8 Ways To Continue Developing Your Growth Mindset.
Let’s start this blog with two definitions given to us courtesy of American psychologist Carol Dweck.
Firstly, what is a growth mindset?
A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed with time and effort, in the same way that if you wanted to become physically fitter you can exercise to do just that. The level of capability that you can obtain correlates with the work you put in to achieve it. Anything is possible.
There is a flipside to this which is our second definition; a fixed mindset.
This is the opposite. A firm belief that we are born with a certain level of ability and skills that only exist in certain areas. These can improve ever so slightly with practise, however there are set innate personal parameters that we can never go beyond.
Interesting stuff… but how does having either mindset impact your life?
Well, if you have a fixed mindset it often means that you are setting boundaries for yourself that may not exist. You are telling yourself what is possible without any evidence of that being true.
You are restricting what you can become.
However if you develop a growth mindset, you are opening up yourself to all possibilities.
Thankfully and fittingly, a growth mindset is not something you have or haven’t got. It is something that you have the ability to train over time.
(Hopefully) you clicked on the blog because that is exactly what you want to do… so let’s crack on!
Here are 8 ways that YOU can continue to grow your growth mindset and live a life with no imaginary limits.
- Embrace Your Imperfections
In the same way that our strengths make us who we are, so do our weaknesses.
As we have already mentioned, your perception of those weaknesses is what differs between growth and fixed mindsets.
People with a fixed mindset are more likely to hide their imperfections as they feel as though they are permanent rather than things that can be focused on and improved.
However, those who have developed a growth mindset know that having the self-awareness to acknowledge areas for development is key to self-improvement.
They do not get disheartened at discovering areas of potential weakness, instead it breeds excitement at the potential ability that could be unlocked by seeking a method to learn more and to dedicate time and work to that area.
- Listen To Your Words And Thoughts
Henry Ford famously once said “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t… you’re right.”
The thoughts you have and the words you say, whether they are just to yourself or to others, have a huge impact on the results you experience. This is often referred to as the ‘think, feel, behave’ chain.
Over the next week try monitoring yourself and pay attention to the nature of what you think, how you then feel, and what behaviours this leads to.
- Replace ‘Failing’ With ‘Learning’
This follows on smoothly from my previous point, and arguably, it is the same thing. However, I believe this one is a substantial change that can have a giant and noticeable impact on many aspects of your life.
When you think about the word ‘fail’ there are many negative connotations. Perhaps because for many of us we have been taught that failure is where you stop and never return.
The interesting thing though about every failure you have ever experienced, is that something caused it to happen.
So, what is the best way forward? To ignore the cause because it makes us feel bad about ourselves and risk it reoccurring; or to acknowledge the cause, not judge ourselves and to use it to our advantage going forward?
For someone with a more fixed mindset, failure can be well and truly demoralising as it represents more of an end point than a crucial part of a journey. Often these people will take a failure as a sign that they will never be cut out for that thing, and that they should just do something else, instead of looking to improve.
People with growth mindsets view failure as a welcome sign that there is an opportunity to improve or change something for the better, rather than as a deafening siren telling them to find the nearest exit and never look back.
- View Challenges As Opportunities And Embrace Them
If you are someone who is looking for consistency and resisting change, then challenges can be scary things.
They push you away from what you see as normal and comfortable, and present you with something that you believe that you could do without. A change!
If you have a growth mindset however, you are excited for challenges and cannot wait to get stuck into whatever is coming at you next!
Instead of viewing challenges that may feel uncomfortable as a huge risk not worth taking, see them as an exciting opportunity to grow and improve your skillset. Any potential risks taken when opportunities arise will be neutralised by the learning gained from any setbacks or failures.
You know that you will leave a challenge a different person than you entered it, for the better. You also know that any struggle will test your grit and determination to succeed, making the end result so much sweeter.
- Effort Before Talent
If you have natural talent in a certain skill, you are very fortunate.
However unless you partner talent with work ethic, it may not be enough to get you to where you want to be.
The golden question is would you rather have a few natural talents, or the work ethic which enables you to become talented in many different areas?
A growth mindset prioritises the grit and determination you need to develop yourself widely, rather than just relying on what you are naturally good at to get you by.
- Learn From Those Around You
How do you feel when you see someone succeed in an area you wish to improve in?
Envious? Threatened? Insecure?
Those are very much the responses of someone with a fixed mindset, who is coming to terms that this person is doing something that they can never do.
However, try to look at this as yet another opportunity to improve. This person who is achieving things that you aspire to is a fantastic resource to aid your development, potentially through mentorship.
Again, changing this side of your mindset comes down to your relationship with your own development areas and whether you are willing to share them or to hide them away.
- Value The Process Over The Result Whilst Celebrating Growth
It can be really easy to become impatient with how long things can take, especially when it is something you really want or that you feel is essential to your life.
It’s really important to remember that the process of learning is a really fascinating and rewarding one when you take the time to reflect on your journey, wherever you may be upon it.
Doing a quick gap analysis which highlights where you started, where you are now, and where you’re going, will leave you chomping at the bit to get stuck in to learning even more and taking that next step.
The result is the ultimate goal, however those landmarks your journey passes along the way will provide such important motivational fuel to drive you to that end.
Remember to give yourself that pat on the back – the feeling of success is addictive. With growth comes excitement.
- Always Make New Goals
Life never stops teaching, so you should never stop learning! What are you going to conquer next?
The satisfaction of meeting or exceeding a goal is mesmerising. Whilst basking in your brilliance is super important, it is also crucial to keep your momentum going and to plan for what’s next.
Some view goal-setting as an arduous task that is all about expectations. However, goal-setting is an activity which should both scare and excite you. It should be your opportunity to look at where you want to be in the future and begin.
If you feel nothing about your goals, then you need to reassess.
Adjust your focus onto something you care about, or set your sights on something bigger.
When your goals read to you like the greatest inspiration you could ever receive. You will commit to them and ultimately yourself. Making your personal growth a priority.
We actually have a post all about goal setting which we wrote at the turn of the year, which you can find right here.
No matter where you are up to in your life right now… mindsets are malleable.
How much you are able to evolve your thinking largely comes down to your commitment, and how much you actually view the potential impact of this shift in thinking being for you and your future.
Once you are committed and begin to see the differences for yourself, the overwhelming sense of motivation and curiosity as to what else is possible for you is a euphoric sensation.
It will take you far beyond wherever you previously believed your limits to be.
Alex & The Excel Team
P.S. If you would like to discuss any of your learning & development challenges for 2021, call us on +44(0) 1628488 854.
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