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Growth mindset is key to career success

Updated: Apr 18

Growth versus fixed mindset is often discussed but do you really know how to cultivate a mindset of growth?

What is a growth mindset?

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.” - Carol Dweck

What is a fixed mindset?

Individuals displaying a fixed mindset may get defensive when challenged and find it difficult to accept feedback. On the other hand, we have individuals who display a growth mindset. intelligence can, and should, be developed, like and embrace change and challenge, learn from criticism and are persistent.

It’s simplistic to assume that we are one thing or another – we’re not.

What triggers our fixed mindset?

In reality, most of us are a combination of the two mindsets – believing different things about ourselves in certain circumstances. The task at hand there is understanding what triggers our fixed mindset – is it certain meetings, clients or colleagues (or family members – yikes!)?

Once we understand this, we can look to change this and open ourselves up to a more growth mindset framework of thinking. Have a think about the leaders you admire or your role models. How often do you think they were just ‘better’ at something rather than the fact that they actually applied strategies, practiced harder or worked their way through obstacles?

Now I fully ascribe to the theory that you achieve greater job performance if you focus on your strengths rather than your development areas however, I do believe a greater self-awareness about where you are applying a fixed mindset will allow you to move forward positively in your development areas.

For me personally, I used to think I struggled with public speaking and somehow others had a talent that I didn’t – that my ability was “fixed” in this area. However, I had to change my mindset in order to continue to work in this field; I had to overcome my fixed mindset and allow myself to grow and learn no matter how uncomfortable it made me as I knew I had to challenge myself for the greater good and my own personal success. I now have public speaking as a skill, and this is a skill I have acquired through development, practice and knowledge as well as applying strategies to make me better at it.

Thinking about the workplace – where are your obstacles? Where are you assuming that you’re just not good at it – I’ve heard clients talk about their lack of talent for be giving feedback, having tough conversations or connecting with direct reports on a personal level – and the assumption that there are others who are just “better at it”.

How do you change your mindset?

So here are three questions to help you unlock your thinking about your mindset:

  1. Who do you admire at work and are there skills that they display where you consider that they are just “better at it” than you?

  2. Are there ways you can create more development opportunities for yourself? Or relationships you need to cultivate that will help you grow and learn?

  3. Are there situations when you become defensive at work? What causes you to respond in this way?

To continue growing our mindset we need to keep practicing – setting goals for your growth and checking in with ourselves about how we are performing, how we are perceived and how we are growing.

You don’t get a growth mindset by proclamation. You move toward it by taking a journey” - Carol Dweck

If any of these ways of thinking have resonated with you, please do reach out for a discovery call where we can explore how a career coach for women might help you move past this way of thinking.

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