There are certain certainties that exist when you grow up under a fixed mindset. You can be no more than you ever are and all that you are is who you are now. Kinda cryptic right?!? I know…that’s how I felt as a child. Living a life preset for me, the origin of which was a mystery, and no amount of intelligence, which I was often told I had, could crack the code that was my story.
I, along with the other hundreds of thousands of children raised by fixed mindset parents, (which I say with love as they did the absolute best they could with the information they had) was told that I was a lot of things and that because of those inherent already defined and set traits I was going to be a certain person. My brother was raised under the same mindset but his given “talents” were polar opposite to mine. I was defined early as a book worm…”amazing, look how brilliant she is, she is only # years old (insert ridiculously young age to read), she is going to be lawyer or a doctor, she is so smart and so perfect and so tidy and so well-behaved (read quiet, conforming and non confrontational), she always gets perfect marks, and when she does her chores they’re perfect, her room is perfect. When I … you get the idea…the reality is I am no longer that perfect girl and as a result there was a while there when I didn’t know who I was. (a quick side note…these words represent the feelings I have from my memories as a child…I am not positive those are the exact words that I heard but the reality is that is how I remember them)
If you have peeked at my About Page you may have come across the term Multipotentialite…which I did not create (that was Emilie Wapnick) but I totally embrace as the ultimate definition for my new growth mindset self. I have found my path and I realize that it’s every path, any path, all the paths…I choose not to choose a confining definition for myself. And a huge part of this process of converting my self from a fixed mindset person to a growth mindset person was overcoming perfectionism (which I am still recovering from…pretty sure it will be a lifelong journey).
My perfectionist self exhibited all of the textbook traits, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of starting (anything), fear of disappointing others, in constant search of external approval, the consummate fixer of others, the know it all (who constantly feared not knowing enough) and I carried myself with confidence (observed sometimes as an air of arrogance) that felt fake and unsteady due to a large lack of self-love and self-appreciation.
How did I do it you ask?
How did I decide to be a growth mindset person who consistently sees my potential and strives to learn and enjoy all that life has to offer?
To be honest I learned how to listen. I learned how to translate Bertha’s words from negative to positive (in case you don’t know Bertha is the name I gave my inner-critic). I got out of my own way, and when I learned something new I paid close attention to what was happening inside me, physically, mentally and emotionally . As I mentioned in other posts, the feeling I began to notice can only be described as euphoric!
I stopped focusing my energy outside and turned inside to where I was literally screaming to be heard. I listened and I liked what I heard so I decided to take the time to pay attention everyday. For me I listen best when I am writing, for others it may be through quiet meditation or yoga or walking or whatever…the key is to find the window to your soul open it up, stick your head in and fucking listen!
A while back I was tested…
If you follow my blog, or we are friends on FB, you may have seen a post I wrote (a while ago now…)called “What I saw at the bottom of my wine glass” I feel that it is the most profound and vulnerable piece I have written so far. The moment I posted it I held my breath and second guessed myself HARD…Then (of course) the most beautiful thing happened…wonderful people with open and caring souls read my words and felt my meaning and found deep and profound meaning for themselves. I was unbelievably proud of myself for the courage to not only write it, but also put it, me, out for the world to see. I am so grateful for the supportive words of encouragement, love and for being witness to the bravery and vulnerability shared with me as a result. But that wasn’t the test…
I share this with you now because if you did not have a chance to read that post, your chance to do so is gone forever. Shortly after it was posted the server that hosts my website crashed and when they restored the site with their backups my perfect post was not a part of that. In that moment when I knew the piece was gone, I felt a huge sense of loss, a painful (although fleeting) gut wrench that I had, first of all not backed up my shit…seriously who doesn’t back their shit up…apparently me…and secondly I thought… “What if every piece I write from now on sucks in comparison and no one will know how great I was (for a minute)?”
I began to doubt my ability, doubt every beautiful loving word of positive praise…Bertha was doing her best to make a grand appearance…in one hour I had brought myself to a dark place but there the truest most authentic part of me reminded me that the photo that I had set for that post was “problems are messages”…
I took a few deep breaths and told Bertha to FUCK OFF!
Although I was pretty sad that my work had literally disappeared it wasn’t long before I remembered why I had written it in the first place…for me writing is the reason. The journey to a greater understanding of Self is the ultimate goal. The beautiful and glorious by-product of each post I write, of my effort, is that a piece of my soul is shared with others. I believe that the people who were supposed to read my words did and I am very happy with that.
I am a recovering perfectionist; I am and will likely never be cured of the uncomfortable moment of self-doubt when Bertha says I am not good enough and that I am bound to screw up eventually. The point is,
Bertha is a part of me, but that doesn’t mean she gets to be in charge!
One hour after losing my work I decided to take charge, I decided that what I had created had served it’s purpose…
1 – I shared my story that needed to see the light of day in order to no longer have a hold on me (and not much beats that) and
2 – I believe that the positive energy created by those who read that post will have a bigger impact than the words themselves could ever have.
The message that this problem sent me was that
authenticity is the new perfection.
I choose to honour the work I do, not by remembering the exact words but by sensing the knowledge I gained from writing it and I believe that those that read it will not need to re-read it to retain the insight that they gained. The value of my work will never be found in one piece, my value is created by doing the work. The same is true for you my friend. You are more than the sum or your parts. You are more than the people you fix or the knowledge you have retained. You are more than the extremes of success and failure. You are the work and your value can be found through reflecting on and truly listening to what is happening within you, reconnecting with the joyful and authentic pieces of yourself that have been scattered throughout your life and recreating yourself with a growth mindset. It’s time to start living the shit out of your amazing life!!
I believe in you and I can’t wait to cheer you on!
Click here to let me know how I can help!
P.S If you would like to read more about my ongoing battle with Bertha check this out!
P.P.S. If you want to know more about being a Multipotentialite and/or Fixed & Growth Mindsets click here and check out Emilie Wapnick and Carol Dweck!
P.P.P.S If you are interested in following along with this crazy adventure please be sure subscribe to my blog (If you are reading this on your phone make sure to scroll to the end of the page to sign up)
All goods things are rooted in love, laughter and learning!