Hitting a wall: and what to do about it

I knew I was going to hit the wall. Hitting a wall: and what to do about it

The momentum was too much–missing a 12 inch drop meant I was already leaning forward. My body simply followed the path it had been propelled down.

The wall and I met with a crash. Blood flowed freely.

There aren’t many things that take me down psychologically, but smashing face-first into a solidly built stone wall threatened to. It wounded my pride. Yes, there was the reality of a concussion, a badly bruised knee, two prize fight worthy black eyes, and a fractured wrist. But the wound to my ego was huge–and that was the one that gave my mind reasons to start tenderly stroking fear.

Any two people can have similar events occur around them and experience them totally differently. What makes the difference? Most of it can be explained by mindset. If you’re not familiar with mindset, it’s commonly defined as a set of ideas and beliefs that shape how you see the world, your interactions with others, and your outlook on life.

Mindset is a simple idea developed by Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck. She posits that there are two types of mindset: fixed and growth.

In a fixed mindset, a person is more likely to:

Not deal with failure well
Avoid challenges
Hide mistakes
Engage in negative self-talk
Tell themselves they’re only good at one thing

Conversely, in a growth mindset, a person is likely to:

See failure as an opportunity to learn
Be open to new things and learning
Understand that new enterprises take time
Be aware of their weak areas and committed to working on them

Mindset is influenced by the attitudes of the people you grew up around–but it’s also permeable and flexible. You can learn to get a growth mindset anytime!

In my case, after recovering from my concussion, I still had enormous, swollen black eyes. I looked frightening and my fractured wrist meant I couldn’t write.  Consequently, I had to pause my digital TV show, Design Your Dream Business. My mind played old tapes from my childhood.

You’re getting too big for your britches. Who did you think you are? You can’t even watch where you’re going, who’s going to take advice from you!

I like to say that I throw a really good pity party, and I do. I hung balloons and streamers and felt really sorry for myself for over a week. I moped around the house.

I’m fortunate to have the world’s most supportive partner who reminded me gently who I actually am. Not who my mind wanted me to be, which was a person scared of failure and embarrassment.  My mind wanted to protect me from shame and humiliation by helping me hide from the world.

Forget that.

I took down my metaphorical balloons and streamers. I looked at how I could keep my business moving ahead (without any visuals of me for a while) and then I got to work doing those things.

In order to develop a growth mindset, practice the following:

  1. Watch your self-talk. Catch your phrasing of “I can’t do it” and add “yet.” “I can’t do it yet” is indicative that you believe you will in the future.
  2. Celebrate all wins, big and small. Too many people overlook the small steps that it takes to accomplish something. Celebrating your steps builds confidence that you can do what you set your mind to.
  3. Don’t see failure as an end. Failure means you tried. Get curious about what worked and what didn’t work. Find out what you can learn from the experience.
  4. Accept new experiences into your life. This can be anything from trying a new food, driving a new way home, or doing a new activity. Newness challenges us!

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