In our practice, Dr. Scott and I find that a patient’s mindset can make or break their outcome. The patient’s mindset is so important that we include a question about willingness to change in our patient intake form. We can have the most cutting-edge treatment options, but if patients aren’t willing to do the hard work of implementation, they don’t ultimately experience the most fruitful progress. To be successful on this Fully Functional® journey, patients need to adopt a completely different mindset than what they might have had when operating within the traditional healthcare arena.
What is this mindset? We find that our patients who are willing to make progress on their health adopt a growth mindset. We’ll break down the growth mindset here, to help you make the most of your health and become Fully Functional®.
The idea of a “growth mindset” comes from author and researcher Carol Dweck, who writes about two opposing ways of approaching life in her book, “Mindset” – the fixed mindset and growth mindset. Brainpickings does a great job of summarizing the book here, along with a helpful infographic. While the book was originally written for teachers and the classroom, it is tremendously applicable in other arenas, including the journey towards wellness.
When it comes down to it, the growth mindset is about believing that situations (and your health outcome) can change, and that it’s not static.
For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. – Carol Dweck
Let’s break down the fixed mindset vs. the growth mindset in some practical applications:
- While patients with a fixed mindset avoid challenges, our patients with a growth mindset embrace challenges and are honest with themselves about the reality that they’re facing a health challenge, and are actively looking for solutions.
- Our patients with a fixed mindset give up easily, but our patients with a growth mindset choose to lean in when they hit a roadblock. They see the roadblock as a learning opportunity to rule something out, and choose to believe that they’re further along than when they started because they learned something that didn’t work. Ruling something out is still a form of progress!
- Most patients who are unwilling to put in effort don’t make it to our practice. It’s worth acknowledging that any change requires effort – especially one as crucial as regaining health. Our patients with the growth mindset embrace effort and are willing to invest time and hard work into trying an alternate path.
- Our patients with a growth mindset don’t view themselves as victims of their illness but instead, choose to embrace this trial as a deeply character-building challenge and believe that they can change the course of their health trajectory. Of all the things on this list, this one can be the hardest – so it’s not something we write lightly.
Choosing to put the growth mindset into practice has hit close to home for Dr. Scott and I, and is a key part of why we are practicing Functional Medicine today. If we had a fixed mindset over 14 years ago when our family was experiencing numerous health crises – Dr Scott had a brain tumor, I was experiencing pain and fatigue and was diagnosed with lupus and several of our children were struggling socially and academically (watch a video I created years ago about our story HERE) – we would have simply accepted those diagnoses at face-value. Instead, we chose a growth mindset and I dug in wholeheartedly into investing in finding answers and solutions. Of course we hit roadblocks along the way. We were offered prescription medications to address everyone’s symptoms but no explanations as to why we were all sick. I needed to understand the underlying root causes. Because I didn’t find any doctors offering the workup and solutions I wanted, I decided to pursue education and certification in Functional Medicine for myself so that I could help my family. Today, our family is in a distinctly different place.This unrelentless investigation and application of the growth mindset has been foundational to how we practice. At Vine Healthcare, we think outside the box and try new things, all in effort to help you become Fully Functional®. We give 100% because we believe that 95% isn’t good enough. Are you ready?