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Do you have a growth mindset?

"The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value."

Carol Dweck, Author of

"Mindset--The New Psychology

of Success--How We Can Learn

to Fulfill Our Potential"

Having a growth mindset can transform your life and the lives of those you lead.

A fixed mindset is the belief that you either "have it or you don't." People who live with a fixed mindset are in constant fear of screwing up and being judged. They associate failing with being a failure. When someone has a fixed mindset, they avoid making mistakes at all costs. As a result, individuals with this point of view spend a lot of time in their comfort zone and take little or no risks.

If you have a growth mindset, you believe you can always get better. You know what you are capable of doing is a mystery that will only be revealed when you have the grit to develop a good plan, work hard and get the right training.

"When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world-the world of fixed traits-success is about proving you're smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other-the world of changing qualities-it's about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.

In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you're not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for things you value. It means you're not fulfilling your potential.

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you're not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn't need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.

You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They're powerful beliefs, but they're just something in your mind, and you can change your mind."

Carol Dweck

The happiest, healthiest and most productive people on earth are those individuals who've developed a growth mindset. They love developing their strengths so they can serve others in a meaningful way, and they strive to keep getting better at what they do best. Unfortunately, some of the saddest people in our workplaces, families and communities are fixed on the belief there is nothing significant they can do to grow, so they just try not to fail.

"We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure - all your life."

John Gardner

Fixed mindsets also perpetuate a sense of superiority or inferiority, since their fixed traits make them feel better or worse than their peers. They also increase unhealthy conflict on teams because when people with a fixed mindset fail, they try to heal their self-esteem by making excuses or blaming someone for their lack of success.

On the other hand, challenges bring out the best in people with a growth mindset. They thrive on making daily progress. They are constantly looking for growth opportunities, and when they fail, the failure doesn't define them. It becomes another problem they will solve. They keep looking for new ways to reach worthy goals and confront adversity with confidence and resilience.

"When I was a young man I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. I didn't want to be a failure, so I did ten times more work."

George Bernard Shaw

How do the people you lead respond to disappointments or setbacks? Do they tend to work harder or give up?

If you know someone with a fixed mindset, I encourage you to take these positive actions:

  1. Only give them feedback that focuses on their effort and what they learned...not their intelligence, talent or results. Saying... "I want to compliment you on how hard you worked on this project" is much more effective than telling someone they're smart or you liked the results they produced.

  2. Schedule regular one-on-one growth meetings and ask questions like:

  • What worked well for you this week

  • What mistake did you make since our last meeting and what did you learn from those experiences?

  • What's an example of where you failed to reach a meaningful goal this month

  • How are you going to use that failure to help you be successful next time

  • What's one challenging goal you'd like to achieve next month

  • What do you have to learn to do better in order to reach that objective?

When someone believes their qualities are carved in stone, it creates an urgency to highlight or hide their "natural gifts or limitations."

When you help people learn to create positive growth in all areas of their life, they will embrace challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, and work hard to make their work and their world a better place for this and future generations.


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