Friday, August 28, 2009

I want my mindset back!

I used to have a "growth" mindset. Now I worry that I have a fixed mindset. When life went bellyup on me (15 yrs ago?!) I think I switched from growth to fixed. I need to switch back!!! But how?

I remember that I used to take more chances -- particularly with my writing. I wrote short stories and sent them out. I threw myself into a medieval romance novel and sent it to the GH. Even though I don't have a historical bone in my body. Even though I had less time back then, because my kids were little.

But after life went all Death Star on me, I went into protective mode. Braced for disaster. It might have been necessary at first -- but I'm STILL there. The layoffs at the office haven't helped. Part of me still feels braced for disaster. But it's not TRULY necessary. If I lose my job, it won't impact my kids. They're launched. They're fine. And I would be too. I know that intellectually, but my limbic system doesn't seem to believe it.

I fear change and risk and I know that I find myself enjoying repetitive success -- just because it's a *reliable* success.

The one step I've made toward reversing this is that I've banned myself from entering anymore contests. Every time I see notice of a contest, I get tempted. Because it's just enough of a risk, that it feels like I'm in a growth mindset. Yet, it gets me no closer to the BIG risk, the ultimate goal. And if I do fail, it's no big.

It's a safe step that I've taken over and over with several (four now?) manuscripts since the Death Star.

I knew entering contests was getting in my way -- but until I read this article, I didn't fully understand how.

I'm still not sure I do.

But it feels like my eyes are somehow more open now. Maybe that's a start.


  1. Yvonne ~ I agree. You need to possess a great deal of self-awareness to make the decision to Contest or Not to Contest. If it gets you a step closer to your goals, then go for it. Enter away. But, as you've mentioned, if it's just a barrier to reaching your true goal of writing that next novel to the finish or getting published, then the answer for you would be a big no-can-do. Knowing yourself is half the battle.

  2. Think of this phase of your life as the rebirth. It's the time to recover, reclaim, remake, if necessary, your Self.

    Writing has a major role in this remodeling. Contests got you started, gave great motivation, but now leave the scenic travel to others.

    So, whenever you're ready...

  3. Very intriguing. Makes me wonder if "fixed mindset" is why I like crossword puzzles so much. Yay, they can be hard, but there's comfort knowing some of the tricks in solving them. It's a "safe" win. But I think (I hope) I have given myself permission to fail in that I am the farthest I've ever been on a writing project and I'm still going at it. It may turn into junk, but boyo, I am definitely growing and learning just by doing. And the 8 helps make that possible. A safe space to grow by failing. (In Mary Kay, we call that failing forward to success.)

    Maybe our masthead should speak to an open mindset? Open mindsets since 2009? :)