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Having A Discovery Mindset
by Janessa Daga
Last month, we had the privilege to hear from Neuro Physician Assistant Deena Craig as she talked about having the Courage To Dream. PA Craig taught us that, “A goal without a plan is only a dream, but all great things that are accomplished start with a dream”. With courage, our dreams become visions, those visions become plans to move forward, and those steps forward ultimately transform our dreams into a reality.

PA Craig also shared that sometimes our dreams are delayed for several different reasons.

1. Timing – Perhaps it is not the right time for your dream to come to fruition.

2. Waiting – We need to take advantage of our season of waiting. Waiting must be an active state in which we prepare ourselves for that big moment!

3. People – The right people may not be in place yet.

4. Circumstance – There may be circumstances out of your control that needs to pass before your dream can take form.

5. Persevere – Keep the dream alive in your heart and trust that it will come to pass in the right time.

6. Someone Else’s Purpose – It may be your dream, but it may be someone else’s purpose to see it through. Though Martin Luther King Jr., did not see his dream for racial equality come to fruition, his courage gave life and wings to that dream so that the rest of his generation lived to see an African American man become the President of the United States!
As I reflected about what PA Craig shared, it led me to think about what other factors play into Having The Courage to Dream. I realized that in order to have the courage to dream, one would need to have a hunger or curiosity to discover something new – whether that be an invention, an idea, a new way of thinking, or even a solution to an existing problem. That led me to learn more about what it would take to have a Discovery Mindset.

A Discovery Mindset is moving your thought process away from fear and towards living a life of engagement, authenticity, and forward-looking action. It means letting go of mental barriers and opening your mind to endless possibilities or coming across something you’re not familiar with and having the courage to dig deeper to learn more about this new unknown. To foster a Discovery Mindset, it is important to keep 4 things in mind:



A. Have the courage to experiment and try new things!

B. Try to do something that you haven’t done before; it can be as simple as taking a different route home or as adventurous as going skydiving for the first time!

C. Take some time to figure out what works and doesn’t work for you!


Seek Opportunities

A. View change as an opportunity to explore new solutions and new versions of what you’re already doing!

B. Use failure to move forward, improve, and innovate.

C. View failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid of failing. Failing is NOT a bad thing; it helps you to gain insight on what went wrong and how to fix it. For example, I had a dream to start my own scrunchy business but in order to do that, I needed to know how to make scrunchies. It makes me want to cry when I think about the amount of fabric that I wasted trying to create the scrunchies, but through those trials I found what works with a specific fabric, what thread to use, and what machine settings to use. I would not have been able to figure this out had I NOT failed. Today, I am happy to announce that because I had the courage to dream and the courage to fail, I have started my scrunchy business (@so.scrunchtious).


Embrace Uncertainty

A. Continue to be conscious and aware of the way you think every day to encourage your discovery mindset.

B. DON’T WAIT to get all the information before you make a decision and take action. Having 70% of your information is enough to get going. Fill in the blanks for what you don’t know and when you get the other 30% of your information, adjust your plan accordingly! With consistency and practice, you will start to gain intuition with thinking ahead, innovation, and will increase your ability to adapt more quickly, efficiently, and effectively.


Practice Makes Perfect

A. Continue to be conscious and aware of the way you think every day to encourage your discovery mindset.

B. As you remain consistent with your new practices, the new and uncomfortable moments and tasks will soon become second nature to you!

C. Welcome curiosity and openness. Have the courage to venture out and explore the unknown.

Some of you may be thinking, “What do I do if I don’t have a dream?” If you find yourself stuck, uninspired, or unsure of where to start, try following these 5 helpful tips to discover your dream!



What is whitespace? Whitespace is a designated time that you purposefully set aside to pause, think through, reflect, and refuel.

As you remain consistent with your new practices, the new and uncomfortable moments and tasks will soon become second nature to you!How do you navigate through whitespace? Plan your whitespace appropriately. Some things that you could do during your whitespace is read a chapter, journal, creative problem solving, etc.

Welcome curiosity and openness. Have the courage to venture out and explore the unknown.When and where do you conduct whitespace? Find a quiet place to be alone for 1-2 hours daily, 5-8 hours weekly.


Ask a Mentor

If you don’t already have a mentor, find someone who you look up to, someone you respect, and someone who inspires you and ask them to mentor you!mindset.

A mentor can be anyone who has accomplished something that interests you.

Mentors can help to provide you with insight and guidance from their life experiences.

They may also be able to share fresh and different perspective from yours and can also help to see you through discovering your dreams and hold you accountable for things that are requiring your attention and follow through.


Break Your Routine

Lack of inspiration comes from doing the same things over and over again. If we find ourselves on autopilot, break the bonds of habit, research and learn new things, and make a conscious decision to explore something that interests you!


Realize your Passions

During your whitespace, write down the things that you are passionate about.

Discover your purpose. As you find your “why”, it may spark a dream within you!

Reflect on your hobbies, talents, and what makes you the happiest.

Ask your peers and colleagues what they think you’re passionate about. They may notice things that you’re not aware of!


Find Inspiration To Motivate You

I recommend reading magazines, books, videos, and watching Ted talks to help spark your imagination, inspiration, and motivation.

Now go out there and have the courage to dream big and discover!

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