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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