A mindset shift. Such a simple solution … that at the same time can seem so frustrating at the moment. Especially when it’s been one of those weeks. Right? And yet, there are some easy steps we can take to make this possible.
When it’s been one of those weeks
Sometimes, it’s just one THOSE weeks. The type of week where (almost) everything falls apart & all your carefully laid plans … & backup plans are broken down. You know the type.
- Your children decide THIS is the week they have to continually argue.
- After planning lessons, you find out multiple students need to do a video lesson.
- Your interactive activities decide not to work.
- Your computer decides it’s not okay to have multiple browsers & programs open
- You have tech issues and the support team doesn’t get back to you. At all.
All of the above means your regular work takes at least 3-4 times longer than it normally would.
And, in my case, to add a cherry on top … one week got me a ticket (over $200) for not seeing a sign while taking a route you normally wouldn’t because of the aforementioned video lessons. Yup. It’s enough to bring a girl down. By Friday, I was beyond relieved to say goodbye to the week & start fresh with a more positive mindset shift. I’m sure you can relate.
An unexpected mindset shift
Even in the most frustrating weeks, we have the option of shifting our mindset. That list above literally was my list of catastrophes in one week. And, there have been others over the years.
But, there was one thing that was truly amazing.
Those lessons I planned? Turns out the stars aligned, or perhaps the universe took pity on me.
While it felt like everything else was falling apart, teaching my students was the best part of my day. Normally, my students are one of many great parts of my day. But, that week? I was thanking my clients & telling them how happy I was to see them.
It reminded me that I have a wonderful career where I get to explore music with my students & get to know their families. It’s something special that not everyone gets to experience. And, having a week of back-to-back lessons that effortlessly flowed, engaged my students’ minds, & kept us working towards our goals? Where my students had all actually mastered EXACTLY what I had asked for the previous week? Awesome!
How can you make this mindset shift happen?
Tips for a positive mindset shift
There are going to be those weeks where you want a remote control to fast forward through the crummy stuff. (Does anyone else remember that Adam Sandler movie?) Sometimes no matter what you do to try & improve things it just isn’t going to happen. (I know it’s a downer.) But, there are things you can do to shift your mindset.
Do what you can
Sometimes a week is a write-off in a particular area. That’s okay. Go back to the project or task on a different day or week.
One lesson, my Bluetooth computer keyboard stopped working at the start of my teaching time. Initial fixes weren’t working so I “typed” by pulling up my on-screen keyboard & clicking with my mouse. Was it ideal? No way. But, it got the job done & families were incredibly understanding with practice pages arriving a little later.
As much as we would love to control everything. We can’t. The only solution is to change our mental outlook to a more positive one.
Let go of time constraints
When things go wrong, it’s easy to fall into an “it takes too much time” mindset. In fact, it’s one my husband has heard from me & I even have a Minions t-shirt that reads “don’t have time for that” (which gets worn it’s going to be an especially busy day).
But, is it too much time?
If everything in a lesson is falling apart, why not spend 5 minutes experimenting with a student? If it’s going wrong during your admin time, why not read an article you’ve been meaning to get to? And, that might just solve your admin woe.
We know getting our students to their instrument during the week is the biggest challenge. Once they are there, typically they stay. It’s the same for us. Once we are in a new environment, a mindset shift is possible.
Accept it may all fall apart
“What if it all falls apart?” Oh, I have been there. So. Many. Times.
A teachable moment is one that isn’t ideal but is “a good opportunity for learning something about a particular aspect of life”. (Thanks, Google!) They aren’t the ones we plan for … but, they are the ones that can lead to an incredible mindset shift if we are open to it.
Make a definitive new start
Often the best thing you can do to shift your mindset is to create a line-drawn-in-the-sand, fresh start.
This could be anything.
- Power down all devices used for work.
- Put your phone on “do not disturb” for a set period of time.
- Go for a walk to clear your mind.
- Drink a cup of tea (or sangria, no judgement).
This is the important part that I used to forget all the time …
For me, those markers have been “by the time I reach a certain point in my walk” or “I finish the glass of sangria”. No more stressing about what hadn’t gone well or what problems needed to be fixed (much easier said than done, I know). I would spend a stress-free evening/day/weekend with family … with NO work stuff. And, the next day … well, it was a brand new day that WOULD go much, much better.
Choosing an activity that signals a mindset shift can be so helpful in making that transition between overwhelm to joy.
How can you shift your mindset?
We all have different approaches or activities that help us make the best of each day & find the joy in our profession.
Let me know below your favourite ways to change your outlook when things aren’t going great!
NOTE: This article was originally posted on January 18, 2016. It has since been updated with more ideas & tips … with all the great stuff still kept!