In This Episode…
After setting out my stall in yesterday’s episode to become more aware so I can identify my Fixed Mindset behaviours and the thoughts that trigger them, I have already had my first success. Last night I experimented with a new approach to learning and it worked AMAZINGLY.
All it took was a very subtle shift in how I think about learning and practice and the results astounded me. In hindsight I already knew the theory but last night I applied it and got some real life learning about how to learn in real life.
This is perhaps my favourite episode I’ve recorded so far.
Episode Show Notes
Hi, it’s Michael Tipper and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast.
Now I’m calling this episode today “Developing A Growth Mindset – The First Shift Has Happened”.
I’m really quite excited about what’s happening in the development of my growth mindset. I thought it was going to be this huge wall I’ve got to climb. But I realise I’ve made a significant change and shift already and I want to use this episode to share that with you.
So a bit of background.
In yesterday’s episode, which I called The First Step To Developing A Growth Mindset, I talked about the importance of developing awareness
That was an awareness to spot when I was exhibiting fixed mindset behaviours, and then to examine the thoughts and the beliefs that had triggered those behaviours when they happened.
This was about being more mindful. I identified that as the first step.
Last night was my usual midweek dance class I want to share with you what happened that’s relevant to yesterday’s episode
Now in this class I decided to address one of my fixed mindset behaviours which is about avoiding doing things that I might get wrong.
Let me just show you what happened during the lesson.
As usual we did a warm up where we all lined up behind the instructor and did the warm up steps and that was good fun.
Then we got into the class where we were taught a new routine by my friends Uzhair and Emma who are just amazing dancers. And they were teaching us an improver level routine.
One of the moves is actually quite tricky and it involves changing the direction of your partner’s travel, then you put them into a body isolation and then re-position them so they end up sat on your knee.
It’s quite hard to describe so actually seeing it performed, it’s a beautiful move when executed brilliantly – Uzhair and Emma are fantastic at it.
This is the main move they were teaching and they broke it down step by step. During the class we repeat the move over and over again and changed partners frequently throughout the class.
Success in performing the move during the lesson varies depending on when in the class you assess yourself but also depending on who you are dancing with.
This is because some partners respond well, some partners needed a little bit more encouragement and some didn’t quite find the move easy at all.
By the end of the 45 minute lesson I felt I’d got the move and understood what it was. Then we went into the social dancing.
Now usually what happens when I do the social dancing is I revert to my usual moves. I’ve got a small catalogue of moves that I’ve been doing for a year or so. I can do them quite well and I tend to bring them out whenever I’m dancing socially.
Now if I try a routine I’ve just learned, I generally only do it with the girls I’ve danced with in the class who I know can do it because that’s what they were doing in the class.
I generally don’t try and out on the girls who struggled with it in the class or if they’ve not been in the class because the quality of the lead dictates the move. And if they have an idea of what’s coming, then they’re more likely to do it.
But if it’s with a brand new dancer who’s not done the routine, if they know the basics of the dance style, then they should be able to follow. But it’s the quality of the lead.
And because I didn’t have confidence in the quality of my lead, I would often not bother doing it with girls who didn’t know the routine.
That was me hiding from it. And so what I was only ever doing in that approach was only doing the move to prove I could do it. I wouldn’t do it with anyone where I might fail.
So that’s what I would normally do which is pretty much how I’ve learned to dance over the last two years. It is a strategy that has worked, but as I have mentioned before, I endured rather than enjoyed it.
Now I’m using a dance analogy here, but these principles also apply to me developing my productivity, to me developing all the other skills I’ve learned and to the work that I do.
This isn’t just about dance and I’ll keep reiterating this. So what did I do differently last night?
Well, I decided ahead of time that instead of proving I could do it, I would experiment and see what I experienced and notice what happened.
This time I made sure that I practiced my new move with everyone. I didn’t just pick and choose who to do the move with.
I tried out the new move, whether they could do it in the class or not or whether they were in the class or not.
Another thing I did was instead of just trying it once, I tried it multiple times with the same dance partner. I would notice whether I did it properly because sometimes even though I know what I should do, I didn’t do it quite right.
I noticed what I did properly. I noticed what my dance partners’ movements were; whether they moved as I would expect them to. I also noticed what adjustments I needed to make to my moves.
For example I realised I needed to put a greater emphasis on locking out my partners left arm to allow me to leverage her body more effectively. If you don’t do that and their arm bends, you can’t guide them to where you want them to go.
I also noticed something really, really interesting.
By trying this out multiple times, I failed. By failing multiple times. I noticed. By noticing multiple times I learned what I needed to do. By learning multiple times I developed a new approach. By approaching it differently multiple times, I got better.
I’m saying it now as it is a statement of the obvious. But until I experienced it, I couldn’t really know it.
I mean I could have talked about that in theory and I’ve stood up, I’m sure, in the training I’ve done where I’ve talked about growth mindset and I’ve told people, “Oh yes, you must fail and from your failures you learn and then from new learnings you get better and that’s how it works.”
I know the theory, but to actually do it myself, it’s like “Duh!”.
I’m excited because the transformation because the transformation is intoxicating.
It’s like, “Oh my God!”.
I felt good about doing it because I’d taken the pressure off to prove myself.
I was just seeing what happened. I was taking the feedback and saying, “Okay, what do I need to do to change this?”
I was learning from it and I got better. I sound quite evangelical about this… Because I am!!!
This is so powerful.
Anything you’re trying to do, if you’re struggling with it, then the growth mindset approach is very powerful approach. I’ve just experienced that and so I’m really excited to have got that frame of reference just from a simple dance move.
And now I’m looking to explore using this in the future.
So to give you an example next week I’m going to be facilitating a senior management team of an organisation who are looking at some significant issues in their business. In the past I would have been focused on “Oh, I’ve got to make sure I prove to be good enough to do it”.
But now I’m going in with an approach of “Right, let’s see how. I’ve got a starting hypothesis, which I’ll work with for this group and let’s see what happens”.
And then I’ll take from what happens and then I will adjust my approach accordingly rather than beat myself up for having got it wrong if that happens.
It’s amazing the difference in how I feel about taking on this new task just by having this new frame of reference that’s come out of learning to dance.
So that’s today’s episode.
I’m going to now go and have a cup of green tea and calm down, and I look forward to showing you more information about this as my journey progresses.
Have a great day.