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Where does your mindset get in the way?

Many years ago, I taught swimming lessons. This one little girl had a strong kick when holding onto the wall and could do her arms and breathing perfectly with her feet firmly planted on the bottom of the pool. She just couldn't get the idea of how floating worked and refused to believe she could do it. One day she was watching me float and it all just clicked for her - you could almost see the light bulb above her head. She then put all of the pieces together and immediately transformed into a swimmer. The power of a mindset shift can be magical as we let go of stories and beliefs that get in our way.

Imagine a roller coaster. What do you feel as you wait in line, get into your seat, and the employee checks your safety bar? Excitement and anticipation or just sheer dread? That emotion affects not only your experience throughout the ride, but whether you even get on in the first place.

I almost didn't get on several of the rides. "It won't be fun for me. I don't like that kind of adrenaline rush," was the story looping in my mind as we approached a particularly intimidating roller coaster. But then my tween nieces and nephew ran excitedly ahead to get in line. I didn't want to model being fearful so I faked it and joined them. And guess what - I'm so glad that I did. Not only did I surprise myself and have fun, but I also shared a fun experience with family members that I would have missed if I stuck to my original mindset.

Learning and growth require taking a risk and that process can sometimes feel like a roller coaster laden with successes and failures along the way. But approaching it with a playful mindset can make it a powerful, connective experience. On the other hand, you can let fear win and safely watch other people grow and succeed from the sidelines. Your choice. 

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