What does a growth mindset look like?

We hear a lot about mindset these days.  But what does a growth mindset look like? And, how do I build a growth mindset?

Having a growth mindset means that we believe that progress and success comes from learning and developing ourselves. Alongside building strengths such as resilience and confidence, having a positive mindset helps us to grow.  Not just that, but it also helps us manage the inevitable disappointments and failures that come with new challenges.

The more we seek out opportunities to grow, the more we reinforce the positive feelings that come with seeing ourselves progress.  And this in turn helps to strengthen our mindset, and build confidence in our abilities to cope.

But of course, putting ourselves out there and being open to knockbacks or failures takes courage. No one likes failing. No one starts out on a journey to end up disappointed. But the way we approach disappointments can help to make the experience less daunting.

Starting to notice how you act, or react, to new or challenging situations can help you figure out whether you are open to growth, and how this mindset impacts on the outcomes you achieve.

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You haven’t wandered off the path…this IS the path

I’ve been reflecting on this thought lately, because it pretty much sums up the last few months for me…how about you? 

Going through any change can make us feel untethered.  Uncertainty creeps in and we start to doubt ourselves.  And we think about turning back, or feel stuck and unable to make progress.

But these are the things we’re meant to experience alongside growth.

Feeling caught in the middle of where we were, and where we’re heading next can be lonely and confusing.  Because we probably haven’t been here before, and even when we have an important goal, we don’t have an exact plan of how things will work out.

There’s a few things that can help:

⚡️ Take a pause to rest and reflect

⚡️ Remember your ‘why’

⚡️ Plan one small step at a time

⚡️ Celebrate each milestone

And remember that you haven’t wandered off the path…this IS the path.


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Welcome to the New Year

A woman looking over her shoulder into the distance

Don’t. Look. Back. ⚡️ So we’re welcoming in a New Year, and it’s tempting to keep one foot in the last one…by choice or not.

However the last year has treated you, the dawning of a new year can bring a funny mixture of trepidation and excitement.

It also gives us a real opportunity to draw a line and start again. If we choose to. But we risk being unkind to ourselves by dragging along the regrets, failings, comparison and doubt that may have come up last year.

And with that, comes the pressure to do more, be better, achieve greater.

What if you just allowed yourself rest and compassion instead?

Welcome the new year as a chance to go again. When you’re ready. We achieve much more by being consistent with our actions, and more intentional with our thoughts. And we can’t do that if we’re punishing ourselves with resolutions that expect too much, too soon.

So welcome 2023 warmly, yet gently. Treat it as a budding shoot, that needs nurturing and care. 🌱

There are 364 more days left…you don’t need to do it all this week!! ⚡️

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What keeps you awake at night?

Description of hands creeping out of the ocean

It’s that time of year when we’re surrounded by all things spooky and scary.

But what is it that REALLY keeps you awake at night?

I think for me, the biggest thing I struggle with is self doubt.  And it’s definitely something that creeps up on me.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

It often starts off with an uneasy feeling.  I begin to feeling unsure when I’m making decisions.  Then I’m overthinking decisions and actions.  Worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong. And dithering or putting off doing things, because “what if it does all go wrong?”.

The Ghost of Decisions Past

If you recognise that this happens for you too, then you might also be visited by the ‘Ghost of Decisions Past’.   You know the one…it often starts lurking around 3am when you can’t sleep, and the suddenly you’re replaying conversations and situations over again in your mind, and you hear the whispers of mistakes and regrets gone by.

Unwelcome Visitations

We’d like to think that we can shake off these ‘visitations’, but their effects can remain with us subconsciously.  It’s almost as though a little poisonous seed has been planted, which starts to latch on to our conscious thoughts.  And then every time we try to make changes or take action, the little seed sends out the venom to kill off our positive ideas.

Facing The Demons

There are things that can help to tackle self doubt, however.

For me, this first step is being able to notice when it’s there.   Because it is something that often creeps up on us, so we might not even notice it at first.  Getting curious and asking what is behind those uncomfortable feelings can sometimes help to pinpoint what is triggering it.

Secondly, it also helps to consciously recall and focus on the times where I have overcome my doubts in the past.  Or at least, persevered in spite of it.  Because feeling uncertain and anxious about the outcome in certain situations is normal.  So if I can recall at time where I was dreading something, but actually it turned out better than I’d anticipated, then this can remind me that my thoughts are not always true.

And thirdly, I write myself a realistic plan.  Because I know that feeling unprepared will pretty much always lead to me feeling less confident.  If I have the time, then I like to think of some possible outcomes or scenarios and then ask myself what I could about it.  The key thing here though is to keep it realistic – that means not getting carried away with every possible outcome, but which ones are most likely, and which outcomes can I control.   

So if self doubt is an unwelcome visitor for you, try some of these ideas out for yourself.  The only way to conquer those fears is to face them.

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If not now, when?

Scrabble letters spelling out the quote, If not now, when

As we head into the last quarter of 2022, you may be feeling the pull to end the year on a high.  Perhaps you started the year with good intentions and plans…but other things got in the way?

But the reality is, there is always something that will get in the way.

If you’re looking for perfect timing, or the ideal conditions, then chances are you could be waiting for a while.  And although feeling prepared will help your confidence, procrastinating and letting time slip away, will eat into your confidence even more.

