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A couple of months ago I was featured on the Anesthesia Guidebook podcast, I gave my two cents on what it takes to be the most competitive CRNA applicant. And that theory is when your mindset, motivation and methods to become a CRNA are all aligned then you are in your zone of competitiveness. Basically this is your best chance for admission and successfully completing a CRNA program.
Back when I was an emotional mess in CRNA school, I frequented counseling services a lot. As you may recall from my journey, I really struggled with my mindset the first year of school. I was super hard on myself and one little mistake or missed question would tear me to pieces.
This is known as a fixed mindset where everything was centered around the outcome. So if I failed at something I just believed I was not a good student. I worked tirelessly with my counselor to change my mindset and how I looked at things. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly. But with practice and repetition you can change your mindset over time.
Your mindset will play a critical role in how well you cope with the stressors of CRNA school. The power of your mind is real and can leave you not even coming close to your full potential. In order to reach new heights and become your best self while in CRNA school and in life you must change your mindset.
Difference between a fixed vs. growth mindset
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck explains in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, a fixed mindset assumes your abilities are static and can’t change. Whereas someone with a growth mindset thrives on challenges and sees opportunities in failures.
So, what are some ways you can change your mindset?
Embrace your imperfections
Trying to be perfect can stop you from trying new things. Understand you are a human being and therefore you will make mistakes. Of course, if mistakes come from lack of skill or knowledge then definitely address that. There is only one of you therefore you are unique so focus on your innate strengths.
Be your authentic self
In addition to opening up about imperfections, just be your authentic self. Basically, this requires you to be self- aware and mindful. It also requires you to have self acceptance towards your own body and mind.
Since being authentic leaves you vulnerable, you are often have to face your fears. Therefore, you will likely develop the courage to face those fears and anxieties head on. And believe me, you will be experience plenty of fear and anxiety while in CRNA school.
Stay in the moment
What would it feel like to let go of all your inhibitions and concerns and just be present in the moment? Just like when you were a kid. As adults, we need to work on fully concentrating on the present instead of the past or future.
Of course there will be times when this isn’t appropriate or even possible. Still, you can be dialed in and dedicated on what matters to you right now. One of the ways to do this is to let go of any past hurts or burdens.
Be alright with being uncomfortable
It’s human nature to remain in our comfort zone. This is when things start to feel familiar and you are in control of the things around you. At this point you are the least stressed or anxious. So of course this is where you want to be.
But the best way to grow and succeed is to get out of this zone. And this is done by throwing yourself in uncomfortable situations. I would challenge myself to pick a clinical assignment I absolutely feared while in CRNA school to get out of my comfort zone.
Find new ways to learn
You know how my story went. It wasn’t until CRNA school that I figured out how to truly learn. There are a number of ways to learn anything, but my favorite is to teach someone else or in my case just pretend like I was.
Just imagining someone is dependent on you to teach them will speed up your learning process. Sort of like when you know you have a deadline and you quickly get to work. The other thing is if you can teach it to someone else then you understand the material.
Replace negative words with positive words
It’s amazing how words influence out mood, thoughts or even opinions. It’s definitely true words have power. Using positive words can shape your mind and improve your overall well-being. And it’s super easy also. Just start replacing negative words with positive words right now.
While becoming a CRNA is your purpose, it is also stressful, challenging and can be filled with anxiety while in CRNA school. Therefore, you want to make sure you go into with the right mindset. Five years ago my brain was focused on my failures and constant criticism of myself. It was a painful time. Hopefully these tools will spare you the pain and help you change your mindset so you thrive on your CRNA journey and in life.
P.S. Remember the membership site + community forum is in the works. Get on the waiting list right now to be the first to know when we launch AND receive a special launch discount! Also check out the updated website!