This section will not be visible in live published website. Below are your current settings:
Current Number Of Columns are = 1
Expand Posts Area =
Gap/Space Between Posts = 10px
Blog Post Style = card
Use of custom card colors instead of default colors =
Blog Post Card Background Color = current color
Blog Post Card Shadow Color = current color
Blog Post Card Border Color = current color
Publish the website and visit your blog page to see the results
Ordinary People Taking Action
Back to Blog
A bracelet that I received several years ago is inscribed, “live what you love”. Not only do I wear this bracelet every single day, it also became the inspiration for the tagline of my business, Thinking People Consulting.
Let’s back up a few years. I had just given notice to a job that I loved, working with people I loved and for the most part, doing what I loved. I wasn’t, however, in an environment that I loved. It’s only looking back that I can see it clearly. I was going to work every day to an environment that wasn’t allowing me to feel supported, to stay engaged and to feel valued. As I was leaving this job, my colleague gave me the bracelet, with a message that said, “Go live what you love in an environment that you also love. While searching for that environment don’t forget your magic, your strengths, your dedication and your commitment. You’ll move mountains, oh the places you’ll go.” The last part of that note is from my absolute favorite book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss. “Oh, the places you’ll go” is the quote on the second bracelet this same colleague gave me, on the same day. I wear both bracelets daily.
Shortly after starting to wear my bracelets, I read what is now one of my favorite books – Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck. I highly recommend it. As I read the book, it became clear to me that while I hold what is called a growth mindset, I was working in an environment with a fixed mindset. The fixed mindset, according to Dweck, “creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. While the growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies and help from others. Although people may differ in every which way – in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”
While I loved my “old” job, the environment was one in which a person’s potential was quickly judged with little to no information. This environment also penalized mistakes, operated in status quo, celebrated ego and limited growth opportunities and stretch assignments. As the person responsible for training, there was a strong tension between the environment I was working in – and what I was hired to do. In my role as a trainer, I was told I was supposed to create an environment where everyone had potential, mistakes were learning opportunities, status quo was challenged, egos were kept in check and there were unlimited growth opportunities and stretch assignments. The tension between the environment and my job was real.
I would come across a similar tension in two more roles. Each time I came across it, I would become more and more deflated, wondering if I was the issue. It felt like a personal failure, and I questioned whether I had the ability to be successful. The self-doubt was high, and the negative self-talk was strong. Over time, I came to believe I was not good enough and I stopped stretching myself. I fell into a world where I operated in status quo, fed the egos of leaders above me, and stopped thriving in challenging situations. While I wore the “live what you love” bracelet every day, I was definitely not living by its words.
People ask me why I insist on reading actual books, not books on my Kindle. It’s because I keep the books I love – TONS of them stacked around our house – on shelves, in closets – everywhere. I tend to go back to books I love over and over again. As the summer winds down and the kids get ready to head back to school, it becomes a time for me to refocus and reprioritize. It was a year ago that I grabbed Dweck’s book off my shelf again and reread it.
In her book, on page 7, she asks a question:
“To give you a better sense of how the two mindsets [fixed and growth] work, imagine – as vividly as you can – that you are a young adult having a really bad day: One day, you go to a class that is really important and that you like a lot. The professor returns the midterm papers to the class. You got a C+. You’re very disappointed. That evening on the way back home, you find that you’ve gotten a parking ticket. Being really frustrated, you call your best friend to share your experience but are sort of brushed off. What would you think? What would you feel? What would you do?”
Dweck goes on to compare the fixed mindset response to the growth mindset response. Rereading this section of the book, I realized that my answers were aligned to the fixed mindset. I was losing my growth mindset. This realization immediately caused a trigger in me, as I was fully aware of the limitations of a fixed mindset. And, given that this was my second time reading the book – I knew I was headed down a path that I didn’t want to be on.
Changing your thoughts and feelings is no easy task – it requires a lot of self-reflection, interpersonal awareness, exceptional patience and, if you’re fortunate enough to have a good coach, a strong support system. It’s been almost exactly a year and I will tell you that I believe I am back in a growth mindset – I am back to taking risks, confronting challenges, and continuously learning. It didn’t happen easily, and it still requires focus. I know I am back in the growth mindset though because although I still have challenges and painful experiences, I try not to let these setbacks define me. I face the situation, deal with it and learn from it.
Here are some things I think about daily, thanks to Dweck's book:
I decided to write this post for three reasons:
And, as a bonus, now you know not only why I wear two bracelets every day, but also the origin of the tagline of my business. It was a journey – it’s still a journey – but at least my path now has me heading in the direction to truly live what I love. For that, for you, I am grateful.