Sometimes you just need to start all over again.
You come to a point in your life and realize what you need is a fresh new beginning in your career, your business, a relationship, or a creative project.
When that happens, starting over often feels like a failure or the loss of the effort and resources you have already invested. And even though what you are doing within the current setting does not work anymore, you hang on to it just so that you don’t have to deal with change or face the unknown. Also, you can’t help but think: “If it didn’t work last time, why should it work this time?” You see giving a new try as another road leading to failure.
Stanford professor Dr. Carol Dweck says that the fear of failure is nothing but a mindset problem. Dr. Dweck has done a tremendous amount of research to understand what makes a person give up in the face of adversity instead of striving to persevere. It turns out the answer is surprisingly simple: It is all in your head. The culprit is your mindset. If you believe your talents are inborn or fixed, Dweck says, then you will try to avoid failure at all costs because failure is the proof of your limitation.
According to Dweck, people with a fixed mindset like to solve the same problems within their current ability over and over again. It reinforces their sense of competence. They’d rather not go for challenges; they feel smart and content only when they get it right. But people who believe their talents and skills grow with persistence and effort seek failure as an opportunity for improvement and progress. These people who have a growth mindset feel smart when they are learning, not when they are in their comfort zone.
And something interesting happens when you adopt the growth mindset and gather the courage to start again for a better iteration of what is valuable enough for you to pursue: You never restart on the same linear path because the path of growth is always a spiral that goes upward. Each iteration comes along with an aggregate of knowledge and experiences from the past trial.
Each time you start again, you know a whole lot more about how to write a personal essay, how to tell a story, how to run a business, or how to nurture a relationship than you did before. And you realize that the mistakes you had made before were all part of a learning process that will allow you to reach your goal eventually.
Sometimes courage calls for you to keep persisting and to try again when you had rather call the whole thing off. It is when things don’t work out the way you had hoped that your courage is put to a test. It is from all the zigging and zagging and getting your weary self back upright that you receive the fullest sense of accomplishment and pleasure.
Your challenges are but invitations to courage, which is not the absence of fear but moving forward in spite of fear and self-doubt. Like Mary Anne Radmacher beautifully said, “Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
Your Writing Prompt:
Today write about what you desire to start all over again in the new year. Who are your beacons and secret allies? What powerful talisman will you slip into your pocket as you start over? What have you learned from your previous trial? What were the assumptions or practices that didn’t help you last time? What will you do differently this time? What results will please you? How will you notice you have reached your goal?
“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”
~ MARY ANNE RADMACHER
JOIN THE INKY PATH WOMEN WRITERS’ COLLECTIVE
Are you looking for an uplifting writers’ community that gets you and supports you? Come join us over at The Inky Path Women Writers’ Collective. You’ll have instant, unlimited access to our writing sanctuary—a cozy, judgment-free, motivating, supportive community space where you will connect with other women writers, develop a solid writing practice, and hone your craft through weekly events, monthly Deep Writing Intensives, and a continuously-growing resource library designed with women writers who want to write and publish in mind.