“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” - Paulo Coelho
Coelho’s thoughts confirmed in my mind that having the correct mindset is the strongest, most powerful tool in achieving our dreams. This principle guides our practice at HansenBeck; we understand that as an individual, we must start with our mindset to develop skills to influence others and achieve results.
When pursuing a new goal, how often do you get discouraged by obstacles, negative perspectives, or even opinions? How do we “typically” approach problems or challenges in our life? What lenses are we using to see the world?
Dr. Carol Dweck, American Psychologist and professor at Stanford University, explored for more than 30 years the psychology behind “success” and “failure”, she defined the difference between “Growth Mindset” vs “Fixed Mindset”. Dr. Dweck determined that:
“The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. 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.”
In the past 15 years, many organizations and educational institutions have focused efforts upon developing a growth mindset” in their leaders, co-workers and, students.
Not long ago, I experienced a situation that was eye-opening, and helped me understand this concept better:
As a mother of three small children, between the ages of 7 and 3 years old, sometimes, particularly when I am “in a hurry”, I find myself providing responses or comments to my kids in “autopilot mode”. I do not reflect too much on the content or situation, rather, I fall into the trap of trying to solve a “real or imagined” problem. One day, my three-year-old daughter, as she was playing at home and I was getting ready to leave to the grocery store, came and asked me if we could go to grandma’s house because she wanted to give her a big hug. My parents don’t live near us, so I quickly explained that it wasn’t possible, that they were hundreds of kilometres away and she would need to wait until our next trip to visit her during the summer… I closed the door behind me and left for the “mission” of obtaining groceries during the “pandemic era”, dressed like an astronaut: face mask, gloves and glasses.
When I returned home after I finished unloading groceries from the car and making sure they were disinfected, I found my daughter in the living room, busy with paper, scissors and glue… I asked her…“What are you doing sweetheart?”
And she responded with a big smile on her face, “Look, mom, I am making a pair of wings, so I can fly to visit grandma and give her my hug that I am keeping just for her!”
As my eyes welled with tears, I realized that as we grow up, in many areas of our lives and interests, we stop believing that we are capable of growth and development. We build a perspective of ourselves, scenarios and problems, that lack strength, is fixed and never changing. In this case, my stressed, “hurry up” mind did not see options, like the extraordinary opportunity I had to help my child chase a dream… I just saw the short-term goal and my fear of disappointment and failure … how many times I have taken this road before in other aspects of my life?
Approach life believing that your intelligence, skills and talents can be developed further. Can you make your own pair of wings to fly to your dreams? Develop a growth mindset and seek opportunities to learn, gain new skills, and enhance our existing strengths. Embrace “failure”, as a positive element in the equation of your life, since it produces “learning”. Look at challenges, not as a chance to fail, but rather, as an opportunity to grow. Believe (and back it up with actions) that hard work, and not good luck, can take you to your dreams and success.
By the way, my story ends with a videoconference from my daughter to grandma; my daughter showed her the pair of wings that she made so she could go visit her. Grandma came to visit a couple of days later, and one of the best hugs that I will probably witness in my life was delivered, as promised.