There’s a big difference between having a growth mindset and operating with a fixed mindset. According to research, having a growth mindset means you believe your skills and abilities can be developed over time, rather than simply being attributes you’re born with, or not.
By contrast, a fixed mindset is one that believes you are essentially ‘fixed’ with the characteristics you have, and these remain unchanged throughout your life. Research also suggests that people with a fixed mindset tend to flee from a challenge and therefore, may not always reach their true potential.
Adopting a growth mindset is one impactful way to prepare yourself for success and ensure that you can scale your business in a sustainable, meaningful manner. Here’s a few crucial signs you might be closer than you think – and ways to help shift from a fixed to a growth mindset if you have work to do:
1. You celebrate the big (and small) wins
Not every success comes with fanfare and excitement. Sometimes success is just sending a difficult email or facing a phone call you’ve been putting off! No matter how big or small, a growth mindset celebrates every type of success.
This mindset understands that positive reinforcement has positive effects on your health and quality of life and makes you a person other people want to be around. Who doesn’t love somebody who knows how to celebrate?
It’s important to differentiate between self-congratulatory arrogance and the positive type of self-confidence that we mean here.
2. You act out of possibility, not fear
As you go through your day, identify times when you might be reductive in your mindset. What would you do differently if you saw life as full of possibilities to grow and learn? How many more opportunities would you seize? How many chances would you take? Most of us are guilty of being bogged down by day-to-day difficulties, especially when running a business, but the growth mindset sees even challenges as opportunities for learning and expanding to new horizons.
You can start to adopt this growth mindset by considering the most positive approach to the problems you face. Grab a pen and piece of paper and without considering the issues, flip your thinking and identify as many positive, proactive tactics, even if you feel you’d never execute them, in a list. You may well be surprised to see the myriad different solutions you’ve listed.
The handy thing about a growth mindset is that it can help drag you out of the negative patterns that lead to the same negative result. Through changing your attitude, you’ll be setting yourself on the right path for changing your life.
3. You learn from criticism
It’s easy to see every piece of critical feedback as a personal affront. This is something people with a fixed mindset often suffer from. Whether that’s not a poor reaction from a client or a sales pitch that doesn’t go to plan. They struggle to take on board feedback and will overlook any positive sides to what has been said, in favour of emphasising the negative and amplifying it beyond its original intent.
This approach leads to a downward spiral and is ultimately not constructive if you want to life a happy, healthy life.
The growth mindset however recognises criticism as an important part of the learning journey. While you may not agree with every piece of negative feedback you’re given, if you have a growth mindset you’ll at least be willing to learn and able to see things from the perspective of whoever is providing that feedback.
You’ll also become adept at tuning out the unconstructive negative comments – a result of growing confidence and self-knowledge. Ask yourself, if this feedback was given to someone else, what might they take from it?
4. You’re willing to change
This is a critical part of the growth mindset, as without the willingness to change, it’s incredibly difficult to do so. Adopting the growth mindset means looking at your life as a journey of self-improvement, rather than being tied down by things that may have gone wrong in the past.
This gives you a chance to learn from your mistakes and move forward in a new direction, rather than repeating those same problems. Having a growth mindset means you also understand that change is one of the few constants in life, and it’s ultimately unavoidable – so you may as well roll with the punches and embrace it.
If you struggle with change in your own life, consider why. Is it a fear of failure that holds you back? Fear of the unknown? With a growth mindset, you’ll start to see failure as an important step on the path to success.
For many businesses, adopting a ‘fail fast’ mantra can be helpful. This principle means you are open to trying new things and quickly learn what doesn’t work so you can take that new-found knowledge and apply it to your next attempt. It isn’t a failure so much as an opportunity to learn what doesn’t work to do better next time.
5. You get inspired by other people
People with a growth mindset are frequently inspired by the successes of people around them. Seeing someone else’s victories doesn’t leave them feeling defeated or jealous. They know this is a chance for them to develop – and they might even pick up a few tips from the path taken by someone who has achieved something they want for themselves.
A person with a growth mindset will be just as excited to celebrate other people’s successes as their own, as they love to see the people around them learn and grow.
6. You don’t mind uncertainty
People with a growth mindset aren’t intimidated by uncertainty. They know it’s simply part of life, and they know that whatever happens, they’ll gain some valuable lessons from it.
By contrast, people with a fixed mindset struggle to accept uncertainty and cling to routines even if they don’t suit them. In business, situations, contracts and teams evolve and change. New challenges and operating conditions are permanently emerging. Being agile and flexible puts you in the best position to understand the changes, recognise you can’t foresee everything and move forward meaningfully anyway.
7. You consciously learn
Knowledge is power. But learning new skills takes effort! People with a growth mindset have an attitude of positivity and lean into the idea of lifelong learning. They believe that no matter the obstacle, they can learn a way round it, and if they want to learn a new skill, they’ll go for it!
Instead of adopting self-limiting beliefs around not being able to start again at a particular age or in a particular situation, those with the growth mindset simply start from wherever they are and get learning.
8. You have self-discipline
Not everyone will support your goals, so having the self-discipline to make things happen regardless of other people’s involvement is a key part of the growth mindset. This doesn’t mean becoming bitter if everyone around you doesn’t jump in to help – but it does mean keeping a positive, proactive attitude towards progress and working consciously towards your goals.
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Great news – you’ve taken the first, all-important step. For more inspirational articles to help you shift to a new way of thinking, and top tips on putting your positive new plans into action, check out our other blogs.
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