Are You Winning or Losing? Does It Matter?

Imagine your child won a Nobel Prize for giving one big idea to the world, through taking action. Do you believe this is possible? Do they have it in them to be exceptional?

I really hope you said yes, because it's true. No matter what intellectual, physical or other limitation they may have, giving the world a great idea and taking action on it is in all of our power and control, but it can be a tough road.
Developing a Growth Mindset is not just about helping them do more or become smarter kids, it's about developing their coping skills and having a healthy attitude towards difficult obstacles they will face in life.
Why is it that we love to watch biographies or hear stories about incredible people who have done incredible things? Do we just enjoy hearing about the part where they won the medal or their book was published, or they climbed the mountain? Of course not! That part is only satisfying when we can hear the "story" of how they did it.
It took how many years to write that book? And she was how old? And so broke that she was behind on rent?
Oh my gosh! You mean she broke her leg but managed to win an Olympic Medal in Figure Skating? How??
They got the idea for how to plant more tree's faster by watching their daughter play in the sandbox? So cool!
It's the story of how the band Queen came to be formed that is interesting. It's how someone like Oprah ends up becoming Oprah. It's the story of the invention of the first light bulb and Michael Jordan's rise to fame that keeps us in ah. But why?
A part of all of us believes we are capable of more than we currently present. When we hear stories of "success" and their grass roots, we are reminded that everyone starts our the same. In diapers, curious about the world and falling over and over again as we learn to walk.
Yes, we all have different upbringings. Some of us have incredibly supportive parents and others were in households of abuse. Some were encouraged in sports and had the means to pay for expensive equipment and coaches, while others had none but always loved to play. For every story of success where someone "had", there are just as many stories from someone who "had not" but still become a success.
Why weren't we those exceptions? Life is tough. End of sentence. It really is, but I don't mean in a physical sense. Bills need to be paid, yes, and that person cut you off in traffic that caused an accident, that really sucks. But when I say life is hard, I mean that no matter where you come from, the have's or have not's, we all fight battles in our heads.
"Did I do that well enough?"
"I know I could do more but I don't feel like it"
"Why are they doing better than me? Why can't I have that as well?"
"What am I doing wrong?"
"I wish I had said something differently back there. Now it's too late"
Man, it's exhausting being in ones head. Whether you appear confident or not, whether you can afford things or not, our brains are constantly questioning what we are doing and trying to convince us of false truths. It's an animal with basic needs to protect and survive. It does this to help but it is mental torture for many.
So, let's bring this back to a growth mindset in our kids. Why is it so important?
Because the commentary in a growth mindset sounds more like this:
"Wow, that didn't go as well as I thought. Now I know what they want to hear for next time"
"I'm tired today but I have almost reached my goal. I can't wait!"
"I wonder how they got all of those things? I should ask and learn from them"
"What am I doing wrong? I should ask someone experienced for help"
"I missed an opportunity to say how I felt. Next time I will remember to express myself more clearly"
Well I'm inspired. And Excited! A growth mindset uses energy to grow, not beat down and dwell on things that no longer matter.
This Weeks Growth Mindset Parent Challenge is, "I love that you didn't quit on this, even though it was tough."
The key to instilling a Growth Mindset is to keep their self identity and "pride", if you will, in the process of doing and trying, not on the results. You will notice that the phrase doesn't specify if they got an A or not. It doesn't say, I love how you won the game and didn't give up. This isn't about winning! Every top athlete has lost many games before they won. Every successful business owner has failed at numerous things before succeeding.
Encourage them never to quit, even when it get's tough. Get their brain to attached to positive emotions and chemical stimulation when they encounter something tough. That's their cue that something satisfying is here and now. Not when they get the A. The process is the exciting part.
Try using this phrase and add it to your collection from past weeks. Like all things, practice takes perfect, mom and dad. That goes for you too.

Labeling Your Kids to Shape Their Identity

Parents Growth Mindset Challenge Week #2!
How did it go last week? Did you practice using the Growth Mindset Phrase?
It takes practice but WOW! What a difference you will see in your kids.
Try to actively use this weeks phrase. This Growth Mindset statement is doing 2 things.
Firstly, it is positively reinforcing great behavior, which in this case is asking for your opinion. Kids, and all of us, want to do good things. We all want positive attention and be praised for good behavior. Asking for other peoples opinion is a great skill to have. It demonstrates leadership, helps others feel valued, and can build incredible teams who can do incredible things as a strong unit. Humble people ask for others opinions; Insecure individuals and those with inflated egos do not.
Secondly, this phrase is labeling them as a "Considerate Person". We are helping to ground their identity into a positive personality trait. By pointing out that they are in fact a considerate person based on the action they just displayed, it is not an empty comment. They will feel like the compliment has been validated in their minds and, therefore, must be true. When humans can tie their identity to a trait, they act in accordance to it naturally without effort. New connections are made in their minds to display this behavior and every time they act in accordance with it, it reinforces it further. It becomes who they area.
But be careful, it works both ways. If you label your child negatively, the same thing will happen. We never mean to do it, but it does happen. Perhaps they are playing with another child and take the other child's toy away. You want to immediately correct this behavior but stay something like, "Don't do that. You aren't not a good sharer." That statement is just as effective as the positive label. They will believe you and find opportunities to prove that phrase is correct.
Or perhaps you ask them to clean their room for the 10th time and finally say, "You are a terrible listener!" or "You are so messy!"
We never intentionally mean to hurt their identity, but it happens. Everything worth doing takes conscious practice until it becomes an unconscious, positive habit.
Try this weeks Growth Mindset Parent Challenge. Intentionally use it. Find opportunities to use positive labels with your child and watch them develop almost overnight.
Stay tuned for next week!