It’s a cliche that “we always regret the chances we didn’t take”, but regret and frustration from not taking action can really eat away at self esteem.  And it impacts how likely we are to put ourselves forward for things in the future.

Recognise where you might be holding yourself back by waiting, and ask yourself whether waiting is actually serving you in the long term.

If not now, when?

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The downside to self development

An image of someone standing with two arrows ahead, pointing in different directions

We often think that making change is a positive move.   Most of the time it is, of course.  But have you ever experienced the downside to self development?

Wait, what do you mean?!  How come there’s a downside?

Well, if we’ve been feeling stuck or lost for some time, starting to make new changes or routines can suddenly highlight the things we’ve been missing out on.  We might notice that we get frustrated or annoyed at ourselves because we’ve spent a while drifting.  We might even start to compare ourselves to others, and think we’re falling behind, or not good enough.

Sure, these feelings can be used as motivators, to give us the momentum to move ourselves.

But accepting that they are a common side effect of taking action can help to normalise some of the more negative feelings we might experience too.

If you notice that you’re feeling this way when you start to make any changes or progress, then allow yourself some time to reflect on what’s coming up.  But also allow yourself to appreciate that you are changing, and are gradually moving away from that place of ‘stuckness’ or inertia.

Listening to your emotions, and accepting how you are feeling, is all part of the growth process.  So, embrace the learning and keep going!

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Growth requires change

An image of a hand holding a small green shoot

One of the hardest steps to growth is making change.

But it doesn’t mean that we have to make massive change all in one go.

Changes that kickstart growth can be a simple as mixing up your daily routine. Such as getting up 20 mins earlier, going for a walk straight after work, or writing a meal plan before the new week starts.

All good growth – and by that I mean growth that you can sustain – begins with making those small incremental differences.  These are the things which build confidence, or change habits.

And they are also a way to boost momentum and get you moving to the next step, and the next after that.

Often what people find hardest about change, is that they try to do too much at once.  This is when you find that you haven’t properly planned it, or anticipated the time you need to commit properly.  And we convince ourselves that we can’t do it, or it’s going to be too hard.

So try making one small change this week.  It doesn’t have to be too drastic.  Not life changing in the short term, but something that over time will help you build a more positive habit.

You can do hard things….gradually!

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Why self development is all about the domino effect

An image of a row of dominoes about to be knocked over

No, this isn’t a homage to my favourite game as a child.  (But it was all about Domino Rally in the 80’s!).

It is in fact a great visual reminder of how things impact on another.  And in the case of self development, this works in both positive and negative ways.

I’ve had a busy couple of months with work and study, and I’ve let the non-essential things slip.  Such as exercises and eating healthily.  One missed gym class became a week of missed classes.  One convenience meal became a daily pattern of snacking and making poor meal choices.

I say the non-essential things, because we often assume that they aren’t that important, right?  These are the things that we can put off thinking about until tomorrow, or the weekend, or next week.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said next week I’m getting back to the gym every day, or I’m going to cook every meal from scratch.  And if I’m honest, I usually get annoyed with myself when I don’t get things done.

Going for the ‘boom or bust’ approach of “I have to do all the things at once” isn’t helpful either.  Often, we start off really motivated and focussed, and with all good intentions.   But then work happens, or social events happen or, well, life happens – and we’ve skipped a few days, or  week, and we start off back at where we started.

The most successful approach to any habit, is to take it gradually.  To build up patterns and routine, to ease ourselves in and build our confidence.

It really is the small actions we take each day that add up.  And it’s much easier to maintain small actions, rather than tackling an overwhelming amount of stuff all at the same time.

So if you’re thinking about making some changes, try and visualise the domino effect.  Small action can create movement and progress.  It’s never wasted!

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How often do you try and predict the future?

An image of a crystal ball

Planning and preparation can help us to anticipate problems, and give us the chance to make adjustments if we see something on the horizon which could be a problem.

But we can also become too distracted or focused on the ‘what ifs’…and end up creating new problems for ourselves.

Trying to find that balance can be hard.  We want to do our best and avoid any pitfalls, but in doing so, we lose sight of the here and now.  Maybe we appear distracted or not interested in what is going on around us.  Or we freeze and can’t take action, because we’ve built up all of these scenarios of failure in our minds.

Try and notice how much time you spend on the ‘what if’ scenarios…and whether you’re thinking too much about what ‘might’ happen, rather than what ‘is’ happening.

Being able to recognise these thought patterns is the first and most important step.


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No one is born an expert

Characature of Albert Einstein

No one is born an expert.  Not even this guy!

One of the biggest buzz-kills to motivation is the false belief that we have to be brilliant at something.   It’s as if we can’t fail, otherwise “what’s the point?”.

If you recognise that you have high expectations of yourself whenever you attempt something new, you might have had these thoughts before too.

Putting so much pressure on ourselves from the outset can be a barrier for attempting to learn new skills or put ourselves out there.  We fear looking like a novice or beginner, or worry that other people might notice our weaknesses.

We all want to feel successful at new things, especially if we put time and effort into something.

But if we’re willing to accept being a learner for a while, it can really help when we feel rewarded for our hard work by noticing our improvements and progress.  These incremental gains can help to build motivation and give us the incentive to keep going.

Go on, dare to try something new…and be willing to learn along the way!


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