This morning I slept in. I’d forgotten to reset my alarm after waking up super early yesterday. It’s funny how your body just seems to know that it’s the wrong time to be waking up. Firstly there were too many cars driving past on their way to work and secondly it was Frank who woke me up. Frank doesn’t move before 7am on a weekday so I knew I was late before I’d even checked the clock. 

Instead of rushing to make up for lost time, which would be my normal reaction, I decided to keep to my original plan and go for a run. The benefit of running 45 minutes later than normal meant that I got to see the sunrise. 

It had been raining all night in Ballarat but at 7am this morning there was a clear deep blue sky slowly turning peach as the sun came up. The last few remaining stars were flickering out of sight. It was magic. 

This morning's situation is a perfect example of having a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. I’ve been thinking about this idea a lot this week because whenever I find myself coming up against some obstacle it's normally a fixed mindset that is causing the blockage.

Having a fixed mindset is when you avoid challenges, refuse to receive criticism or feedback, feel threatened by others' success, can’t accept failure and generally believe that talent is static. A fixed mindset is having a very limited belief in yourself.

A growth mindset on the other hand is when you view challenges as opportunities, embrace constructive feedback, you’re inspired by other’s success, you see failure as an important and necessary part of growth and most importantly, you believe that things can always get better. A growth mindset is believing in yourself.

I heard this great analogy that I’m about to butcher but it went along the lines that a fixed mindset is viewing the world like a pie. When someone takes a piece of that pie there is less pie for you, so you guard that pie. A growth mindset views the world as a lite candle. Others can bring their own candles and light them from your flame. As more people share the flame, the brighter the whole world gets. It's cheesy but it's a great visual to illustrate differences between mindsets. 

At work we call this the silver lining effect. 

EVERYTHING has a silver lining, no matter how shitty the situation. I got to see the sunrise this morning because I was late - this is a silver lining. As a business our growth mindset is one of our biggest assets. Without it we’d be too overwhelmed to get out of bed in the morning.

As business owners we have opportunities all the time to exercise a growth mindset. A few months ago now we took TinyOffice to the Buninyong Sustainability Festival. We had a section of a building on the back of the ute and spoke to lots of interested parties throughout the duration of the event. One of the people we spoke to was a direct competitor. At first Matt was a little guarded but as the conversation continued, it of course turned out that we face a stack of similar problems in running our businesses. He was very interested in our system and we were proud to show it off. 

The next day we received an email from this person asking where we got the connectors for the system from and if they could buy them. Matt of course had invented these connectors himself and got them manufactured locally. We now had a few options. We could sell the connectors to the competition for an outrageous price or we could give them the files so they could make them themselves. 

We sat on the fence for a few days - it was our intellectual property and what made our system so slick so why would we give it away but then we didn’t want to waste our time making these connectors for them considering they were simple and they’d probably just figure out the design eventually for themselves anyway. 

In the end we looked at this as an opportunity to be generous. We were proud that Matt’s invention was something that the competition wanted to buy off us. This is a win for a young business. We offered them the files so they could produce the components themselves. This is a growth mindset and more importantly how we want to behave as a business. 

On a smaller scale I applied a growth mindset to Alice being home sick for three days this week. Sadly when the kids get sick my initial response is - shit, how the hell am I going to look after them and get all my work done! I get really stressed and normally end up getting cross at sick kids and force them back to school before they’re ready. I’m not proud of this reaction but it's what happens when you're self employed without sick leave and don’t have family nearby!

This time I decided to look at this time together as an opportunity to hang out with Alice. I didn’t have any major deadlines so I could afford a bit of time away from my desk and all Alice wanted was cuddles. So that's what we did. We sat on the couch for three days watching Harry Potter 1 through to 5 while eating toast and drinking hot chocolates. It was frickin delightful! 

What would’ve normally been a really stressful week for me became this time of connection for me and Alice. Everyone thinks their kids are amazing but mine are particularly spectacular and giving myself space to relish in that was pretty special. 

Everyday, single day unexpected situations pop up from the periphery. Sometimes they’re positive, like an email from a potential new client and sometimes they’re not, like your daughter being sent home sick from school. 

Leaning into a growth mindset will give you the best chance to turn whatever you face into an opportunity. It also makes the world a better place and works as a really great antidote to being a fucken jerk.

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