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Getting friendly with your fixed!

The May half term has been a wash out for many of us, with this rain, but it did give both of us the opportunity to spend time with those we love. The family.

As part of our mindset training we always advocate looking at our own mindsets and really reflecting on who we are and why we make the choices we do, but what we found ourselves doing this half term, was looking at the mindsets of our loved ones, the impact it had on us and the behaviour displayed because of those mindsets. Fascinating stuff!

In this blog, we wanted to share those experiences with you and give you food for thought. Maybe even see links with your own lives or those around you and consider the impact it's having on you and those you choose to spend time with.

Gemma's experience was on an overnight stay near Gisburn Forest with a visit to Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire, a beautiful part of the world, that her family had yet to explore and the rain was not going to prevent this from happening. She was determined to cross something off her list.

The trip started well, skimming stones in the river. The kids trying their best to get a few jumps and the sheer delight when they achieved their goal. Within the first half hour, we'd exhausted the stone skimming and decided to truck on. My son, Salvador, promptly fell over into a relatively shallow piece of the river. "Ahhh well, not to worry, you're just a bit damp, it'll be fine." And off we went, mindset challenge 1 - stone skimming, complete.

The next obstacle was the stepping stones. Now, don't get me wrong, there is a perfectly good bridge to walk across, but that's no fun and of course we were there to challenge ourselves, not let fear hold us back, of course we can do this.

From the picture above, the stones look fairly simple enough, but if any of you have ever been, you will appreciate the warning sign at the edge of the bank stating "Warning, this experience will disorientate you and may be challenging for adults and children."

"Ok" I'm thinking, "It'll be fine....." so off we started, Salvador leading the way, Ella next followed by my hubby, me at the back. It was slow going, as there were a few other adults and children in front of us and it was a bit of a stop start thing. The sign was spot on, a really disorientating feeling as the water swooshed around the stones, making it look like you were moving too. The kids were doing fine, words of encouragement from each other, until we spotted the hubby. He'd stopped, rigid to the spot, legs physically shaking with fear. My forty something, Spanish bloke, routed to the small square stone his size 10s were placed on. "Are you ok?" I asked.

"No, I'm not. My legs won't move, I can't do this."

And there it was, the mindset game changer, "I can't do this." For what happened next was a bit of a blur, but to cut a long story short, the hubby was in the river, some kid behind me was crying and my mindset set off. Those words of positivity from a few moments ago had gone and now I was thinking, we should turn back, give up, what if the kids fall in, what if the other half gets swept off by the current, I don't like this!

I had a choice to now make, I spotted my fixed and knew it was holding me back. Do I stay hear and listen to my inner voice or do I switch and change for growth. Stop, Observe, Shift (S.O.S), so that's what I did. Told my brain I could do this and began saying, "Come on kids, dad's fine, let's keep going, take your time." All the while, the hubby trundling through the river beside us.

In hindsight this was an opportune time for a photo to look back on, but I didn't want to drop my phone in the raging current either!

The result, we made it, albeit the 2 male members of the family were now wet through. "Ahhh well, not to worry, you're just a bit damp, it'll be fine." And off we went, mindset challenge 2 - stepping stones, complete.

It was interesting how my mindset changed because of the behaviour of another family member, but understanding I have a choice and recognising what was happening to me led me to the change in perception and the feeling of accomplishment by sticking to the challenge. As for the other half, I think the pint and bottle of red with our meal in the evening, sorted him out! Seriously though, he may be a grown man, with a proud Spanish background, but our challenges are all very different and jump on us without us ever realising they were there. It could have been very easy to mock or laugh at the situation as it unfolded, but I know this would have had a worse impact on his mindset for the future. All I can do, is do exactly what I would do with a class full of kids, support the mindset, guide and empathise with what happened, encourage to try again. Rewiring a brain is a journey, not a quick fix.

Liz's experience was a little more fast paced and started with birthday celebrations and a go kart.

We decided one cloudy, Sunday afternoon to take Greg's son, Chris and his 2 boys go-karting (a birthday gift from Chris to himself). His son Harley, just like him, loves the fast paced, loud, adrenaline pumping experience, unlike his other son Ryan who would much prefer to stand on the side lines, watching and filling us in with the latest dinosaur fact he'd uncovered.

Unfortunately, on this particular Sunday morning, Harley was feeling a bit under the weather and was unable to join us. Nonetheless we all tumbled into the car, with a quick pit stop at McDonald's first. At this point we asked Ryan if he would like to take Harley's place. He hesitated slightly and then said "OK, I'll try it." Needless to say we were very proud of Ryan for thinking about the opportunity and wanting to give it a go. Things however, changed when he entered the course. The sudden shift from his comfort zone to fear zone was quite evident as he was handed his overalls and helmet. I could sense his heart pounding as all the 'what if' questions began to tumble from his mouth. His fixed mindset was in overdrive, so much so even a glimmer of his growth mindset would not stand a chance. Calming him down we talked about his fears, which were mainly him questioning his own capabilities, "I'm not as good as everyone else." and the fear of being judged by the other racers "What if I'm too slow?"

I think you'll agree that as teachers and parents, we see reactions from children which instantly question their abilities, without no consideration to what learning something new actually looks, feels and sounds like. That instant need to be good and successful, constantly overpowering the actual journey of progress and struggle. The question was, would Ryan allow himself to move from his fear zone into his learning zone or would his fixed mindset pull him back into his comfort zone?

Off they all went into the debriefing session, 10 minutes later Chris and Ryan emerged, Ryan had decided on this occasion to forgo the opportunity. Of course I was a little disappointed that he didn't shift his fixed to become more growth orientated on this occasion, but what disappoints me more is that as children and adults we constantly allow our fixed beliefs, attitudes and outlook to create barriers to us grasping new opportunities and growing. Becoming aware of your fixed mindset, taking it on the journey with you and making that shift to become more growth oriented is when the magic happens!

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