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Creating a Growth Mindset

The concept of Growth Mindset was coined by Carol Dweck in her brilliant book "Mindset - The New Psychology of Success" (2017), and has since been widely adopted to explain a state of mind and set of behaviours of high achievers.

In short, a Growth Mindset (as opposed to a Fixed Mindset) is one of possibility, where the person has the fundamental belief that they can change their abilities, and therefore career and overall progress in life by training, learning and looking for opportunities.

A Fixed Mindset in opposition assumes growth is pre-determined and cannot be influenced in a significant way.

So how can you make sure You keep that Growth Mindset (or develop it in the first place)?

I absolutely love the power of self-directed questions to focus my attention. Each of the steps below include suggested focus questions to implement and apply once you are faced with a challenge and are slipping into Fixed Mindset thinking:

1. Understand that You have the power of Choice

The knowledge and understanding that the choices we make in life are in large part up to us, is very liberating. I explored Choice and Influence in this article, but want to emphasize here that You can Chose your Mindset - independent of what else is out of your control in your life.

That is , you can chose how to respond, what you believe about yourself, how you show up, etc.

Q: How do I want to show up / behave / project in life to become who I want to be?

2. Create and nurture a powerful belief in Your ability to improve

Once you understand the choices You have, the obvious next step is to chose a belief that supports your goals in life (or career), with the main characteristic of knowing that you have the ability to learn, change and adapt to rise to the challenges that lie between you and your goals.

Q: What do I consciously and actively chose to believe, so that I will undoubtedly reach y goals?

3. Approach obstacles as challenges to overcome and learn from

Obstacles are the testing ground for our beliefs and abilities. We either overcome them (good!) or don't (also good), only to reassess, adjust, upskill and have another attempt at them once we identified a better way to approach and solve that situation. Avoiding has no place in a Growth Mindset, it will only delay your growth and stop your goals from being met.

Here is a small video where Jocko Willink (former Navy SEAL) explains using an example from his military life of how he vies challenges.

Q: What can I learn from this?

4. Get used to viewing setbacks and failure as feedback

"There is no failure, only feedback" is a popular phrase among NLP practitioners. Following from the previous point, being able to learn from mistakes, and then have another run with better information is the way forward.

Q: What do I need (skills, resources, attitude, etc.) to do this better next time?

5. Take stock of Your skills, abilities and achievements

Creating a list of your skills, abilities and achievements is a healthy exercise at any time in life. Looking back not only for self-gratification, but also to identify situations or challenges similar to today's, and finding what worked "back then". This exercise might also illustrate the gaps you might have, being the obvious next step to find how to close these (learn how to do it yourself or outsource to experts).

Q: Which of these skills or past achievements will see me succeed today?

6. Observe and model others who represent what You want to be / do / have

"Success leaves clues" What can you learn from observing others that are further along the journey you want to follow? Whether in a career setting or in a broader life scenario, understanding how others have achieved their goals can be a good starting point or reference point.

NOTE: careful with turning this exercise into comparing yourself with others, as well as believing the myriads of "influencers" with too good to be true success stories.

This exercise is about understanding behaviours and patterns, not quantifying achievements.

Q: How did they get "there"? What skills / knowledge / process did they need to achieve "That"?How can I best adopt these skills / knowledge / processes to my needs?

7. Surround Yourself with others on a similar mission and mindset

"A rising tide lifts all boats". You might have read about You being the average of the 5 people you spend most time with - who are they? Are they nourishing your growth or hindering? Are you supporting and nourishing other's growth?

The same applies to your career, are you chosing to become part of a company that fosters a growth Mindset (beyond lipservice) or are you being held back by the structures, processes and especially thinking that limits your growth?

Q: Who do I want to spend more time with? What company should I best avoid if I want to grow?

Having a mentor or a Coach tremendously enhances your growth, by either showing you the ropes (mentor) or harnessing and helping you channel your potential (Coach).

Want to learn how I can help you develop, maintain and expand a Growth Mindset? Lets talk!

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