I got my green belt today (YAY!) and I wasn’t even a bit scared. So I have officially checked one goal off my 2011 list – the fearless belt test.
The nature of the test helped. It was broken up in two parts, was held at our usual practice spot and I was tested by the easier of the two testers. But while that made it less intense, it was me controlling my preparation that made the difference. I knew my shit, I couldn’t be shaken on that , so no matter how hard the test I would have been okay.
It makes me wonder how often my feelings of fear are actually telling me that I haven’t prepared adequately.
One of the problems with being able to think quickly on my feet is that I’ve learned I can get away with minimal planning when I’m the only person really affected. But ‘getting away’ with minimal planning/preparation is not the same as succeeding and it means I’m not really trying that hard*, even when things are important to me. And I’m causing myself unnecessary stress because I have time to prepare these things, I just don’t.
It’s another example of how my fixed mindset ** holds me back. Like the kids that Carol Dweck studied in her Mindset book I somehow think that having to prepare means I don’ t know my stuff. It’s an endless loop of foolishness – how am I supposed to know something I haven’t learned or haven’t studied? - but I get stuck in it all the same, subconsciously preventing myself from getting ahead because I don’t want to seem like I have to work at it. The most annoying part is that it is me I’m most trying to impress, I’m not even trying to look ‘smart’ for other people – although that would be my preference, of course, if I seemed awesome and effortless to everyone else too.
So this fearless belt test has become about more than facing the nervousness that comes before a test of skill. It turned out to be about learning that fear can equal an acknowledgement of the need to prepare, and learning that actually doing the preparation leads to real confidence. That confidence, of course, leads to increasing my chances of success.
In my last post, I said I needed to make time to do the work for my goals, and this is clearly part and parcel of that. Even if the job ahead is just a task, not part of a larger goal, I need to make the time to prepare. And I need to do that while keeping a growth mindset. I feel like a lot of pieces are coming together for me right now. This should be interesting.
Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed one? Is my (now-former) ‘don’t try too hard and failure isn’t real’ approach familiar to you? Is your fear related to a lack of preparation? How much preparation time do you give yourself for something important? Got any ideas about how I can avoid getting stuck in a fixed mindset next time?
* I think for me, this is a way to avoid self-criticism, because if I fail when I’m not trying that hard, it’s because of lack of effort not a ‘real’ failure. Not a logical train of thought, but a track I seem to end up on. I’m workin’ on it. (see what I did there?)
**My natural state – I’m developing a growth mindset but it takes conscious thought, at least so far.