I don’t know how to articulate how difficult this school year has been for my girls.  It has been fairly smooth sailing for many years, and then all the wheels came off the bus this past fall.  Perhaps we were due for some challenges. I have one intensely private child, so I will do my best to share my thoughts without trampling on her feelings.

My girls are all good students –  hard workers with defined goals for how they want the next few years to progress.  One needs no academic accommodations to be successful. One needs very few, but her stumbling block really irritates her.  One needs many interventions to keep her on track with her peers and managing her needs can feel overwhelming at times for all involved.  

The concept that has been so instrumental in helping us navigate this year is introduced in the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.  A very simple summary is excerpted here, from the author’s website:

Every so often a truly groundbreaking idea comes along. This is one. Mindset explains:

  • Why brains and talent don’t bring success
  • How they can stand in the way of it
  • Why praising brains and talent doesn’t foster self-esteem and accomplishment, but jeopardizes them
  • How teaching a simple idea about the brain raises grades and productivity
  • What all great CEOs, parents, teachers, athletes know

Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. When you read Mindset, you’ll see how.

What I can tell you from our experiences this year are that working with our daughters to develop resiliency through this concept has been one of the most worthwhile endeavors of my life.  Hearing them point out when I am demonstrating a “fixed” mindset snaps me out of negative thinking and forces me to practice what I am constantly preaching.  They are getting it and it’s just so cool.

The craziest part of this whole experiment is that my daughter with the biggest excuse to curse the obstacles placed in her way exhibits the most solid “Growth Mindset” of any of us.  She sees her obstacles as opportunities and knows that they will end up setting her up for future success.  She has advocated for herself in the face of a teacher who is repeatedly vocal about his disappointment in her.  I’ve watched her, in meetings with this teacher, explain how his limiting beliefs are a challenge she’d rather not have to face.  I can’t put into words what witnessing that level of courage feels like, but it’s pretty amazing.  

Living this concept within the four walls of our home has translated to every level of our business plan.  As if by magic, we attract and adore working with clients who also love a good challenge and positive attitude.   We also have clients who are going through the lowest times of their lives and aren’t in the frame of mind to see their devastation as an opportunity.  That’s fine, too.  They see our unwavering determination to help them reach their goals as a bright spot in an otherwise bleak situation.  

If we can partner with you on any real estate transaction, we promise that you will get our best, most innovative thinking on the project.  Obstacles=Opportunity.  There’s just no other way we would have it.  

My nephew gave a Ted Talk on the topic of Mindset.  I’ve included the video of his presentation below.  I just love it and I hope that you do, too!

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This is my nephew, Brendan Brosnan, giving a Ted Talk on the power of Mindset.  I may be a bit biased, but I don’t think there is anyone who couldn’t benefit from a little mental tune-up from this amazing young man.  Check it out!

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