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Growth Mindset is everything…Or is it?

I wanted to share with you some of our experiences and thoughts as we explore our practice and go on this journey together. We have been told that in order to have a successful website that we need to write blog entries regularly – I don’t really care about that – I do think it is important though to tie in what we are doing with the things that come up in everyday life. As our friends, clients and colleagues it is important that you understand who we are, what we are doing and most importantly – why we are asking you to join us in our educational revolution…

Growth Mindset is everything…Or is it?

Quite frankly, no it isn’t! Carol Dweck is the pioneer of Growth Mindset theory and through her years of practice she has proven the power and success of her mantra. My question is – where does that leave the young people we work with who don’t fully adopt a growth mindset? Are they destined to fail? Will they always feel bad about their lives/education/work? I certainly hope not. I hope that with the work that we do we can enable our clients to adopt a growth mindset in the areas they need to – it might be something simple: one small change that they make which will make their day/work/education a little bit better. That is the start…the seed…the beginning of a change.
These words would be pretty meaningless if I didn’t share my own story with you to put in context what I am discussing: My journey has been a long and difficult one which has finally brought me to a place of happiness and value. Getting to this place has taken sacrifice, determination, stress, tears, fear and compromise – sounds brilliant doesn’t it?! What is important to remember is that each person’s journey is different. I began my journey with a completely closed mindset and it has taken an epic change within me to make this shift. Only now am I seeing the rewards. My mission is now to ensure that as many young people as possible have someone like me stood in front of them telling them that things can be different and that you are your most powerful weapon!
My life teaching full time in education ends in a completely clichéd way…Having worked as an LSA for 3 years I wanted to push myself further and develop my career. The school I was in was very supportive in putting me forward for a salaried position whilst I was training – I was already approaching 30 and could not afford to live as a student. My training year was full of ups and downs – professional and personal – which meant that whilst I completed my training as an ‘Outstanding’ student I was also painfully aware of the realities of life getting in the way! Moving into my NQT year, I thought that I was happy, I thought I was doing well – dedicated; jumping through all of the hoops to do a good job; going the extra mile to ensure the provision for my students was good and that I was enriching their experience through voluntary trips and after school clubs etc. The school showed further confidence in me by moving me into a more pressured year group – this is where I fell apart – I no longer felt like I was doing a good job. No matter how hard I worked I could not cover all of the expectations and I was not enjoying the experience of putting my pressures of getting results onto my pupils. This continued to get worse and was affecting my professional and personal life. The school began to show a lack of confidence in me and I had lost my confidence in them (a lot more was going on but that’s not what this blog is about).
I became a common statistic of the education system – another teacher who could not hack the pressures of the job.
I resigned.
I would love to say this was the start of my growth mindset revolution – it kind of was but it was not an instant jump. What followed has been a long process of unpicking, theorising and trying a different way to think and live. The biggest catalyst for my shifting mindset and success has been a combination of judgement and luck. At this point you might think ‘great, all I have to do is get lucky – well that never happens!’ but it isn’t like I’ve won the lottery – I now see myself as lucky because I am in a very unique position in my work. I can combine all of the things that I do to give me an interesting, flexible and rewarding working life. This was a conscious decision and one which has proven to be my greatest show of a growth mindset to date.
Am I rich? No. In fact in real terms I have taken a massive pay cut. However, my life is enriched by the different things I do which for the most part all complement each other.
Am I successful? No. Our company is just starting out and no-one knows we exist yet. I have to do a minimum wage job to supplement my earnings and I am at the bottom of the ladder at 33 years old. However, I now love Sundays and have the time and energy to do the things I want to do.
Am I a person with a full growth mindset? No. I am a firm believer of the power of a growth mindset but I also believe that it can be compartmentalised to what matters most. Obviously, the more areas of your life you adopt a growth mindset the more success you will see. My advice to all of our readers is to start small – start with one thing. One small step which will change your outlook on things:
Is it your best work? Have you done everything in your power to check? Can it be improved? Improve it!

What can you do if you get up earlier? Can you save £20 extra a week? If you show more punctuality and enthusiasm will you be more recognised for your work?
What can you do to reach your goal? Is there another way to get what you want? Think outside the box!

Am I happy? Yes.
Can you be too? Absolutely!
Until next time…Chris x

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