Developing a mindset (about anything) is a tricky thing. We like our mindset the way it is. It’s familiar and comfy. It’s also limiting and can be a barrier when it comes time to discover your hidden potential.
If you’ve ever had goals that seemed to be out of your reach, you’re not alone. An incredible 92% of people say that the goals and resolutions they set for themselves each year never get achieved. What is the common tie that binds these people together? We all have the ability to reach our goals – sure, every person has different circumstances and situations. Some may even say that luck plays a part in reaching your goals, dreams and even hidden potential.
However, could it be we have a mindset that our environment is beyond our control? We are looking for the magic bullet that will fit in an already established environment of our already established mindset. Many people look for a magic bullet that will put them in control of their surroundings, without having to change – therefore, allowing them to keep their mindset the same. Frustration and mental chaos ensue when people can’t find that ONE tool that will solve their problems. We discussed how to develop a lifelong learning mindset a couple of posts ago.
The same theory applies when trying to discover your hidden potential. There is no one tool or magic bullet that will lead you to an epiphany about what you are capable of doing. It is a process of discovery. It requires a change in mindset and this requires work.
Why search for your hidden potential?
Ever have that nagging feeling that there is something out there for you? You feel that the world is bigger than your office? That there are other possibilities for your life? YES, we all have had that experience. Then there are specific things that happen that jerk you into a reality where you KNOW that it’s time for a change:
- You work for a company that doesn’t appreciate you, and you find yourself in a place where your mood is becoming increasingly worse as each day passes.
- You know your job is changing and you may or may not be happy about it. Either way, you know that something has got to change for you to succeed in this new environment.
- Your life is changing. Maybe you just experienced a divorce, and it’s time for a change in life. You want to move and start over, this means finding something different to do.
- You’ve had a moment of discovery. You may enjoy your life as a trainer, but that side gig of selling bread at the farmers market has awakened a whole new creative side. A creative side, that you know, if you worked hard enough, could give you more happiness than any customer service training could.
Moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is your choice:
The first part to “discover your hidden potential” means moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset and reframing the negative to positives.
How you interpret setbacks, challenges and barriers is your choice. You can interpret setbacks as signs that you have fixed talents or abilities that are lacking, or you can interpret setbacks with a growth mindset. Meaning, seeing challenges as signs that you need to ramp up your skills, stretch yourself, and expand your abilities. It’s your choice – you can grow or not. You have potential to control the outcome in a variety of different ways.
Don’t let your fixed mindset, or “preprogrammed” passions or skills drive what you think you are good at. These fixed mindset beliefs do not drive your future. You do.
To strengthen your growth mindset, let’s recognize we all have ANTs:
We all have a bazillion thoughts running through our heads every day with many having negative implications. “I know we should use tools like Slack to strengthen knowledge beyond the classroom, but I’m not a techie and these types of tools are over my head, plus I’ll NEVER get the business to approve it.” So, we do what we always do and hope for the best. We all have Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs).
ANTs takeover the little voice in our heads by planting negative seeds. We allowing those negative seeds to destroy our dreams and tear down our goals. It’s hard to remain positive when that little voice is constantly spouting off and saying things like, “I can’t do that, I’m not smart enough,” “I have no business being in this field,” “I’m not making a difference”, “I’m not worthy of my peers”… you know the drill.
In order for you to move forward and find your hidden potential, you need to squish the ANT inner dialog. This means recognizing them as they appear and pulling out a can ANT killer and annihilate them!
Kill the ANTs by talking back to yourself:
I am no stranger to talking to myself. I’m sure there are many people in many elevators who think I’ve gone over the deep end. But that’s a story for another day…Anywho…
When that ugly ANT or fixed mindset makes its way into your inner conversations, TALK BACK TO IT! I know it sounds silly, but positive affirmations work. Telling yourself, YOU CAN DO THIS, works. Positive thoughts crowd out the negative ANTs. Try to catch the negative statements as they happen and immediately follow-up with a positive statement.
WHEN YOUR FIXED-MINDSET says: “I don’t think you can do this, you don’t have the skills.”
YOUR GROWTH-MINDSET answers, “I might not be able to do it now, but I am going to put in the time and learn.”
WHEN YOUR FIXED MINDSET says: “If I don’t try, I won’t fail and people won’t think less of me.”
YOUR GROWTH MINDSET answers: “If I don’t try, I WILL fail. I will have no sense of accomplishment.”
Over time, which voice becomes louder will be your choice.
Time to broaden your skills to find your hidden potential:
Do you always do what is most comfortable for you or do you challenge your skills and mind?
Barbara Oakley writes in, “Mindshift” about broadening your skills and passions to discover your potential. I really like her approach, and as I was reading her book to determine if it should be a giveaway for you (YES!) I found myself really thinking about my own potential and passions.
Here is one of the many tips she gives:
Capture your thoughts: Put them on paper to help you discover what you really think and help you take more effective action.
As a header write: “Broaden Your Passion” and then answer these questions:
- What could you do or be if you decided to broaden your skills and tried to accomplish something that demanded the most from you? How would you start?
- Make a list: What skills and knowledge could you bring with you from your past that could serve you as you really challenge yourself in an entirely different area? For example: You might be a great elearning developer with a flair for design. Perhaps you can take that design skill and build a website?
Many people, from many walks of life and backgrounds, have made changes to their lives and mindset. There’s a thrill in learning to do something new. It’s an adventure when you know you are shifting your mindset to be more open to new adventures and challenges.
You never know, it might mean that this new mindset adventure might lead to a new path, a new career or a renewed focus on life itself.
As always, I’m interested in your thoughts. In the comment section below share your thoughts:
When you think about broadening your skills or passions, where would you start?
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