There are only two mindsets according to Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset. A fixed mindset thinks that talent, intelligence, and capacity are, well, fixed. You are either born with the right stuff or you’re not. A growth mindset thinks strength, smarts, and capacity are built through training. You’re not born with the right stuff, you work to make your stuff, right. Of course, there are nuances to all mindsets, but you and I tend to think toward either fixed or growth. In our work with athletes the power of changing mindset toward growth has been huge. Here’s an example of what a growth minded gymnast sounds like as she evaluates a performance. Let this in and extrapolate to you and your team.

“Overall, I am so happy with the team’s performance yesterday. It was a solid start for everyone and I could definitely see our BTL training helping us. Individually, yesterday’s performance has just made me hungry for more. Even though I stumbled on my middle pass, I felt I was mentally and physically prepared to be in the position where my 4 minute touch was not what I wanted it to be. I had to try to forget it, like we’ve learned in BTL. During my touch, I fell three times in a row trying to get in one good turn before the competition. I had to keep reminding myself that I knew how to do it and I’ve done the pass well a million times. I was doing a lot of back and forth in my head of “Trust your training” and “OMG you just fell on three middle passes”. Thankfully, I was able to have more of the first thought than the second. In years past, I don’t think I would have been able to catch myself being negative in those moments before my routine, and I probably would have fallen on my butt instead of fighting to stand up the pass. That being said, I am not satisfied. I changed something in my middle pass, and I want to figure out what was wrong with it so I can change it for my next opportunity on the competition floor. I think I was running too hard and going all out for the first layout, leaving no rotation for the second flip. This is something I can learn to control in practices to come.”

Your performance reflects your training, not just your physical and technical training but also your mental training. In fact, your mindset needs as much training as your muscles, your maneuvers, and any other technical preparations required to master your work. Your mindset matters. Want to improve your mindset with regard to your work, friend?

Write honestly what you think is limiting your performance. Be hard on self without getting down on self, remember. Grab a BTL buddy/truth teller and talk. Write your training plan to close the gap. Work on something in your middle pass (something small). Baby step it. Keep baby stepping. Keep working. Keep smiling. Keep laughing. And, keep practicing. You’ll see. Growth comes when we embrace the fall, fail, and bounce back up on whatever is our beam. Growth comes when we say “fail” and figure out what went wrong. We learn. Growth comes when we eliminate the word failure and fixed. You see, the word plasticity describes your mind. Go on, bend it to your will. Bend. Gymnasts do. You can too. Good.

Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…

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