Leaping forward + Developing a Growth Mindset

Cathy Alkalign Studios Plank Pose

If you had asked me five years ago if I could see myself becoming a barre instructor, I would have said you were nuts!


After my first daughter was born in 1992, I stepped away from my job as a special education teacher. The decision was easy for me. Thankfully, I was able to make the transition from teaching to being a full-time mom (something I will always be grateful for). Fast forward (and I really do mean FAST forward) to 2012: I had been a stay-at-home mom for 20+years raising my three daughters. Countless hours of driving carpool, attending various practices and games, volunteering at schools and relishing every moment. My youngest daughter was in high school when I realized that I was about to be “forced” into retirement. Abby was about to graduate and head off to college. My girls would no longer need me day to day. What on earth would I do to fill my days?  Couldn’t help but wonder… what’s next?


I was literally at a crossroads. The last 20 years had been both meaningful and extremely rewarding. I LOVE being a mom. How could anything else bring me joy and fulfillment? After being “retired” for two decades, what was I qualified to do?


Timing is everything, and I believe that opportunities present themselves exactly when we need it the most. In the fall of 2012, Erin approached me asking if I had ever considered teaching. My first response was “Um no! I could never do that!”. The thought of putting on a mic and standing in front of my fellow clients and suddenly becoming their teacher was terrifying! It was then that I realized I had two choices. 1.) I could let fear hold me back because seriously, who wants to take a fitness class from a former client who is the oldest instructor on the team? (“fixed mindset”) 2.) I could embrace being a lifelong learner and adopt a growth mindset… embrace the idea that you really can teach an old dog new tricks!


After careful consideration and with the support and encouragement of my family, friends and now fellow instructors, I made the bold and brave leap of faith and said YES! Yes to going through the rigorous training to become certified to teach but more importantly, yes to committing to developing a growth mindset. What does that mean? A fixed mindset believes that all talent, skills and capabilities are fixed traits. You either have it or you don’t! You are not a work in process but a finished product. In contrast, A person with a growth mindset focuses less on mastery or perfection and more on the process and what they can learn and how they improve + grow along the way. They find setbacks or challenges motivating. They enjoy challenge!


According to Carol Dweck of Stanford University, people with a growth mindset learn:

+ Trying and failing is a part of the process

+ Learning requires stumbling, correcting, and growing

+ You don’t have to know everything in advance

+ Practice and skill-building are more important that embedded talent

+ You’re always a beginner

+ Life is about lifelong learning


I am committed to challenging myself, and to taking risks knowing that “failing” provides an opportunity for learning and growth. With every class I take, every class I have the privilege to teach, every client interaction, every workshop or master class I attend, I learn something new. I am growth minded not because I am striving for perfection but because I want to focus on being the very best version of me!  #TeamAlkalign