The most influential conversation we have every day is the one we have with ourselves. This conversation can limit our success or, when we adopt a growth mindset, open us to unlimited possibilities.
What is a Growth Mindset?
Stanford University psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence.
- Fixed Mindset – Qualities like talent and intelligence are fixed traits that can’t be changed or improved.
- Growth Mindset – Qualities like talent and intelligence can be developed.
A growth mindset removes the self-imposed constraints that have been holding you back and emphasizes learning and resilience as the paths to great accomplishment. The growth mindset is what sets great thinkers, innovators, and business leaders apart.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset
How is a growth mindset developed? How does someone who believes in set limitations transform their self-perception and adopt the belief that if something isn’t known, it can be learned.
1. Take Inventory and Set Goals
Take an inventory of the things you don’t do well (yet). Rather than compensating for your shortcomings, embrace them. Make a plan and set incremental goals to improve.
Make sure you’re setting SMART goals (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Setting goals with incremental milestones helps you overcome the enormity of learning a new skill, and strict timelines force you to break down your fixed mindset and work on improving.
2. Practice Resilience
One of the most powerful benefits of a growth mindset is being better equipped to deal with setbacks.
On your journey, you will make mistakes. Your ability to learn from your setbacks and then move on is a defining characteristic of a growth mindset.
The Japanese fill cracked pottery with gold. This practice brings attention to mistakes as an opportunity to enhance the beauty of the object. Similarly, the mistakes you will inevitably make in your life and career are valuable opportunities to identify areas for self-improvement.
3. Shift Your Internal Dialogue
Most of us have a set of fixed ideas about who we are and what we’re capable of accomplishing. Our internal dialogue can turn those ideas into self-fulfilling prophecies. If you tell yourself you simply can’t lose weight, for example, it’s unlikely that you will bother going to the gym.
The brain can be influenced and transformed by shifting your internal dialogue and adopting a growth mindset. Instead of using self-defeating phrases like “I’m not good at,” or “I can’t”, use more affirming phrases like “I need to get better at.” By shifting how you talk to yourself, you can shift your perception to see challenges as opportunities to learn and improve.
4. Stop Seeking the Approval of Others
When you fall into the trap of seeking approval from others, you allow other people’s perspectives to determine your value. This can lead to a paralyzing fear of asking for help. When you prioritize learning over seeking approval, on the other hand, it frees you from the fear of admitting when you need to improve.
And, it allows you to be inspired by those around you rather than feeling the need to compete with them. One of the key behaviors for a growth mindset is looking to others to better understand how to fuel your own initiatives. Rather than feeling threatened by other people’s accomplishments, a growth mindset allows you to value and build on their ideas.
5. Focus on the Process
A growth mindset, by definition, is limitless. Rather than setting your course on a path with a defined ending, focus on the process. When you embrace self-improvement as the point, not a means to an end, you can go further than you expect.
Once a goal is reached, it is important to set a new one. A person with a growth mindset always sees the next challenge and understands the value of what is learned in the process. A fixed mindset will believe they will reach an end and the journey will be over. A growth mindset understands it is a constant journey that offers continuous opportunities to learn.
Ready to Develop a Growth Mindset?
Leaders who develop a growth mindset become anchors for cultures of hope and continuous learning. They model the power of challenging the status quo and taking the time to hear and understand all voices in the workplace. If you are ready to enjoy continual learning, endless possibilities, and success then invest in the steps to develop a growth mindset and watch the transformation.