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Happy New Decade….Or Is It?

I’m super excited to enter this new decade and I have significant aspirations for what could emerge. But wait, is it a new decade?

During the first few weeks of 2020, I found myself not only wishing people a happy new year, but taking it one step further and wishing them a happy new decade.

Some of the reactions were quite enlightening.  A handful of individuals said something like “actually, the new decade starts in 2021.”

At first I had to check myself. Was I wrong here? It’s an interesting point they are raising…does the new decade start this year or next? Then I thought, wait a minute, when people talk about the 1980s, they mean 1980-1989, not 1981-1990…so I am right, they are wrong.

And then…wham…I realized that I had slipped into right-or-wrong thinking. And I also realized that in this instance, it just doesn’t matter.

This is an example of how we all construct our own reality. We do this by creating, (i.e., making up) stories to explain what we perceive or give meaning to our experience. For instance, if I decide this to be the beginning of a new decade, then it is. If somebody else thinks the new decade starts next year, then it does. (By the way, this doesn’t even address the next layer here which is that the idea of a decade is something humans made up in the first place.)  The decade question aside, this is an example of how we assign ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to situations or ideas, even though there is no objective right or wrong.

Rather, we each have our own truth—what I call “small-t truth,”—and that’s ok.

Are there situations in your life where you are entrenched in right-or-wrong thinking?

It may be interesting to reflect on whether any of these situations fall into this category, like the decades example, of “it really doesn’t matter.” If so, can you let go of any concerns you may have about being right in the eyes of the other(s)? Your load will certainly be lighter if you can.

So, whether or not you share my perception that we are launching into a new decade, allow me to look at the decade ahead and set powerful intentions for what I want to bring forward. And hopefully you can see that there’s no need to take offense when I say, “Happy New Decade!”

P.S. After writing this, I did an internet search on this topic and was not surprised to see that many people have weighed in on this. Click here for just one example.

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More and more sources tell us that a growth mindset is preferred over a fixed mindset. Most people I interact with are on board with that idea. However, as I was asked recently, “How do you shift to a growth mindset?”

That’s a great question and here’s my perspective.

In the graphic at the top of this article, you see several generic descriptors of how people with a fixed or growth mindset handle or react to different situations. (This is all based upon Carol Dweck’s foundational work in her book Mindset (2006).)

Just thinking about tackling this macro mindset shift can be overwhelming. That’s why I recommend breaking it down into smaller parts.

Breaking it Down

(1) The first question to ask yourself is which of those areas under “It’s Up to You” (running down the left-hand side of the graphic) do you think you’d most benefit from shifting to a growth mindset? (For example, “Criticism.”)

(2) Once you decide that, identify a relevant specific behavior you can start working on. (For example, maybe you avoid or resist/reject constructive criticism—that’s a behavior you could choose to focus on.)

(3) You can then apply whatever behavior change model you are most comfortable with. (Of course, I’m partial to my self-coaching approach which I encourage you to check out if you’ve not seen it before)

(4) Following the mantra that “small shifts lead to big changes,” you can start making a series of behavioral shifts that accumulate over time. As long as you’re headed in the direction of embodying a growth mindset, it will have more and more impact on your brain, your neural pathways and ultimately, your life!

In my experience, as you start making small shifts to some of these behaviors, there is a spill-over effect that positively impacts other, related behaviors. (For example, as you start to see the value in constructive criticism, you may start proactively seeking more feedback.)

In summary, instead of taking on the seemingly daunting task of “shifting to a growth mindset,” break it down into smaller manageable pieces and start making those small shifts. It’s worth the effort.

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If you are interested in finding out more information about Coach Your Self Up, please fill out the form or contact Mike Normant directly at mike@mikenormant.com or 415.713.4680.

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