions. Is what you are deciding or stepping into supporting your future goals, the things you want to experience, and create
Live in the questions. This is where you step into creativity and possibility. Living in the questions means having a positive outlook and not an ‘it’s-over’ attitude. It means stepping into curiosity with reflection questions. For example, instead of thinking “How can I make time for dream development with so many other responsibilities taking my time.” I invite you to step into possibility and curiosity by not just asking yourself powerful reflective questions but living the question. For example, “I wonder how I can balance supporting my family in a kind manner while contributing to my dream work with easy, flow, and not overwhelm? I wonder what life would be like if I lived in a world where everybody could get their needs met? I wonder what structures I can build to balance supporting my family, accomplishing my tasks, and dream work?” Living in possibility and having a Growth-Mindset is stepping into “both/and” versus the Fixed-Mindset of “either/or.”
Reach out for support. Being alone when feeling down is not supportive. If you are not part of a community or a Facebook group, I suggest looking for one that empowers and supports. Modern Match has an authentic group that has monthly Empowerment hour meetings that uplift and support females. Being part of a female community of powerful women has given me support, a safe space to share what I was feeling/going through, and a sense of belonging. Having a supportive space to express yourself, get feedback, and support can be beneficial for ones’ growth and well-being.
Step out of your comfort zone. Growth only happens when we step into the things that scare us or make us feel uncomfortable. Knowing that the things that scare us are opportunities for growth, should be a boost. I admit I’ve had moments where I stayed in my comfort zone. A few examples of why we stay in our comfort zone are the following: fear of being judged, not feeling good enough, not feeling valued, feeling alone, feeling you don’t belong or not worthy…. My point here is that we get to shift to a growth mindset by developing the necessary skills to help us shift out of the old stories, old beliefs, or patterns (that don’t serve) and stretch yourself out of your comfort.
Today, I feel fortunate to have had this break that gave me the opportunity to parent, which is a continuous learning skill for me. My daughter will be in high school before I know it. I decided that right now was the time to focus on family, while developing new skills that will support my business practice as a coach.
My biggest lesson was to pay attention to what gets to be created next. A mentor shared, “you can’t grow kale in the winter, it’s not the season.” This taught me that you cannot force something that cannot be flourished yet, but I can prepare for when the season arrives.
This pandemic cracked us open. Some hit bottom. Others soared, crashed, then rebounded. In my view, it was all part of a journey of growth and rebirth, growth-mindset vs. fixed-mindset.
In summary, having a growth-mindset indicates:
- You have developed or continue to develop self-awareness. With self-awareness, you immediately see stories that you are stepping into and who you are being. When these stories don’t serve you because of who you’re being in the moment, it is time to shift out of the old patterns and false beliefs; and step into the new you.
- Continue to develop new skills to support your growth.
- Make decisions that support your future goals.
- Reflect and live in the questions of what is possible.
- Reaching out for support (not only when feeling down but when needing any kind of help). Establish or become part of a community that empowers you.
- Step out of our comfort zone, that’s where the real growth begins.
And last I am here to support. If you have any questions or want to learn more about mindset, inner growth, emotional intelligence, creating new structures and habits, breaking through old patterns/beliefs, and creating new beliefs. Feel free to DM me or email me to schedule a time to chat.
Sonia Ferrel is a Personal Development-Leadership Coach and Trainer with 15 years of Leadership experience. She supports the growth potential for emerging professionals and women who want to live a better life, and advance in their career. Reach out to Sonia via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook, and LinkedIn.