Embracing a Growth Mindset
Once you make the decision to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, it can be hard to know what to do next. You might look up articles or books online only to find vague concepts that are difficult to put into practice. Here are a few concrete actions you can take right now…
Look at Something New as an Experiment
Part of developing a growth mindset is trying new things. It’s easy to think we must do everything perfectly the first time we try it, but that’s far from the truth. For example, you want to become a motivational speaker on topics like business and leadership.
You start attending Toastmasters meetings to develop your speaking skills. When it’s your first time speaking, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to get it just right.
Instead of focusing on being perfect, look at your first speech as an experiment. Say something kind to yourself like, “I’m just experimenting with speaking. I’ll use this speech to learn more about what my audience finds interesting.”
Challenge Yourself to Do It
When Jia Jiang realized his fear of rejection was holding him back, he changed up his mindset. He did this by challenging himself to ask for outrageous requests that would typically be met with rejection. He did this for 100 days and called it his Rejection Therapy.
If you’ve been eager to try something new but fear has held you back, challenge yourself to do one thing for 100 days. For example, if your goal is to write a book, you could set a goal to write 1 page every day for 100 days.
Change “Never” to “Not Yet”
Carol Dweck spoke in a popular TED talk about The Power of Not Yet. At a high school in Chicago, teenagers that weren’t passing a class received a grade of “NY,” meaning “not yet.” The goal of this program was to encourage students to embrace a growth mindset.
When you encounter a situation that’s beyond your skills or abilities, it’s easy to retreat to a fixed mindset. You might say, “I’ll never learn how to use Excel spreadsheets. I should give up.”
But you can shift your thinking to focus on a growth mindset. You can do this by saying, “I don’t know how to use Excel spreadsheets yet.” When you approach a problem this way, you put the focus back on your growth, rather than your skills or abilities.
Acknowledge Your Discomfort
Sometimes, it feels scary to do something new or different. It can be tempting to downplay it or even retreat to safety. But if you have a growth mindset, you can acknowledge your discomfort and remind yourself that you can do it.
For example, it’s time to have a difficult discussion about raising your rates with your best client. Instead of leading from fear, try saying, “I know this discussion will make me feel uncomfortable. But I can negotiate with my client calmly and professionally.”
Your Mindset Affects Your Career
Your mindset affects every area of your life – your relationships, your spirituality, your emotions, and even your career. If you’ve never considered it, here are a few key ways that your mindset can shape your career…
Mindset impacts your professional reputation.
Vince was a web designer at a small marketing firm. He often had a sour outlook and complained about the clients he was working with. When other employees had to work with him, they dreaded it.
His co-worker, Laura was also a web designer. But unlike Vince, she had a positive attitude. She was quick to help her co-workers and always went the extra mile for her clients. When the marketing firm folded, Laura quickly found a new job thanks to the positive connections she’d made previously.
Mindset makes your work harder…or easier.
David worked at an office supply store. He helped every customer he could and never complained about the tasks his manager asked him to do.
When Harry started working at the same store, he had a negative mindset. He didn’t want to help customers and he avoided doing any extra work. Fortunately, David took Harry under his wing. He helped the younger man see that work could be difficult or easy depending on his outlook.
Mindset shapes your growth.
Whether you work at a small firm, a Fortune 500 company, or just for yourself, you probably want to advance. Maybe you want a promotion or to expand the business you’ve started.
Regardless of your goal, growth is almost always required to reach it. That might mean learning new skills, networking with more people, or discovering more about your personality.
When you have a positive mindset, it’s easier to develop the skills you need. This could partially be because someone with a growth mindset is more willing to work through the initial discomfort of learning something new. They understand that new things can be challenging and they give themselves dispensation, rather than expecting perfection the first time around.
Mindset colors how you view problems.
Some people see problems and never look beyond them. But smart people recognize the problems and actively search for solutions, even if it isn’t their job to find a solution.
Sometimes, the solution might be simply refunding a customer’s money or listening to their complaint. Other times, the solution might be more complex like changing the way the company manufactures the product.
Regardless of the problem, people with a growth mindset view themselves as part of the solution. They spot trouble and they act. They take pride in their work. They work hard to ensure the company or brand goals are met while giving the customer a positive experience.
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