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11 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset & Why it Matters

By February 10, 2021No Comments

You may have heard of the terms “growth mindset” and “fixed mindset” before. Coined by Dr. Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, these two terms have become incredibly popular for individuals looking to grow and find success in their education, their professional lives, and their personal lives. In this post, we’re going to go over what growth and fixed mindsets are, why it’s important to have a growth mindset, especially if you want to be a successful leader, and how to develop and improve a growth mindset. 

11 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

A growth mindset is characterized by the rejection of the idea that intellect and ability are static and unchanging. Those with growth mindsets crave challenges and don’t see failure as the end-all-be-all, but as a way to learn and grow. On the contrary, a fixed mindset is characterized by the belief that things like intelligence, creativity, and ability are fixed and cannot change or be developed. Dr. Dweck’s book goes over all of this more in detail and talks about the benefits of growth mindsets. But a growth mindset is more than just beneficial; it’s essential. 

Why You Need a Growth Mindset

If you want to be a hugely successful leader, business owner, or entrepreneur, having a growth mindset is the absolute key to success. With a fixed mindset, any challenge seems insurmountable, which results in you staying stagnant. Your achievement plateaus with a fixed mindset. Why? Because you believe that intellect and ability are innate, which means that there’s  no way to learn or develop the skills you need to get to the next level. More likely than not, you weren’t born with all of the skills you need to be a billionaire CEO or the next big entrepreneur. You have a certain skillset but you need to develop your skills to get to the next level. If you have a fixed mindset, you don’t believe this is possible, so you can never grow.

As a leader and business owner, you’ll never stop needing to learn more and develop more skills in order to get to the next level. You’ll always face new challenges and have to learn how to solve them. That’s why you need a growth mindset. Not only is it essential to believe that you can level up and develop the skills you need, it’s also essential to welcome challenges and feedback, as that’s the only way that you can grow beyond where you currently are.

You might be thinking, “Okay, sure, this all sounds fine, but how do I know it’s true?” Well, after Dr. Dweck released her book, scientists and researches took the opportunity to do some research on just how important a growth mindset is, and they found that achievement truly is higher in those with growth mindsets. In a study done with students, students with growth mindsets “were three times more likely to score in the top 20% on the test, while students with a fixed mindset were four times more likely to score in the bottom 20%” (Source: MindsetScholarsNetwork). That is an insane difference! If this is true for students and tests, imagine how impactful it would be for your business if you only had a growth mindset…

11 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset
Now let’s get to the good stuff! You know what a fixed mindset is and why you don’t want it, and you know growth mindset is and why you should strive for it, so how the heck do you develop a growth mindset? Unfortunately, there’s no 2 + 2 = 4 formula to achieving a growth mindset, especially if you’re more prone to fixed mindset thinking. There are steps, however, that you can start to practice to either move away from your fixed mindset toward a growth mindset or improve your current growth mindset. Here are eleven of the most powerful ones.

Be intentional with the words you use and the thoughts you have.

Part of having a growth mindset is the way you frame your successes, challenges, and failures. That’s why it’s important to be intentional with your words and thoughts. For example, acknowledging your successes as a result of your hard work and overcoming challenges instead of just sheer talent is a good way to move toward a growth mindset. While you can’t control your thoughts, if you recognize a fixed mindset-type thought, you can acknowledge that and try to change that inner voice in your head. Eventually, your thoughts will change and so will your mindset.

Focus on the process instead of the final result.

It really is the process and the journey that matters, not the final destination. If you can train yourself to focus on and enjoy the process/task at hand instead of constantly obsessing over the final result, you will learn from your mistakes throughout the process and improve quicker.

Welcome and seek constructive criticism.

This is one of the most important parts of having a growth mindset — being open to and encouraging constructive feedback. Every piece of feedback is an opportunity to learn and grow, so not only should you accept it, but you should seek it out. By doing so, you will start to see constructive criticism as a positive instead of a negative.

Be open to failure.

Another key part of growth mindsets is openness to failure. If you see a failure as the point as which you stop trying, then you will never be able to learn and improve. So, know that failure is inevitable at least sometimes, and don’t stop trying if and when you do fail. Eventually, you will succeed.

Learn from your mistakes.

When you aren’t afraid of making mistakes, you can start to learn from them instead of just seeing them as a negative part of the process. Learn from your mistakes by analyzing them afterwards to see what went wrong and how you could’ve done better. That way, you’ll never make that mistake again and you’ll be better off for it.

Learn from others’ mistakes.

Why limit the benefit of learning from mistakes to yourself? Chances are, someone else has made the same mistakes you might make. Learn from others in your field, whether this be through mentorship, coaching, reading, researching, etc. Not only will this save you time, but it will also help you see that mistakes and failures eventually lead to success.

Welcome challenges.

While this is easier said than done, it’s important to approach everything with an openness and welcoming attitude toward challenges. If you can shift your thinking to welcome challenges, then nothing will ever be too hard or too much.

Be honest and realistic with yourself.

Sometimes we get overexcited when we’re building our businesses, which can lead to biting off more than we can chew, so it’s important to be honest with yourself and realistic with what you can actually handle. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream big — you absolutely should. But you need to remember that you’re a human being and you can only do so much alone.

Emphasize effort and hard work over talent.

This is an important point to remember for yourself but also for your team. A key part of a fixed mindset the belief that talent is all we’ve got. If you emphasize effort and hard work over talent, not only will you develop your own growth mindset, but you will also inspire it in others.

Cultivate self-acceptance, self-approval, and self-appreciation.

Like we said before, you’re only human, and that means you will make mistakes and you will fail. While having a growth mindset can help you learn from your mistakes, it still might hurt sometimes when things don’t go your way. It’s important that you position yourself not to give up when things get hard and acknowledge your hard work and your efforts. Being your own #1 fan will go a long way when it comes to your growth.

Take ownership of your attitude. 
Finally, you need to be committed to developing your growth mindset. This means taking ownership of your attitude, words, actions, and even thoughts. If you don’t want to have a growth mindset, it probably won’t magically happen (especially if you already have a fixed mindset). So, take control over and ownership of your attitude, and reap the amazing benefits of having a growth mindset.

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