Laurie Swanson Blog

I Haven't (fill in the blanks)...YET!

I haven't (written that book, lost that weight, made that budget) YET.

I was listening to a podcast from Carol Dweck the other day and she told a great story about a Chicago high school that required their students to pass a certain number of classes in order to graduate. Like any high school. The difference was, in the event the student did not pass a class, instead of an "F" they received the grade of "Not Yet".

Of Two Minds

The podcast went on to talk about how there are two mindsets.

cheatingThe Fixed Mindset is where a person sees a failure as something to avoid. A person may actually cheat in order to avoid receiving a failing grade, or they will hang around with people who don't challenge them because they don't want to feel bad about themselves. They will set their sights lower and not go after that dream that they really want out of fear of failure.

mindsetA Growth Mindset is when someone sees themselves as capable of improving. These people are more likely to process an error, learn from it and correct going forward. The Growth Mindset has a tendency to dream BIG dreams and these folks do not need constant validation. They acknowledge themselves.

stuart smalley 2I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and, doggone it, people like me!

Does this mean that we are all going to turn into Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live?

Let's hope not! Though there is something to be said for repeating positive affirmations, having a Growth Mindset is more than that. It is about recognizing your progress and not being afraid to try something new.

According to the research, effort builds new neurons in your brain. Your abilities are capable of improving and you can even get smarter. Thinking, "I love a challenge" and putting effort into something new, even if you think you might fail, will build neurons in your brain and help you have greater improvement going forward.

So What?

How do we take this information and apply into our everyday lives? Time for a Laurie Story!

The story of how I almost let a brownie get the best of me

browniesI was invited to be a sub at my mom's monthly bridge group. I volunteered to make brownies.

At bridge, I have a small brownie with the rest of the women. It was DELICIOUS (shout out to Ghirardelli's). I get home that night with some leftovers and CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT THE BROWNIES. In the past, I would have given into the urge and had another one.

Time to put this idea of the Growth Mindset to the test

I found that I was in a Fixed Mindset, focusing on all the mistakes I had made that led me to the battle with the brownie.

  • I should not have made brownies in the first place.
  • I should have chosen not to have any brownies at bridge.
  • I had failed, so what did it matter if I kept failing forward and had another brownie? #StopFailingForward

I decided to play a little game with myself and use the Growth Mindset technique and acknowledge myself for the progress I had made:

  • "Laurie, did you notice that you only had 1 brownie. That is a big deal because in the past you would have had 2 or 3 while still at bridge"
  • "Laurie, did you notice the size of the brownie you choose? 1.5 x 1.5 inches. That is astounding. Remember how a 3×3 brownie used to seem small?"
  • "Right now you are actually not eating a brownie and acknowledging yourself." Now THAT IS PROGRESS!

pat on the backGuess what? I felt so much better. The compulsion to head to the kitchen and eat a brownie went away. I am not sure if I am any smarter or grew any new neurons but I plan to keep telling myself that, even though I have not lost all the weight I want to lose, I get a grade of "Not Yet" and a gold star for the effort I am making. A brownie will not beat me at this game.

Try This:

  1. Name an area of your life where you are looking to make improvements.
  2. Write down all the Fixed Mindset behaviors that are keeping you from succeeding. How are you surrounding yourself with people or things that don't encourage your growth; how do you negative self-talk to keep yourself in a rut?
  3. Create a Growth Mindset that you can use instead. Look for ways where you are making progress and acknowledge your progress. Write it down, say it out loud. What do you need to change to support your new mindset? What have you ben tolerating that needs to stop now?
  4. Post your findings on our Facebook page in the month of March and receive a surprise in the mail from me. mailman


“I get knocked down, but I get up again”





By reading my coaching services blog, you acknowledge that I am not a licensed psychologist or health care professional and my services do not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals. Coaching is in no way to be construed or substituted as psychological counseling or any other type of therapy or medical advice. I will at all times exercise my best professional efforts, skills and care. However, I cannot guarantee the outcome of coaching efforts and/or recommendations in my newsletter and my comments about the outcome are expressions of opinion only. I cannot make any guarantees other than to deliver the coaching services purchased as described.

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