What goals have you set for yourself and how will you know you’ve reached them?
When you drop 40 pounds? When you make your next 50K? When you never yell at your kids again?
Do you have this key to success?
When I first started working with a coach, I had a long list of things I wanted to change.
I used to ask him, “How do I fix this?” And later, “I thought I was past this! When will I be done with this issue?” I’d say, “I just want to get this handled and move on.”
My coach humoured me for a bit then he told me something that has stuck with me.
It’s not about “handling” or “getting past” something.
There is no arriving. There is progress and there is growth.
I’ve learned first-hand that expecting to get past an issue for good is a great way to get frustrated and stay stuck. Instead of trying to “be fit,” “get thin” or become a “patient parent”, start thinking of your success in terms of doing better than yesterday learning a new skill or getting back up after a fall.
This is called having a growth mindset and it’s a game-changer.
This is the idea that you are better served using your energy to learn and stick with your goal, rather than labelling outcomes as success or failure.
A great quote which exemplifies this growth mindset is Thomas Edison’s when describing his trials to develop the lightbulb,
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Most of us would have given up! The difference here is that Edison wasn’t as concerned with his lack of success as he was with solutions. He reframed what others would call failure and he didn’t lose
momentum. It was all part of the process.
Fall seven times and stand up eight. – Japanese Proverb
When you focus on development and effort, you tend to feel more in control. Your success markers become different, and in the end, not only are you happier but you are more successful as well.
When I really grasped this idea that I was never going to be completely free of a particular issue, life became easier. Paying attention to my growth rather than feeling I was never good enough for not having arrived made me realize how much I had actually accomplished.
How can you make this shift toward focusing on growth?
Simply this. Recognize that you have a choice in how you interpret setbacks. Focus on learning and persistence. Release the notion of only one measure of success. Rather than feeling out of control or ill-prepared you say, “I don’t know how yet, but I can find out!”
How might this apply to parenting?
When you get better at doing this yourself, you are giving an incredible gift to your children. A child who sees a parent consistently facing obstacles with determination and confidence will themselves confidently handle roadblocks. What an incredible advantage moving into adulthood! Money, education and connections are not the only advantages young people need to be successful. A growth mindset is imperative to long-term success.
Once you learn how to make this shift, you experience less fear of mistakes. You become more accountable for your own results in life.
Now imagine your child having grown up knowing only persistence and learning.
About the Author
Alison Smith helps parents decode their child's behaviour, shift their perceptions of those behaviours, remain calm, and foster a closer, more cooperative relationship with their child; all while holding limits and high expectations.
To learn more about Alison, go to: AlisonSmithCoaching.com
To connect with Alison and her community, go to: www.facebook.com/groups/ParentLearningForum/