Its always nice to see a perfect, well formed and finalized product on the shelf. Paired up with more nice and shiny finished goods.
But how about us people? We do see these perfect images in our Instafeed or Celeb magazines. But as we know with our logical minds these are just moments captured. One of my brilliant clients finally met a person who she had professionaly been admiring from a far. And she told me "It was kind of shocking to just be there casually chatting with her on her couch. I couldn't believe it, but at the same time I came to realize that she is a really ordinary person with ordinary life and ordinary problems." It is so good for your subconcsious to see that the people who you look upto can also be messy, unpolished and real.
Still, do you think of yourself as a finished product? What about your talents, capabilities, intelligence? If so, when were you finished? When were the final touches done? Or is it just how you were born?
If I would have read the above questions somewhere a couple years back, I would've just disregarded it and quickly answered: "no, of course not!". But I would have done that just to show myself how open minded I was. In reality I truly held on to a belief that intelligence and talent are things you were born with. And while there naturally is some truth to that, as we all are born with intelligence and talent, it is a total self deception trap to hold on to that belief tightly.
So today I am not that quick to answer. Today I really want to stop here and see what really lies behind this. I still feel some resistance towards the idea of intelligence being something you can learn.
I have a Mensa tested IQ of 153, making me officially smarter than 98,3% of the rest of the world. Oh how my ego loves that!!! Have my brain or my talents really stopped developing after childhood? Can my intelligence score get higher with age? I do not have the answer for you right now. But studies (Carol S. Dweck) show that it isn't so much about the actual "talent" you have but more on your view, your mindset on life!
Having a GROWTH mindset can have a huge impact for your future. And to be honest the idea of me being smart has not worked the best possible way into my advantage, because I have been holding onto it with a fixed mindset. So it actually acknowledging my smartness and getting a diploma for it has held me back (as Carol S. Dweck's studies show with people who have a fixed mindset)! Being smart has scared me of losing my status if I try harder. It has scared me into switching to something else when a challenge arises. I have wanted to look smart and instead of taking risks and possibly falling on my ass.
"I have been too scared to make mistakes."
I used to play soccer until the age of 18. I loved to play the games, I hated to practice. I think I have some degree of "natural talent" towards the game but I never grew to my full potential, because I did not keep on learning new skills. I settled to good enough and felt like practicing would be an insult to my talent! Afterwards this seems kind of crazy, even stupid.
Before I started my own coaching practice (Ahaa obviously) I used to think that one sure thing that I suck at is writing. NO SKILLS. And I refused to do it in my previous career in advertising. It kind of makes me laugh that I needed a copywriter for everything, just to be on the safe side. I did dream about writing great things, but had no capacity or courage to do that.
Taking a good look at your mindset will help you identify and cure this fear of failure or the fear of not being enough. Adapting yourself towards a mindset of growth will set you free on being perfect. Setting up a coaching practice without writing myself would've been like being voiceless towards your audience. Nowadays I do not sit around waiting for inspiration, I just simply put a word after a word. And there are tons I want to learn about writing, once I get the chance.
When we operate from the fixed mindset our (perceived) skills can become restrictions. Think about yourself in the beginning of your career. Did you choose your first "real job"? Or did you take the one you got and thought to proceed from there? Sometimes we end up walking on a certain career path because of the natural choices and skills we come to develop. And then it suddenly seems impossible to do something that you really would love! Adopting a growth mindset means that you need to believe in learning. Carol S. Dweck says
"..the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value."
Every time we fall, we get to make decisions. Do you want stay there blaming others for your mistakes and move on to something else? If you do, you are succumbing to the fixed mindset that our ability is innate and failure can be unsettling because it makes us doubt how good we are.
Or do you collect your learnings and become a little bit better version of yourself? With a growth mindset we expect that we can improve our ability and a failure shows us what we need to work on.
Luckily these mindsets are not set in stone. You can actively begin to work towards you desired mindset in that will help you grow! Such great news.
So it is not really about who we are now. We the people, are NOT finished products. It is more about who we want to be, who we want to grow into. The faith that we can become more, that we can learn needs to sink deep into our mind, body and soul. That is something that frees us up from the finished product mindset into "a great product in the making"-one.
Renja is a love and transformation coach who inspires women to live lives true to themselves. Her strengths lie in listening and problem solving. Her clients describe her with words like: open, warm, firm, dedicated and creative. She is the founder of Ahaa Helsinki, that aims to bring down to earth coaching available for everyone. She believes in making decisions, creating visions and taking action. She absolutely loves what she does, and she is always open for women who are willing and committed to create better lives for themselves.
Renja has a master's degree in Economics and is a graduate from the Mentor Masterclass Life Coach training program.
Renja writes two blogs: one in english here. And one in Finnish here.