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  • Writer's pictureCharmaine Sheen

Our learning mindset is not static

We’re more than three months into South Africa’s COVID19 lockdown, and I’m slowly coming to terms with our new reality. I’ve embraced working from home, okay, full disclosure, I’ve loved working from the comfort of my own home during the winter months. I’ve also had the opportunity to reflect a little on the first half of 2020, here is what I’ve learnt.

1. You can’t run away from tech and digitalisation

I’m generally office-based and have a handful of technologically savvy folk on hand to assist when technology doesn’t go my way. Lockdown has made me see the error of my ways. Remote working has made me realise the uncompromising role that technology has in our life – and us more reserved, old school folk can’t be running away from it. Start small, take baby steps, but get up to speed with the tech in your industry.

2. People, connection & interaction

Wow, don’t we just take the people in our lives for granted - both our personal and work relationships. I feel like the dynamic of all my relationships has changed for the better. Yet I still feel unsettled by the isolation that accompanies remote working – even when you are working from home with your partner and kids.

I’m loving having my family around. I think we’ve made a different chapter of memories this year, and we’ve really embraced the opportunity to slow down, eat more meals together and connect.

However, I now also appreciate the importance of colleagues and peers. We used to spend 8 hours a day with our colleagues. It was easy to catch up on a customer’s needs over a cup of coffee in the kitchen and to connect with multiple people during the day. Zoom meetings will never allow for the same level of interaction as face-to-face meetings and sharing office space.

3. Our learning mindset is not static

Now I know we all know this. I’m sure you are all very well versed in the differences between a fixed and growth mindset. I don’t need to rehash the benefits of a growth mindset, nor do I need to emphasis the importance of developing and nurturing that same mindset.

The last few months have shown me that my mindset is not static. I believe I have a growth mindset. I embrace challenges, seek out lessons from failure and have an unwavering desire to keep learning. However, lockdown hit and I found a rock to hide under. I went from “I’ve got this” to “I’m not doing this”. Whilst it may have been short-lived – I tossed everything I’ve learnt about personal growth and development out the window. I wanted to give up, simply stick with what I know.

Thankfully I snapped out of it, but it did teach me that we move along the fixed vs growth mindset continuum, and whilst I may generally throw myself into new challenges, it’s okay to lightly tread when dealing with the novel and unknown. Dipping our toes into the water, as opposed to always jumping straight in.

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