By Mary Trump, Trump Coaching Group
Consider the following questions:
- When facing a new challenge, do you react with confidence? Do you believe that with time, effort and practice you can succeed? Or do you find yourself questioning your abilities, talent and motivation?
- Do you view failure as part of the process? Or do you avoid challenges in order to protect yourself from potential humiliation?
- When you encounter setbacks and criticism, do you rethink your strategy and persevere? Or do you give up telling yourself it’s better to cut your losses?
How you answer those questions gives insight into what type of mindset you have.
A mindset is an established set of attitudes based on your assumptions about and interpretations of your experiences, other peoples’ behaviors, and the situations you find yourself in.
Because your mindset affects all aspects of your life—personal and professional—it’s important to figure out the answer to this next question. Is your mindset working to your advantage or holding you back? In her book Mindset, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck identifies two general mindsets: “fixed” and “growth.”
Fixed Mindset Assumptions
• Talent and intelligence are static
• It’s better to avoid challenges
• It’s preferable to quit before failure
• Making an effort is pointless
• Criticism and feedback should be ignored
• The success of others is a threat
Growth Mindset Assumptions
• Talent and intelligence can be developed
• Embracing challenges is important for growth
• Failure opens opportunities for learning
• Effort leads to mastery and success
• Criticism and feedback help us improve
• The success of others provides inspiration and learning It’s easy to see which set of assumptions would positively influence the choices you make. The problem is that your mindset is deeply ingrained and habitual. So, if you typically approach life with a “fixed” mindset, how do you make the shift?
6 Ways to Shift Your Mindset Assumptions
1. Embrace failure instead of avoiding it. Failing at something that’s important to you is always unpleasant. But failure enables some of your greatest learning just like getting lost can be one of the best way to learn route to your destination. A failure means success has a chance of arriving that much sooner.
2. Think abundance instead of scarcity. When it comes to spending money on self-improvement—wellness coaching, personal training, or a nutrition consult—a lot of people resist because it’s expensive. Think of it this way: Believing in and valuing yourself is attractive to other people—clients, friends, colleagues. The more steps you take to feel better physically and mentally, the more your self-image will improve and the more productive you’ll be. Stop thinking of personal growth as an expense. Instead think of it as an investment in your future.
3. Embrace challenges. People who make “growth” mindset assumptions realize that challenges are opportunities in disguise. They actively seek them out. Making the commitment to get back into shape, for example, provides you with all sorts of challenges. To turn them into opportunities, think about how much better your life will be once you have more energy instead of focusing on how hard it is to exercise.
4. Use setbacks as learning opportunities. No matter how detailed the plan, you’re going to encounter obstacles. Nobody can predict what setbacks will occur or when they will crop up. Don’t waste energy trying to prevent the unknown. Face obstacles when they occur and learn from them.
5. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes the best opportunities for personal and professional growth come from leveraging harsh criticism and negative feedback. It’s never easy when somebody points out your shortcomings or calls you out for doing a poor job, but instead of feeling bad about yourself, consider it a chance to make improvements.
6. Stop re-inventing the wheel. Resenting successful people for what they have accomplished is a waste of time and energy. It’s much more productive to learn from the success of others. Focus on your own strengths and use other people’s expertise to improve your chances of success. Incorporating these simple mindset shifts goes a long way towards building your self-confidence and inspiring you to action. It’s amazing how having a growth mindset can increase your productivity and fulfillment. Put these strategies into action and let us know how it goes.