Last weekend I had a big vocal audition! Click on the image below to see how it went:
This brings me to the subject of "growth mindset" and what almost prevented me from ever getting to this exciting place in my life today.
When researcher Carol Dweck first discovered and coined the terms "growth mindset" and "fixed mindset" years ago, people assumed that they had one mindset or the other.
But the research soon showed that we shift between these two mindsets throughout the day/week/year. The problem is that we often don't REALIZE when it's happening.
My story is a classic example.
As a kid I was labeled "talented" in music. I could match pitches well even though no one could hear me at first (I had to learn how to project my quiet, angelic voice). Throughout high school I received lessons, competed in voice competitions and special programs. My skills grew tremendously, but by senior year, I recognized that there were still several major gaps in my vocal ability that I had not been able to solve. I assumed my "natural gift" had reached it's limit and started living/acting from a fixed mindset when it came to music.
Eventually, the fear of failure in this realm became too painful to think about my childhood dreams of one day singing jazz. I avoided it, stopped talking about it and closed the book on that part of my life (except for singing at church, weddings and funerals).
On the flip side, the whole time I was hiding from music, I was growing exponentially in another area of my life--learning French. Because I was never considered "gifted" in this area, and nobody but me cared if I ever learned the language, I was less afraid of failing! This low pressure environment helped me find the courage to regularly immerse myself in the language.
Years of consistent, daily practice in fun, immersive situations worked. (Big surprise, right? :p)
So now you may be wondering how did music re-enter my life?
Thank the ukulele.
This fun, joyful instrument took the pressure off of learning music and eventually broke up my fixed musical mindset. Learning and growing my musical skills became fun and flowing rather than difficult and forced.
This got me back into voice lessons as well, and working with a vocal coach who knew how to help me learn to navigate the issues holding me back.
Without these major shifts, I would not be the more well-rounded person I am today, nor would I have exciting new opportunities to challenge myself musically, like in the audition video above.
With this example in mind, I invite you to take a look at your life and ask if there are areas where you are operating from a growth mindset and others where you're stuck in a fixed mindset. Then see if you can think of one small action to release some of the pressure holding your fixed mindset and start having a bit of fun instead.
A little bit of growth goes a long way when you compound it daily!
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.