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Thought Leadership Thursday, January 12, 2017

Don't limit yourself: grasp a growth mindset instead

It’s the start of the New Year and, as usual, there are an abundance of blogs and articles sharing tips on how you can be at your best in the year ahead; how to remain resilient, the most powerful life lessons you can adopt, how to thrive and survive. 

I’ve enjoyed reading and reposting many of them myself on social media.  And in doing so, I’ve spotted a theme that speaks to me: when you boil them down, the essence of them all is very simple, it’s about choosing a growth mindset as you approach your own life.

One of my predictions for 2017 – and it’s a safe bet - is that with the global and political landscape constantly shifting, we are all likely to be met with change, whether it’s at work or at home, a change to what you are doing, how you are doing it or who you are doing it with.  We’ll all face disruption to the status quo, so we’ll need to adapt in order to thrive and survive.  This isn’t new, or even news, however change can still take us by surprise and we can find ourselves feeling vulnerable, threatened or stuck, if we cling to a fixed mindset.

 

Thrive and survive or stumble and fall

Most of the individuals and teams I have worked with in the last few years have undergone significant change.  Some have adapted to reinvent themselves, thriving and becoming pioneers in their industry and role models within their organisations.  On the other hand, some previously very successful individuals have stepped down or fallen down, unable to adapt and continue to perform, unable to survive.  The difference between those who thrive and survive and those that don’t is whether they recognise when they are in a fixed mindset, and their ability to engage their growth mindset.


“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not
going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people
to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” - Carol Dweck, leading Professor of Psychology.

When you hold a growth mindset, you believe that everyone has the capacity to keep learning, and to develop new resources, strategies and skill; you see failures simply as part of the learning process, using feedback to learn. Setbacks are seen as short-term challenges and change is embraced.  It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? 

 

When change gets real

What about the reality?  If I reflect on last year, 2016 was a year of change for me. At home, I moved to a new country, began learning a new language, got married, and adopted a cat, some chickens and a puppy.  And at work change came just as quickly, with new client challenges that needed new solutions, and my team changed then changed again.  In reflection it was a very challenging year, yet it was one of the happiest and most easy-flowing years I’ve ever had.

 

What is the difference that made the difference? 

Well, the truth is that I wasn’t able to hold a growth mindset about everything all of the time - I'm only human, after all! There were times when I held my head in despair about the heavy workload and time limitations. Negative thoughts sometimes crept in, and in certain moments I know that my growth mindset was lacking.  However, I also knew that, ultimately, it was me who held the key: I could recognise when I was stuck in a fixed mindset and that embracing a growth mindset would ultimately unlock success for me.

In 2017, I choose to engage my growth mindset and inspire a growth mindset in others.  This can be your fresh start: by embracing a growth mindset, what will you be able to achieve this year?

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