I am about to embark on a four week career development program which is suppose to help me decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. Do I want to switch careers or do I want to rediscover the one I have been involved in for the past 40 years? Hmmm quite a life changing decision.
In reading some of the information sent I was introduced to two mindsets to navigating your career. One was fixed mindset which is the belief that your ability is ingrained. We are born with a level of ability and there is little we can do to changed it. The other is growth mindset which is the belief that your ability can be developed by hard work. We may be born with certain abilities but we are determined to find different ways to expand our world.
I took a test to see which mindset I was and not surprising to me I was overwhelmingly categorized as having a growth mindset. I have to admit I have a tendency to think that I can’t do certain things. I try to talk myself into being satisfied with what is but the voice in my head keeps reminding me that I can do better if I just push a bit harder.
I was in Paris and had an appointment with a photographer to show him my book. I was new to the city and was having a hard time getting my bearings. I couldn’t seem to find the location of the studio and kept walking in the wrong direction. Of course I didn’t speak French and the Plan de Paris was no help what so ever. My fixed mindset told me to give up and go home. But my growth mindset kept telling me that if I went home I would not go back out again. My determination to find the studio pushed me to achieve that goal. It took me another hour but I finally succeeded. The outcome wasn’t earth shattering but knowing that I had achieved even that small goal was everything. I would not let my mind dictate my outcome. I was determined to find my way.
I have taken that determination through my life and I know that is one of the reasons why I have had a good deal of success in my career. Not always wildly successful but enough to know that in facing the setbacks I have gotten better with effort. I have taken risks to step out of my comfort zone and because of it I have seen places and had experiences that have made my life richer.
So why now am I having such a hard time deciding what direction to go in for the rest of my journey? Part of me says to relax and rest on my laurels but that person that was determined to find my way in the vast city of Paris so many years ago is still inside me. It’s maddening at times to have a growth mindset but to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In this year of 2020, there is a lot of things I could blame on Covid 19. It would be so easy to use the excuse when I drop the ball in getting on with life. I have been trying to finish a book I wrote 5 years ago and being home gave me every reason to do just that. I even joined a writer’s community to inspire and quite frankly kick my butt into doing the work.
But here it is the end of the year. I signed up for the community back in February even before Covid had really hit so at the time I didn’t have much free time to devote to the writing and still, I was frozen. I began listening to all the things one must do to get a book published and got cold feet. Started a number of times and then stopped. Even stopped writing this blog which I have been doing for years.
I tried to figure out why I was so stuck . I had shown my rough draft to a couple of people hoping I would get the thumbs up and get moving but they rightfully so explained I had not dug deep enough to make the novel appealing. Why would anyone want to listen to my story of two hundred and fifty pages when it was mostly surface?
Sitting here now this writing is going deeper than I ever have in the book. That writing is more of me telling a story instead of living the story and up until now, I have been too frozen to go to that place. And then there’s covid…
I can’t explain why I checked out during the six months I had off. I had all the time in the world to write and had a large manuscript just waiting to be cleaned up. And still, I didn’t move forward.
In looking back I am realizing I’m not ready to spill my guts aka Hillbilly Elegy (I’m from Cincinnati) and that is my life. That story is what I lived growing up and have not had the strength or desire to face it in such a personal way.
Let’s hope in ringing in the new year I can find solace in knowing I can go deep without even having to worry about it going public. I think it’s time for me to thaw out what’s been tucked away for so long. I hope this covid thing is allowing some to step into some warmth.
With all that is going on right now in the world, the word start came into mind. I have a lot of time on my hands now that I can’t leave my house. So that voice started telling me to start cleaning your garage and throw out all the makeup items you never use. Start cleaning those closets that have been overlooked for so long. Start organizing your pictures in those boxes (in the garage) and on your computer that you know you have duplicates of but have never taken the time to delete them for fear you will delete all of them.
Wait! This is what is going on in my crazy mind when the world is fighting a pandemic virus? Are you kidding me? No, sad to say I’m not. For the other meaning to start is a sudden movement of surprise or alarm. I don’t know about you but when I am alarmed I tend to play it off and start thinking about all of the things I should be doing. I become more aware of what I’m not doing instead of what I am doing.
I am catching up on my long-overdue reading and believe me, it’s not easy. I get a newspaper every day and have two and three webinars to view on any given day. That’s not including the stack of books I am determined to read before God knows when.
I am determined to start a podcast of my writings but the second meaning becomes very clear why I haven’t. A sudden movement of surprise or alarm. More like an alarm for failing. I have been listening to Mike Dooley who has a three-part webinar entitled The Art of Performing Miracles.
Now before you think I’m going woo-woo on you he does have some very interesting and valuable things to say. When I first saw the email about it I thought, “Oh brother here we go again. Another webinar about changing your life and doing it with their $99.00 program. But it was all free and no sales pitch was attached so I thought, “Maybe this is a good place to start.”
He focused not on the journey but on the outcome. He asked to imagine the end result. To ask yourself what do I really want? He was much like William James, the father of modern psychology. He talked about not wasting time looking down but to look up to move forward. To start and take action. Give myself a deadline and follow what adventure it will take me regardless of the outcome. To just START.
Right now, it can’t be any more unsure than where we are now. I know we will get through this and on the other side. I will have chosen the first meaning of start to realize miracles are invisible until we realize they are possible. Take care of yourself. We need all the miracles we can get.