Camille and I have an annual reunion in Austin every year to co-create her team’s SXSW party.  I get to musically style by DJ’ing the vibes for the evening, and Camille and team are the best party throwers in town. Most importantly, it’s the one time of year that Camille and I get to spend quality time together catching up and reflecting on how much we’ve grown since we became college besties. In many ways, we feel like those same 20-year-old girls that we were back junior year, and in other ways, we’ve totally transformed (at least, we like to think so!)

I often think about how growth is rarely a linear path. Can anyone honestly say that they’re exactly in the place they expected to be 10 years ago (or even 1-5 years ago for that matter?)  Does anyone remember agonizing over decisions like which college to attend or which major to declare, as if it were the sole determinant of our outcomes in life? When we consider our “pivotal moments” or trajectory in life, I think we often put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves with these HUGE decisions that we believe will massively change our course or outcomes. 

When in fact, I believe the things that truly move the needle in our path of life are the endless series of micro-decisions we make every second. 

We are constantly changing trajectory and recalibrating our course with every small decision and move we make daily (Sliding Doors, anyone?).  And that’s why I believe that instead of getting paralyzed by these seemingly pivotal, life-changing decisions that will determine our life’s growth, we can instead adopt a growth mindset that can almost always ensure we are on our path of highest excitement and exponential growth both personally and professionally.  But what constitutes a growth mindset?  I’ve broken down the things I think are most important!

  1. Set reach goals.  We often don’t know how incredibly capable we are as humans… we often set mediocre goals that end up limiting us because we didn’t aim high enough or dream big enough.  If we set a higher standard for ourselves, we would be amazed by how much we are actually able to accomplish when we stretch our goals a little bit more.  
  2. Be curious.  There is a world of knowledge around us.  There is always something to learn or a nugget of truth we can glean from every person we speak with or situation we encounter.  So be open-minded, read new things, ask questions and experiment… you’ll be surprised by how much new knowledge you can absorb which can change your perspectives or expand your otherwise limited views.
  3. Step outside your comfort zone.  Growth begins where your comfort zone ends.  Try something new, do something that scares or challenges you as often as you can.
  4. Patience.  Growth doesn’t happen immediately.  We often even plateau before we hit a radical growth trajectory.  So never get disheartened when you don’t see immediate results.  Keep showing up, watering your seeds and soon enough you’ll start to see some sprouts of growth.
  5. Take action.  The first step is the most important step.  You don’t have to be 100% clear on having your actions all mapped out.  But you won’t start learning and growing until you take that first step.  So go for it!
  6. Go together.  “If you want to go quickly, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  This was a headline quote at an innovation conference I attended recently that really stuck with me, particularly when I came away with so many opportunities from other attendees who offered help or partnership ideas.  Change never happens in isolation.  Whether your goals are personal or professional, it’s important to unite with people that inspire, encourage and enable growth.  And it can be a lot more fun when you do it together, too 🙂
  7. Last but not least (wait for it…) …Music.   Music does more than entertain — it has the capacity to open our minds, change our perspectives, move us emotionally, and boost our well-being (among other amazing things) . The decisions we make are often emotionally influenced, so I’ve cued up a tool-kit of lyrically motivating and rhythmically empowering tunes to keep you in an inspired, bold growth mindset!   Listen in to our GROWTH playlist the entire month and tune into the CS station for other cool, theme-based playlists.

Jamie Pabst is the CS Music Editor and NYC based DJ and music/tech entrepreneur.

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