Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Confession: When I was 8 or 9 years old I wet myself on stage in front of hundreds (possibly thousands) of people at the Miss Pre-Teen Texas Pageant in Dallas, TX.

Up until this “proud” moment I’d only been in two pageants. Both were at the Denton County Fair.

I remember getting to the pageant in Dallas and realizing I wasn’t in Kansas anymore (meaning this was the big leagues). I’m talking hardcore stage moms, girls belting out big songs by Whitney Houston, pageant politics…It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before and pretty intimidating to my little self.

There was a talent portion, group dance performance, and a formal gown section of the pageant. I nailed every dance move to “Never Had a Friend Like Me” for the group performance and sang my little country heart out to a Tanya Tucker song in my denim skirt and cowgirl boots while rockin’ my 90’s perm.

Then it all fell apart.

My poor dad got the “honor” of escorting me onto the stage in my WHITE ball gown for the formal portion of the competition. As I was walked up to the stage I got super nervous and asked the stage manager if I could run to the bathroom really quickly.

(Side note: To this day, before I speak, I have to go to the bathroom several times. It’s my nervous habit.)

She emphatically replied, “NO WAY, you are about to go on stage.” I was going to have to hold it. So I did all I could to suck in my stomach. I’ve always had horrible bladder control, so this was not good news for me.

As I walked to my first “X”, which was marked on the stage for us to stand at and wait for our name to be called out, I turned to my dad and said, while sucking in for dear life, “I’ve gotta go, I’ve gotta go, I’ve gotta go.”

To which he replied, “Hold it, hold it, hold it.”

To which I responded, “I don’t think I can.”

To which he said, “Yes, you can.”

At which point I lost all control and said, ” I’m going, I’m going, I’m going.”

And right then and there I peed on the stage in front of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people with a great big smile on my face, which turned white as a ghost as I lost all awareness of time and space.

The staff called my name over the mic telling the audience how much I liked ballet, singing, performing, and playing Barbies, and how I wanted to be a singer when I grew up.

I was a floating zombie as I walked right past the person handing me a trophy and down the stairs, only to be called back up to the stage to pick up my trophy.

Defeated and humiliated, I slowly made my way back to my seat in my soaking white dress while they stopped the entire pageant to mop up the stage. Needless to say, that was both the beginning and end to my days as a beauty queen.

You might be asking yourself, Why did she tell me this mortifying story?

Because it took me years to even laugh about this event, and now I can, and I thought maybe you’d get a good laugh, too.

Most importantly, I told you because I think it illustrates a point we can all relate to, which is this: Any time we try something new we aren’t going to be great at it. In fact, we may embarrass ourselves horribly, but that doesn’t mean we have to throw in the towel.

Growing up, I always believed talent was something you were born with, you either had it or you didn’t. It’s taken me years to develop a healthier growth mindset. I’ve come to understand with time and effort you can become great at something and that talent is developed, not necessarily innate.

I wish I would have known this as a kid, because maybe then I wouldn’t have given up so easily on things I was truly interested in that didn’t come easily or instantaneously to me.

Here’s my encouragement to you next time you want to try something new, like a career, a sport, a craft, a speech, an instrument, or whatever else you’ve always wanted to try—

Go in with the mindset that you’re probably not going to be great at it at first, and that’s OK. Remember not to give up in the awkward phases and keep pushing through, because it’s time, consistency, and effort that will make you great at it.

Don’t let a fixed mindset that tells you if you don’t get it right the first time then you’ll never be any good at it keep you from growing into the person you want to become. Transform those thoughts into a growth mindset that says, “I will get great at this with consistent effort and over time. This is the key to mastery.”

When we know better, we do better. I faced my fears and stand on stage all the time and speak to people. Thankfully I’ve yet to wet myself, so there’s hope for us all, folks! ?

Love and Blessings Y’all!

The dress 🙂

My 90’s perm and cowgirl boots!! Yeehaw!

2 Responses to “Fixed vs. Growth Mindset”

  1. Roma Preiss

    Bailey, what a wonderful message. You as a child had lots of courage as you now do. You are such an inspiration to everyone. May God Richly Bless you and Ellie and your family. Keep up the great work!

    • Bailey Heard

      Thank you so much for the kind words Roma. I appreciate the love and kindness you spread wherever you go. Thank you for being such a light and encouragement in my life. We could all use a friend like you!! Love and Blessings Roma.