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I've been thinking about the idea of growth mindsets lately. I wonder if somehow many of us haven't heard much about it, yet have a reasonable idea of what it is and how it can help us. That was me growing up and going into my early career.
The growth mindset is exactly what it sounds like - it's the held belief that we can learn from our challenges, mistakes, and shortcomings, that our skills and abilities can be further honed, that we're not static - it's about growth. It acknowledges that failure is part of the learning process, and prizes the pursuit of seeking new skills and knowledge. Contrast that with a fixed mindset that says our intelligence, skills, and abilities are unchangeable. A growth mindset seeks challenges and perseveres in the face of obstacles and adversity. A fixed mindset shies away from challenge and gives up.
I think this is something so important in life and career. What happens when you're faced with challenges, when things get hard. Do you give up, or move past the obstacle? Do you strive for more, or accept your current situation as fate - fixed and out of your control? As a leader I find it so important to model these growth behaviors as I'm also developing these skills in my team. This is how we build new skills, get better at solving problems, take good risks, and become more resilient. Each challenge is a stepping stone on the path to growth and success.
Take a few minutes to watch a great TED talk by Carol Dweck at TEDxNorrkoping: The power of believing that you can improve
Now, what is your next step? Think about a recent challenge where a growth mindset can help you learn and move forward into growth. What would the alternative look like from a fixed mindset? See the difference? One is about getting stuck, the other about moving forward.
"I've failed over and over and over in my life, and that is why I succeed" ~ Michael Jordan