#growthmindset from age 5 to 39

I told myself that I would write at least once a month ( AND WRITE AUTHENTICALLY) in order to practice reflection.

Right now, I feel like death. I have a cold with the absolute worst congestion and an unbearable sore throat….but this is my motivation for writing. So I press on, literally.

No one OR nothing can stop me from striving to be my best. BUT my effort doesn’t make me perfect -not as a mother, friend, girlfriend, supervisor, Christian- well, you get the idea…Shocking…I am human! Feedback is directed at us in many ways. Directly or indirectly- sometimes it stings, stresse, polarizes, inspires, humbles, and/or challenges us-no matter the delivery, we have to choose to rise above and most importantly respond. Call this developing a #growthmindset because it is a part of our composite. So many things do not matter, not our age, degree earned or socioeconomic status; we each make a choice to grow (or limit our growth).

Sometimes our deepest lessons of acquired knowledge do not come from a standardized test, but rather meaningful reflection and the ability to see yourself as how others might see you. I have been receiving feedback and information about how others experience who I am, and that knowledge is opening the eyes of my heart.

For example, I recently read mostly positive feedback from a state-wide workshop that  I gave and there was just one evaluation that mentioned that “she could have been more comfortable with the crowd.”

I wasn’t surprised because first,  I always get nervous and it was a big room with a very large crowd. To make it difficult upon myself,  I was missing my transition bell to alert the room to be aware of time changes. Instead I had to yell over 70 happily engaged participants (my partial dream of what success looks like) and that’s also what made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I was scanning the room because I was trying to pay attention to people’s comfort levels; I was never thinking that someone was scanning me that closely!  I am never going to forget my bell again! Plus I plan to focus on increasing my self-awareness so I can be more in tune with the room rather than my own hang-ups (missing supplies).

Even though the majority agreed it was an excellent or good session, that one voice is what challenged me to grow. Reminder: We do not always get an evaluation in life and sometimes we have to self-assess on our own!

Sometimes it feels like it can take just one voice to dismantle a good thing, but we have to rememember that if we really want to help others, we have to self-reflect and grow ourselves intentionally in order to best demonstrate our capacity for a #growthmindset. I also have several mentors (professional and spiritual) whom support and guide too.

We ultimately have to believe in our purpose and imagine what we can acheive. For me, being a mother is my highest purpose and I want my son to acheive self-actualization as he matures throughout his lifespan.

Recently, my five year old has been challenging me to better help him navigate his world without a father. (Breathe deeply)

My own parents divorced when I was just a baby. I didn’t really see my father until 3rd grade and that was just for a moment and then I met him for a second time when I was 14, when I was placed in foster care. I never went home to my mother’s house and I never went to live with my father.  So I remember thinking all those years,  “Why me?” “Am I not good enough” “Was it my fault?” “Is she/he ever coming for me?” More questions formed and none were answered fully, not until my late twenties, when I finally figured out how to ask them outloud to my father and my mid-thirties when I finally asked my mother. My father’s expression of love and support always looked and felt different. It didn’t make me feel like I belonged. But I know my father loves me- without a doubt.

So yes, I know the feelings that my son may feel and the feelings he will continue to encounter as he navigates his future. That is why it hurts so deeply for me- I know I cannot wave a wand and make a father appear. As much as I blamed my mom all those years, my father-in the midst if his own struggle- For 14 years, he had made a choice to stay away. I know that my words and actions mean everything to my son.

When my son brings up his  father- I am limited to what I  can say but  I try to provide an age-appropriate response. But what I haven’t let him see is my grief- I never cry.

But yesterday, when I had a temp of 100° and I was feeling extremely sick, my son said something about not having a dad and I cried- the tears just flowed….. And something happened.

My nearly six-year old heard my tears and turned to look at me- it was like he had to see that they were real. He was reading me, like a book. He needed to know I felt something. I do not want his little heart to be filled with so much sadness.

I cannot tiptoe around the fact I am a single mother. Even when I was pregnant, people asked me if I was going to give up my baby because he deserved two parents.  I fight to push through limited points of view; I am changing the cycle-I am a better mother-and I am making sure he has good male role models, mentors and family in his life, to love and lift him up always!

This was not the plan as they say, but it is God’s plan now.

This is a life-long conversation and it will require us both to have a #growthmindset..

It is possible, even with a kindergartner or first-grader to develop the heart, soul and mind…..

My son is about to turn six in a few weeks; we have been reading since the day he was born. During my  parent-teacher conference session,  his teacher stated that I could help him by explaining/reviewing the author and illustator each time we read. I should have been doing this all along but I hadn’t been explicably told.

We began doing this daily talk for a few weeks; my son is now pointing out the author and illustrator on his own. Each time we read a book, he is like, “you don’t have to tell me, I got this.”

So, we have been developing our #growthmindset through reading and developing conversations. Some of our #growthmindset lessons have been building from a few children’s books:

  • What do you do with a problem?
  • (See the opportunity)
  • Rainbow Fish
  • (Quit being stubborn and start sharing)
  • Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons
  • (Buttons come and buttons go)
  • (There is always another way to address/sing a problem)

Wrap up:

In order to practice growth, we have to intentionally lead our lives with purpose through action; this process often leads us on the journey of transformation and creates a shift for the expansion of a growth mindset.  FYI: It never narrows; it only  widens through feedback and self-awareness.

Who are you becoming?

Reflection Questions:

  1. Is it hard for you to ask for feedback? Why?
  2. How do you respond to feedback? Please describe how it makes you feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
  3. If you made an action plan today, how would you utilize resourcessnd/or mentors to explore your growth?
  4. Finish this sentence: To grow is to practice__________ and to eliminate____________.



Published by soulinspiredkcr

I am an experienced speaker, trainer and consultant that teaches and inspires universities, foster care agencies, foster youth and families to practice resilience strategies via storytelling, creative arts and heart work. My passion is to empower individuals and organizations to succeed! Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram: @soulinspiredkcr Bookings: Please contact kimberly.c.rhyan@gmail.com

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