Overcoming The “Fixed-Mindset Fog”

Jami Fowler-WhiteBlog, Reflect Better, Self Care Better, Teach Happier


  • What do you do to keep a clear head?
  • When fixed mindset triggers take over your world, how do you clear the fog?
  • What systems have been put in place to bring you back to YOU?

Do you have Fixed Mindset Fog

The Fog and Fixed Mindset Triggers

I don’t know about you but lately I have felt like life would swallow me whole. There seems to be so much to do and little time to get anything done. Why is that? I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Les Brown. It says, “In every day, there are 1, 440 minutes. That means we have 1, 440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.” Lately, time has been my nemesis. I have felt like I was always racing against the clock.

Any reference to time, a due date on my calendar, a reminder on my phone, a text from my administrator…all have begun to invoke an uncontrollable amount of anxiety that creates a “fog” and makes me feel like I am sinking in quicksand. My inner voice was constantly telling me there were NOT enough hours in the day to get everything done. It had gotten to the point where I was living on 2-3 hours of sleep a night—literally taking a nap. Although I knew this wasn’t sustainable, I couldn’t see any other way out of the fog. I would work 20-hours a day, even on weekends. I cancelled outings with friends, cringed when family called because it would take my concentration away from the task at hand, and I won’t even begin to mention the state of my home.

We all get lost in the Fixed-Mindset Fog. The goal is to dig in, dismantle, and rotate your view so you can overcome it and get back to YOU. Click To Tweet

Let’s explore ways to clear your mind and get back to YOU!

Navigating the Fog

Change is uncomfortable. What systems have you put in place in your life outside of work to help ground you? This is essential in helping you endure, carry on, and accept where you are. Without these supports, stress will creep in and create alternative universes in your head. We are not meant to live in this “fight or flight” state of mind. So, I ask again. What brings you back to you? For me it’s a short phone call with family, eating my favorite foods, and traveling. You are stronger than you know. Persevere, accept your current reality, and remember to leave clearly marked signpost along the road to help you navigate the Fixed-Mindset Fog.

Adopting an Exterminator Point of View

The current climate of uncertainty and upheaval can be overwhelming and make it difficult to maintain a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and experience, as opposed to a fixed mindset which believes that abilities and intelligence are static.

Begin to look at the world with laser-like focus. Give yourself grace. Expel all of the myths. You are human. Although it feels like the world is on your shoulders, you are not alone. There are people around you willing to step in and assist when needed.  It is okay to hold yourself and others accountable. Work to dismantle self-doubt, eradicate the myth that you have to do it all ALONE, and remember that it is okay to have a life outside of work.

Pivot by Examining the Long and Short

Everyone is going through something. When we are in the midst of our own struggles, our view is shortened. In essence, objects can seem closer than they appear. While at the same time, you might be quick to blame those closest because they haven’t reached out to help pull you out of your slump. When this happens, pivot, and return your focus to the big picture…your why.

Often this will be hard. After all, we are suffering from Pandemic Fatigue. Each day we wake up hoping we can return to life as we knew it. You know, those days when we could easily separate our work and home lives. These past three years have blurred the lines. Although we are several years into the pandemic, we are still swinging back and forth on the COVID pendulum daily.

Don’t forget that this is not only happening in our personal life but the educational system as well. Even after three years, education is still in repair mode. Although we are all good at appearing that things are normal, no one has the answers.  Pivot, assimilate, and trust in your “why.” By implementing these strategies, you can work towards overcoming fixed mindset triggers, develop a more open and growth-oriented mindset, and begin to clear the fog.

Clearing the Fog

To clear the fog, it is essential to implement strategies to help maintain emotional equilibrium. Emotional instability causes our bodies to shift into a fight-or-flight state of mind. When this occurs, our Fixed-Mindset Fog blurs our view. To combat this, we must intentionally infuse growth mindset methodologies throughout our day. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed during times of uncertainty, but with these approaches, you can stay motivated and focused on the things you can control.

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Here are some methods to help you overcome fixed mindset triggers:

  1. Be mindful of your thoughts: When you find yourself engaging in fixed mindset thinking, take a moment to pause and reflect on what you’re thinking. Ask yourself why you’re having these thoughts and how they’re influencing your decisions.
  2. Focus on the process, not the outcome: When you focus on the outcome, it can be easy to get discouraged and feel like the goal is too far off. Instead, focus on the process and the small steps that you can take to achieve your goal.
  3. Celebrate small wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your small successes. This will help you build confidence and momentum as you work towards larger goals.
  4. Seek out feedback: Ask for feedback from others about your work or ideas. This can help you identify areas for improvement and open up new avenues of exploration.
  5. Reframe challenges: Instead of seeing challenges as roadblocks, view them as opportunities to learn and grow.
  6. Embrace the unknown: Don’t be afraid to take risks and explore new ideas. Allow yourself to be open to new possibilities and you may be pleasantly surprised.
  7. Find an accountability partner: Having an accountability partner can help you stay on track and push through tough times.

Freeing Yourself From the Fog

Having a fixed mindset can be quite limiting, as it can prevent us from fully embracing new ideas and opportunities. As we continue to navigate the continuous traumas in our lives, in our students’ lives, and through the lens of family and friends, the “Fixed-Mindset Fog” will get denser and denser. Don’t forget to focus on yourself.

There is always enough time to stop and read each signpost along the road.  Remember to fill each one with positive memories by scheduling fun times with family and friends, and above all else, block out time to unplug. The work will get done faster because you remembered to care for yourself.  It is okay. We all get lost in the Fixed-Mindset Fog. The goal is to dig in, dismantle, and rotate your view so you can overcome it and get back to YOU.

About Jami Fowler-White

Jami Fowler-White is the founder and CEO of Digital PD 4 You, LLC and co-creator of the Ignite Leadership Summit. Over the past two decades, she has served in many capacities in education which include ten years as a classroom teacher, ten years as an Instructional Coach, and a Core Advocate with Achieve the Core.

She currently mentors First-time and Renewal candidates for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and is a charter member of the National Board Network of Minoritized Educators and Black Women Education Leaders, Incorporated. Additionally, Mrs. Fowler-White is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and is currently serving as a Principal in Shelby County Schools (TN).

Fowler-White also provides professional development under the umbrella of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and Digital PD 4 You for schools and districts. She is the author/coauthor of several books including, Educator Reflection Tips, Volume #1, EduMatch’s Snapshot in Education 2020: Remote Learning Edition, The Skin You are In: Colorism in the Black Community, 2nd Edition, and Educator Reflection Tips, Volume II: Refining our Practice. Jami blogs at DigitalPD4You.com , has a bi-monthly leadership blog on Insight Advance, and writes a monthly blog entitled the Better Mindset on TeachBetter.com. She invites you to connect with her on Twitter at @JjJj821 and on the Digital PD 4 You Facebook page.