Growth Misunderstood

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How comfortable are you with the messy part of growth?

I don't like messy! When I learn something new, I want to be good at it and I want it to happen right away. Sound familiar? I made it through my high school and college years not realizing this. School came easy for me and I avoided the things that didn't (don't get me started about my early attempts in and then avid avoidance of art and home economics). I didn't think there was anything wrong with this until I tried to juggle.

Juggling didn't come easy for me. Many variables got in the way - over thinking it, not having it explained in a way that made sense to me, and not really caring about it. Sure, I wanted to impress the guy teaching me, but other than that - who cared if I could juggle. I adopted a fixed mindset, put away the juggling balls, and stuck to the things that came easy.

Years later (yes, years) surrounded by several people learning to juggle, I finally tried again and succeeded. The reason it finally worked came down to one woman unintentionally giving me permission to be messy. As she practiced and dropped over and over, she roared with the most infectious laughter. How could I not jump in when even dropping sounded fun? I finally stopped focusing on the end result and got comfortable with the awkwardness of "failing" in such a visible way. When I stopped trying to hide it, I finally had the space to shift to a growth mindset and figure out what to do differently.

I still have setbacks of avoiding or getting frustrated by the messy learning stages. But I recognize it more quickly now and can usually make a mindset shift to see it as growth not destruction. Next time you feel it coming on, pause, breathe, look for the lessons, make adjustments, and get back in there.

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