Honing that growth mindset

As we head rapidly toward the end of the year, 2022 truly has been a year of exciting and at times challenging firsts, both professional and personal for me (incl first book published, first podcast launched, first day/week/term as a parent of a child at secondary school, first 50 something at the cross-fit gym!). In taking these steps, I’ve both embraced and at times resisted my growth mindset. Acknowledging I will make mistakes, fail and fall does not come easily (despite many years of practice). Reminding myself crucially that it’s what I do in the moments and times that follow that will really make the difference and define my progress and that this is only possible by taking on a growth mindset.

But whilst I know the theory, ongoing commitment to the practice is HARD. As an experienced, self-motivated individual, not to be self-critical goes against my hard wiring. I see this too in many of my clients as they look to navigate through the challenges of midlife and beyond. The tendency to feel you need to be on top of and to manage each step with a minimal margin for error is strong. When we stumble as we do, the negative self-talk and ability to beat ourselves up is powerful – at times overriding.

Five years ago, when I was in the eye of a lifequake* feeling the effects of burnout and a severe undiagnosed perimenopause, I was introduced to Mindful Self-Compassion by a friend who runs her own mindfulness business. I participated in an 8-week programme that has gone on to form the basis of a key practice, both for myself and when working with my clients. It supports me to evolve my own compassionate self while supporting others in their work, especially with their inner critic and negative self-talk.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say I wouldn’t have weathered the pandemic as I did without the support of MSC as a tool and the community it offered me. So much so that last September (2021) as we were coming out of the pandemic and in-person meetings were once again permitted, I signed up for and embarked on a 5-day MSC silent retreat as the next step in what is turning out to be quite a journey.

The silent retreat was a transformative experience. And upon further reflection, I decided and was happy to be accepted onto the next step in the journey to becoming an MSC teacher. So at the end of November this year, I packed my bags and headed out to a beautiful part of Somerset to spend a week with 20 other individuals taking this bold step too.  

It was hard, my growth mindset and inner critic were at odds with each other. The first 48 hours I was ready to run for the hills. I felt uncomfortable, unsettled, vulnerable, challenged and so much more. I didn’t sleep well as I ruminated over my thoughts and my feelings. Gradually, with the support of my fellow travellers and teachers, as well as reminding myself of my own growth mindset, I eased into the experience and embraced it.

I am extremely grateful for having the opportunity to embark on this journey, another first – training to be a teacher. As I look to 2023, I’m excited to take the next steps through my teacher training practicum and hopefully co-leading my first programme before qualifying. I am excited by the thought of being able to have this powerful approach in my life and being able as a teacher to take it into my work and beyond.

On my teacher training, I know that I will continue to hone my growth mindset as I face the inevitable challenges that will come my way – embracing the imperfect.

To learn more about my work with organisations and individuals, you can email me at rebecca@wisesherpa.co.uk or get in touch via my contact page on this website. 

And if you are interested in learning more about MSC, you may wish to check out this podcast where one of the co-founders, Dr. Chris Germer, speaks to Brene Brown about all things self-compassion over two episodes.

#coaching #businesscoaching #executivecoachlondon #50career #midlife  #midcareer  #fromworklifetonewlife

*Bruce Feiler – Life is in the Transitions


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