My Damn Fixed Mindset

The first time I was introduced to the research and studies behind a fixed vs. growth mindset, I was absolutely fascinated. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of it before or wasn’t aware of it, it’s just that I never had the words to describe my emotions and reactions. I’d previously posted about how I want to foster a growth mindset in my children and in today’s post, I want to share with you a fairly recent experience where I was very aware of how my fixed mindset influenced my actions and emotions and how I moved into a growth mindset.

So here’s the context, I’ve been looking for work for a long time. I lost my job because of COVID-19 but I had been planning my exit about 6 months prior. I’m acutely aware of how not having work has triggered feelings of inadequacy and frustration and it’s been a journey changing my mindset. I haven’t been having success with my job search, partly I think because of the pandemic and partly because I’m switching careers and industries and it’s quite a leap! But then, I had some success. Long story short, I went through a rigorous interview process and made it to the top 4 candidates and was in the final stage of creating some sample work for the company to evaluate. You can probably guess what’s going to happen, they for the most part liked my word but I didn’t get it. They chose the candidate that had more experience.

Those words, “we decided to go with a candidate that had more direct experience” sent me on a downward spiral of negativity and my damn fixed mindset brain jumped into judgement and self-pity mode. Those words triggered me because it was the response I had received from countless interviews years before I got into teaching and was looking for a corporate HR job. Tears streamed down my eyes and I was absolutely devastated. Although I read the rest of the email, all I could hear in my head was, “Why do you even bother? Clearly, you’re not cut out to be in this field. You don’t have what it takes.”

Embarrassingly, I was stuck in this sad self-pity crying state for 2 days BUT after those 2 days, something in my brain switched gears. I realized I was seeing and feeling this experience through my fixed mindset when I should be seeing it from a growth mindset. Here’s some more context, this is the first instructional video I’ve made from beginning to end and with limited equipment. Also, to make it to the top 4 candidates despite my lack of direct experience means that I’m doing something right, right? And so I started shifting mindsets.

It wasn’t easy but I forced myself to turn all my thoughts that were originally fixed mindset to growth mindset. I was so tired of hearing that voice in my head saying that I wasn’t good enough and quite frankly, I was tired of crying. I went back and read the rejection email and really read through the feedback they’d given me. I’m actually really grateful they gave me specific and actionable feedback. So that’s what I’m doing now, looking for ways to learn and improve so that for my next interview, whenever it may be, can hopefully go better.

What I’ve also learned for next time, you know when I get another rejection or something awful happens, to still acknowledge my fixed mindset creeping in. I don’t like the feeling at all but I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s there so that you can move on. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to my growth mindset a little quicker in the future.

Can you relate? Do you have any tips?

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Choosing Each Other

Marriage is beautiful and fun but it can also be frustrating and hard. My husband and I attended a virtual marriage conference some months ago, hosted by FamilyLife Canada, and they said something so simple and true.

Relationships naturally drift apart. It takes work and commitment to keep it together and to grow.

Similarly, I’ve been reading Mindset and this is another related quote. It’s by John Gottman, a relationship researcher:

Every marriage demands an effort to keep it on the right track; there is a constant tension… between the forces that hold you together and those that can tear you apart.

This is true of the high school young love relationships, friendships, and of course long term committed ones. But especially when you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s so easy to drift apart. It’s slow but then one day you look around and realize things have changed so much.

From my experience, having kids really does that to a relationship. It’s why I always tell my friends to not have kids to try and save a marriage. In fact, if a marriage is suffering, having a kid only amplifies all the existing conflicts.

But back to how it affects your marriage, having kids puts you on survival mode with your partner. Those sleepless nights and tiring days wear away at your patience and soon you end up fighting about something that used to be so trivial. As the kids grow up, you go on auto pilot as you go through the daily motions of meals, drop offs, school, extra curriculars and what not. It’s so easy to lose intimacy and become roommates because you’re just so exhausted from the day and being the peacekeeper between the fighting kids.

So, from my experience, the first step to keeping your marriage on the right track is to choose each other Every. Damn. Day. It’s making a conscious choice to invest time and effort into maintaining a relationship. It’s making time for date nights or quality time spent together. It’s openly communicating with each other when there is conflict. It’s remembering your partner is not the enemy, especially when you’re in conflict. It’s believing that you, your partner, and your relationship are capable of change and improvement. It’s choosing to grow together. It’s about supporting each other through the rough times and a million other things.

Especially now, with COVID and we’re all at home more, take care of each other.

Thanks for stopping by ❤️.

Mental Health Check

I, like many others, got laid off once the pandemic shut everything down. For those that don’t know, I’m an ESL teacher at an international school where 99% of our students are from abroad. When the borders shut, we knew we’d be in trouble. We taught online for a while but it’s not what our students paid for and honestly, if I were them, I would have done the same and gone home to my family. So where does this leave me?

I had already been planning a career switch and was completing some schooling. Ironically (or maybe not?) my certificate was for online/eLearning instruction and I didn’t have a classroom to practice it in. I had planned on transitioning to training and development and instructional design but you know, it’s a pandemic and jobs are a little harder to come by and there’s a little more competition.

So, it’s been a few months of unsuccessful job hunting and I could feel my mental health spiralling downward. Today, I decided to take a break from job hunting and do a little daydreaming instead.

My husband and I have this dream of one day opening a little neighbourhood cafe that’s kid friendly, in terms of play, environment, and business hours (some inspo photos below). Realistically, we won’t be able to do this for a while but I thought it’d be fun to do a little more research into the costs and get some inspiration for what I’d want the cafe to look like. If anyone wants to be an investor, let me know! (Jokes! Or maybe not 😉 )

Needless to say it’s way more fun to do than job hunting and it’s been good for my mental health. I’ve been so fixated on finding a job and while I’ll be happy when I do find one, I know it’s not the end all be all. We’re doing ok financially, we have a roof over our heads, and everyone in our immediate and extended family is healthy. Plus, I get to spend more time with my daughters and that’s something I can’t put off for later. Like so many parents before us have said, the days are long but the years are short and my God is that true!

I feel like I’ve been rambling a bit but if you’re in a similar situation, remember perspective! Think of it as an opportunity to do things you perhaps didn’t have time for before. It’s also just good to take a break from the job hunting. My husband suggested that I focus less on getting a job and more on the number of applications sent out or the number of information interviews done. This is because I can control the latter and by shifting my focus to that, I feel less despair and more content with where I am now. I have often told others and so I need to listen to myself and remember that getting a job is so much about timing and being patient. So for those of you in the same boat, I offer the same advice:

  1. Focus on the things you can control.
  2. Shift your perspective.
  3. Be patient.

Thanks for stopping by!