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“I’m not that smart”—tend to have problems. When evidence contradictstheir xed perception o themselves, they oten engage in sel sabotage orsel handicapping. Subtly they create ready-made excuses or ailure. Call yoursel early and oten on this behavior i you see even the smallest sign o it seeping into your sel-talk or daily walk.On the other hand, learners who see themselves as growing or develop-ing—“I can learn this i I work hard”—are much better. They see setbacksas learning opportunities and triggers to turn on more eort, not signals o sel worth and excuses to quit. These hardy olks have neuroscience ontheir side. Research backs up the notion that your brain’s capacity growsand expands with your eort. Put simply, we were literally born to learn.I you’re serious about this journey, buckle up. You’ll nd riends andallies to be sure. But in your working, learning, and living worlds you’llcome upon stumbling blocks, sticking points, and seriously challenging people who don’t have your best interest at heart. You need to bring a senseo toughness to the mix i you’re going to succeed. It won’t be easy. But nish-ing something hard is a powerul change experience and habit ormer.
get Smart about your empLoyer
Not all employers are created equal. Some take the development o theiremployees seriously and oer internal training and external tuition support.Others are good about providing fex time or working learners and ap-prenticeships to give them needed experience. There are some, however,that could care less about your personal development. In act, you mighthave experienced rsthand employers that are openly dismissive o yourdreams and eager to reinorce the “you’re not good enough” mindset. Runrom this last group, i you have the choice.I you’re lucky enough to already work or or have the opportunity tochoose an employer that has robust proessional development opportuni-ties, try hard to maximize them. Look or training opportunities that oerhigher-education credit toward credentials i you can. Many have strong partnerships with surrounding community colleges or universities thatmight be o interest as well. Also, take the time to understand and leveragethe tuition reimbursements your employer oers. And, most important,
especially targeted to not only help you advance on the journey, but toachieve meaningul postsecondary credentials along the way. It’s clear:quality credentials open up pathways to possibility like never beore. Let’sget started.
get on purpoSe
The greatest git and strongest lit you can give yoursel on your journey isclarity. You have to get clear about “why” you’re embarking on this journey.You’ll soon nd that coursework can be conusing, teachers unreasonable,employers infexible, and lie at home uncooperative. It’s times like thesewhen an anchored “why” will save you.What’s your “why?” Is it to break the cycle o poverty in your amily? Isit to be an example to your children? Is it to provide a better lie or youramily? Is it to qualiy or a promotion or get on the path toward a goal you’ve dreamed o or years but deerred to raise kids or support an ex-tended amily? Perhaps it is to just change the trajectory o your lie. Re-gardless o what it is, it needs to be authentic, compelling, and worth pull-ing yoursel out o bed when you’re absolutely exhausted.For some o you, the “why” is clear and catalytic. For others, there iswork to be done to get beyond nebulous notions o “because it seems likethe right thing to do” or “my amily thinks I should.” A strong, groundedpurpose that you understand and own is radically important to both startwell and nish strongly. Your choice o credential pathways, educationalprovider, employer and support systems all anchor on your why. Take thetime to get as clear as possible about your purpose.
As said, the ‘learning and earning’ journey is not easy. The students thatsurvive and thrive share some common characteristics. One o the mostprominent is tenacity. They are tough. They take personal responsibility orthe journey and don’t blame others or success or ailure. It’s on them. Theydon’t “get” a grade; they “earn” a grade.This tenacity is rmly grounded in a growth mindset. Research showsthat learners who see their intellectual capacity as xed—“I’m smart” or