Mind Your Growth

Screenshot 2023-03-10 at 9.11.54 AM

When we operate more from a growth (vs. fixed) mindset, we are more successful. There are numerous specific benefits – increased confidence and resilience, better ability to manage time and solve problems, to name a few. You can learn more about this from Carol Dweck’s work and other professional resources on the subject. 

People often think fixed vs. growth mindset is about being negative vs. positive, respectively. That can’t be further from the truth, as it is not about an outward-project attitude. Rather, the difference lies in what each of us believes about our own capabilities and achievements.  

  • Fixed mindset: What I have is what it is…and further effort, input from others, or strategizing won’t help me succeed. 
  • Growth mindset: What I have can be developed…and effort, input from others, and some strategy can make a big difference in my success. 

In thinking about your own mindset, how do you know if you’re operating from one versus the other? The truth is: We hold both mindsets because that’s how the human brain works. The left brain is a ‘protector’ of sorts that keeps us safe and in line (which may support fixed mindset), and the right brain is an ‘explorer’ of sorts that generates possibilities and boosts creativity (which can support growth mindset). 

So, do you spend more mental energy in fixed or growth mode? As Stephen Furtick said, “Your perspective will either become your prison or your passport.” Here are a few telltale signs of growth mindset: 

  • You can distinguish ability from motivation. When you think or say, “I can’t …”—which is about ability—assess how true that really is and consider how much of that might instead be, “I don’t want to …” which is about motivation. 
  • You maintain a healthy view on strengths and weaknesses (i.e., those you and others possess). You acknowledge weaknesses instead of using them as excuses, recognize strengths instead of minimizing them, and identify which can be exercised like a muscle. 
  • You focus more on learning than talking. When interacting with others: Instead of showing off only what you know, you are curious and open because you know each person or group with whom you interact offers a unique insight. 

Shifting to more of a growth mindset requires focus at first, and then becomes more automatic over time. And thanks to neuroscience, we know we can choose to have more of a growth mindset by being more intentional in our behavior. 

Starting with next week’s blog, we delve into the 4 “Ps” of being more intentional—purpose, presence, perception, and preparation. Intentionality—raising our consciousness—is an important stride towards a growth mindset. 

This Week: Pay attention to when you may be operating with a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. When you find yourself thinking more fixed-like, assess what effort, input, or strategizing might help you shift into growth-mode. 

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1 Comment

  1. Doug Brady on March 14, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    Terrific Jen.
    I’ll endeavor to be more aware this week regarding my default to either fixed or growth actions.

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