In this article, we explore how developing a growth mindset could help you achieve your goals.
When we were younger we felt like anything was possible. We were willing to try most things and were often not afraid of the consequences because we weren't aware of them! However, as we grew up, things changed. Some of us became risk-averse, getting anxious about what could happen and often giving up for fear of not succeeding. Others, however, continued to try new things, not caring about getting it right or not, and often even laughing at themselves if they get it wrong. So, what makes people so different?
Fixed vs growth mindset
The first group of people, those too afraid to try for fear of failing, have a fixed mindset. Simply put, people with a fixed mindset tend to want to look smart as much as possible. As a result, they are scared of taking on new challenges and will not put effort in if they feel there will be no reward. They tend to give up and feel threatened if others succeed. Most importantly, they tend to be defensive or ignore constructive feedback. These people find it difficult to grow in the workplace because they are constantly concerned about looking bad. Sound familiar? Well, if any of those thoughts come to you, no need to worry. You can learn how to develop a growth mindset instead.
People with a growth mindset look forward to challenges and understand that sometimes it takes a lot of effort to reach mastery. They are ready to persist and get it wrong as they know it is a stepping stone to getting it right. They ask for feedback to evolve and get ahead. They learn from others who are successful. But, how do you develop a growth mindset? First, it might be worth having a look at this article.
How to develop a growth mindset
Here are some more tips on how to develop a growth mindset:
1. Ask for feedback – and act on it!
No matter what it is you do, why not ask for feedback on how you are performing? You may be doing volunteer work for a few hours a week and think there’s no point in getting feedback. But what if you could make your interactions in volunteering more fruitful? Think of the difference you could make. If you are working in a company, why not ask different colleagues each week about how they think you could improve the way you deliver your work? You may just pick up some nuggets that could lead to your next promotion.
2. Be open to learning
As many meetings and events are still taking place online, one of the challenges is that it is easy to ‘zone out’ of conversations and just scroll on your phone, or check the latest football results. However, when we do this, we are missing valuable parts of conversations. Try to ensure you are fully alert by having a paper and pen with you, and make notes of the most important points. Ensure once a week you go through your notes and see if there is any information that is useful. What might have seemed insignificant at the time or irrelevant to a specific project, could end up being valuable for a different one. The more you can link information together, the more the neurones in your brain are firing and altering, creating a growth mindset. Over time, all your notes will lead to you having a better understanding of your organisation, giving you an edge over others.
3. Expect ups and downs
Unfortunately, life isn't perfect! The sooner we realise that there will always be tough times (which will pass) and easier times (which will also pass!), the happier we will be. So always be prepared for challenges that can throw you off track. It could be that you are expected to work late on a project and so your social life (or Netflix schedule) will be impacted. So what? Will your friends never speak to you again? Of course not! So, if you have to work late, ensure you are not grumbling with negative thoughts. Those negative thoughts draw you back into a fixed mindset. Instead, make it fun for you and others around you by setting up deadlines and small rewards for reaching those deadlines. The reward could be anything from treating yourself to a chocolate cookie, to meeting up with colleagues for a coffee.
A person with a growth mindset will accept the ups and downs as part of life, and just get on with it. They will be a better team player and always in demand. It is hard to do, but if you have to do the work anyway, why not do it in a happier frame of mind?
4. Do something about areas you have been avoiding
We all have some areas that we want to improve on but we either procrastinate or ignore them altogether. A growth mindset person will tackle these areas over time. So, what one area have you been neglecting? Perhaps you are not giving enough time to your studies. Or maybe you've been avoiding speaking to someone. The best thing to do is to take ownership. It puts the power firmly back in your hands. Look at the topic you should be studying and find someone who can help you with it. Or set up that call with the person you are avoiding. By getting things off our plate, our brain has room to move onto other areas and help us grow more.
5. Give yourself credit where it is due
We are often very good at being hard on ourselves. Negative thoughts to ourselves impact our brain patterns to create fixed mindsets. So, instead, every day, think about where you took initiative, or where you completed a difficult task. Think about where you struggled and learnt something new, or where you took criticism without being defensive. These are all major breakthroughs, and we should count them as that! Being more accepting of yourself and what you have achieved is a sure-fire way to create a growth mindset.