Embrace your Wilderness

"Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve." Mary Kay Ash

As a coach, I am always dealing with mindset issues. I have seen people become prisoners of their own past actions and experiences. They find it easy to blame others for their failures, but their mindset does not allow them to learn from these failures and move forward.

Dealing with the Wilderness

“With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you're challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.” - Travis Bradberry

Dealing with failures and setbacks has never been easy. It takes courage and strength to come out of this wilderness. No one has escaped failure. We all have our own way of dealing with setbacks. During such periods, we feel as if life has come to a standstill. Nothing seems to be working. The universe is plotting against us and setting us up for failure. We refuse to believe that this time will also pass.

A coaching client once asked me if there was any way he can stop people being negative towards him. He believed that all his peers and bosses conspired against him and prevented his career growth. According to him, the world around him needed to change but not him.

There were others who blamed it on karma. They had this firm belief that nothing is ever going to change for them. They will always remain failures. It’s God’s way of punishing them for their past deeds.

Such people try hard to defend their beliefs. They refuse to open their minds to gain different perspectives. They are perfect examples of fixed mindsets.

Shedding Negative Baggage

You have observed how babies continue to challenge themselves when they learn to walk. They are constantly falling, getting up, forcing themselves to be steady, and continuing to try. They don’t know what failure means. They sometimes take months to start walking, but eventually they walk. Success for them is a foregone conclusion.

Why do adults find it difficult to shed their negative baggage and attempt a comeback like the toddlers? Because toddlers live in the “Now” and as adults we live and hold on to the past. We hold grudges, which makes it difficult to let go the negatives and make a fresh start. This is even more difficult with a fixed mindset.

Converting Life’s Setbacks

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." - Pele

There are some who never run from failures. They hold grudges, get disappointed, but that is only momentary. It does not stop them from challenging themselves to win. Even in distress they will continue to confront obstacles.

Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential, writes:

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

From my own experience, and from those that I have coached, I have observed few important changes:

  • You will start looking at every failure in a new way, as a new opportunity to learn something. Every rejection will guide you to try something different.
  • It allows you to embrace all kinds of feedback sportingly. It helps you to get better and better.
  • You develop a belief that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. You achieve it with persistence and hard work.
  • More importantly, you start to appreciate others for their ideas and make them feel good about themselves.

Embrace your wilderness experience.

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