I am so often reminded what it means to have a beginner’s mindset. Being a lifelong learner, I love to jump into new learning experiences that push me outside of my comfort zone. I love to grow and expand, and I love being a part of new communities of learners that I meet in each new journey. The challenge, however, is that with each new learning experience I embark on, I often find myself being critical of the experience. Thinking how I could do things differently or even better, and re-affirming that I already know so much more than I realized. In essence, I convince and reinforce the idea that I already have so much knowledge and a new learning experience can’t possibly increase what I already know.
When I get into this mindset, what I am actually doing is depriving myself of the opportunity to truly learn something new. To begin a new experience open to whatever comes in, and removing my self-reaffirming belief that I already know everything I need to know.
It’s an irony I face over and over again. The hunger for growth, and this fixed mindset that tells me I’ve already grown.
This roadblock meets me at each new challenge. Perhaps it is my own insecurity or imposter syndrome that rises to greet me and challenge my sense of security and confidence, or perhaps I am just as resistant to change as anyone else. I don’t know the answer for sure. But what I do know is that this mindset is familiar. It is comfortable. And it always takes me a few weeks to recognize what’s going on and reassess what I hope to gain from the latest challenge laying before me.
Essentially, once I name it, “Amanda, your fixed mindset is showing!” I can move past it and truly enter into a beginner’s mind. A place where I am open to grow, and willing to learn where I can. Where I opt-in to challenge because I know that even if I have no clue how to get out on the other side, I will figure it out along the way and find the path through.
Carol Dweck’s research published in Mindset demonstrates the clear differences between a beginner’s mindset and a fixed mindset. We’ve all worn them both at different times. But we must be aware of how we are showing up to our own lives. Are we willing to make mistakes and learn from them? Or are we already convinced of our superiority and therefore unwilling to practice failure.
Amanda is a purpose-driven entrepreneur on a mission to humanize the workplace. She supports businesses to create workspaces where people are inspired to show up with full heart and purpose every day. She also works with badass women to activate their courage and take their personal and professional lives to the next level.