Have you come across this term anytime in your life? If the answer is no, let’s first understand what a growth mindset actually is?
According to Carol Dweck, a “growth mindset” is one which thrives on challenges and failure isn’t seen as a sign of unintelligence but as a promising springboard for growth. It stretches our existing abilities.
Dweck states that a growth mindset develops the passion to learn instead of longing for approval. The hallmark of a growth mindset is the belief that human qualities such as creativity and intelligence, as well as relational capacities such as friendship or love, can be cultured through effort and practice. Failure doesn’t discourage people with this kind of mindset, instead, they consider it to be a learning experience.
Dweck organized a study with children, where she offered them a choice -they could redo a simple jigsaw puzzle or they could try a tougher one. Those having a fixed mindset selected the easier puzzles. They wanted to ensure they succeed so that they appear to be smart. Those children having a growth mindset opted for the harder puzzles, because their success lied in becoming smarter.
As rightly stated by Carol Dweck, “When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world-the the world of fixed traits-success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other-the world of changing qualities-it about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.”
Why should you develop a growth mindset?
1. Grow during uncertain times
Uncertainty can be just like the weather, where people and organizations have little or absolutely no control over it. The uncertainties could be geopolitical, structural, regulatory, etc., which affect business operations along with the supply chain. A way of growing during such uncertain times is businesses must have a dynamic strategy wherein there is clarity on the initiatives to be pursued and those which have to be discarded.
Another important step to be taken by businesses is that they must invest in their employees. During uncertainties, businesses tend to freeze hiring or reduce the headcount which seems to be the most viable solution at that time. However, a business must focus on developing people to ensure they can fill in vital roles.
2. Improve yourself and your business
Self-improvement can also give your business the desired boost. You must constantly improve your knowledge by learning new things, new skills, etc. Read biographies on the people you admire, avoid negative talks, engage in self-care, spend some time on your hobbies, and build up your confidence.
Rather than having a fixed mindset which isn’t beneficial to your business because it doesn’t have room for self-improvement, doesn’t believe in taking risks and doesn’t allow the people to unleash their potential, you must develop a growth mindset that will boost your business because it encourages you to accept challenges, accept change, accept failures, and treat failures as opportunities.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset?
1. Acknowledge and embrace the fact you don’t know everything
One of the most dangerous thoughts you can believe is that you’re the smartest person in the room. Smartness without humility is a potential threat to one and all! Acknowledge that learning happens at any age. Take the example of a 5-year-old child, who has no fear when it comes to risks, is curious to discover new things, will never give up till they get what they desire and they never stop learning.
You must learn to accept that you cannot possibly know everything and that, at times, you could be wrong, too. You can begin by being more open to learning new things, which is the first step towards developing a growth mindset.
2. Look for opportunities during uncertain times
In times of uncertainty, business leaders take instant decisions like freezing the hiring process, reducing investments, cutting costs, or not making decisions at all. This reflex action happens when the mind is challenged with uncertain events. A growth mindset can make you look for opportunities, get innovative, and shift your focus.
Rather than cutting down the staff, a person with a growth mindset would find ways to bring out the best in their employees in trying times and create a continuity plan for your business. As a business, you have to be prepared for uncertainty in terms of regulations, structural changes, or even in politics. For instance, you must invest in developing your workforce by training them in skills, technology, etc., so that they can fill in various positions.
3. View challenges as opportunities for growth
Challenges aren’t hindrances. They’re opportunities pushing you towards growth and achieving your goals. C.S. Lewis stated that “Hardships prepare you for an upcoming extraordinary destiny.” Never underestimate your ability to overcome obstacles. In case you face challenges, you must consider it to be an “opportunity,” and avoid considering it as a problem that you cannot overcome.
If you have a growth mindset and tackle crises or challenges in a similar fashion, you will be surprised by your abilities! Firstly, you must learn to accept that problems cannot be avoided. You must also learn to evaluate and identify the real threats and the possible consequences, which will help you understand the seriousness of it and the possible solutions as well.
4. Pay attention to your words and thoughts
This is an area that you must consider paying attention to. Start paying attention to what you say to yourself and others. Wrong words used could lead to misunderstandings and revolts. You must choose words that depict confidence, positivity, and which makes other people comfortable.
By having a growth mindset, you learn to focus on the positive than the negative, you learn to accept failures, you learn to challenge yourself and this makes you act accordingly, thereby giving you positive results as well.
5. Stop seeking the approval of others
A growth mindset can be offset if you always seek approval from others. You must nurture the qualities of self-acceptance along with self-approval. You have to trust yourself first as you’re answerable to only yourself, and you exist to impress only yourself!
You must learn to be more aware of yourself and be aware of your self-worth. The best way to start off is by journaling – pen down your thoughts. These help to declutter your mind and also help you come up with new ideas.
6. Know and understand the “why” of your business
Businesses are differentiated in many aspects, one of which is the purpose of the business. Companies having a well-defined purpose or aim to encourage engagement with employees, connect with customers genuinely. This, in turn, gives you results. Meaningful work gives an employee a sense of fulfillment. A company starts with employees, and these are the people who spread on the message of the company to the suppliers and customers.
7. Focus on your strengths
You must have observed that the majority of the successful people, irrespective of their fields, have always focused on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. This is the reason behind their success. We complain we aren’t quite good at some things.
What you must remember is that you have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. We must explore and always appreciate our strengths and improve our weaknesses. Focus is essential: focus on learning one skill rather than ten skills. Once this is decided, make a plan on your practice sessions. This effort could assist in developing a growth mindset.
8. Know what and when to delegate
Delegating looks straightforward. However, delegating requires loads of trust, coordination, and communication. As you go up the ladder, it becomes tough to handle all the tasks all by yourself. It is important that you have to learn to let go of your tasks. Initially, you could delegate the smaller activities and gradually move on to the more challenging ones.
You also must have a priority system in place based on skills and work which requires higher skills that could be handled by you and the rest can be delegated. In order to delegate tasks, you must understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and accordingly allocate the work.
Make sure you add instructions when you delegate the work and be ready to teach your team new skills that would help them out. In this manner, delegating leads to team empowerment builds trust, and also helps in terms of professional development.
9. Accept feedback with a grain of salt
When we don’t accept feedback, we stubbornly communicate our intention and unwillingness to grow, change, and adapt. A person with a growth mindset is open to feedback. The more open you are to feedback, the higher are the rates of success. Accepting feedback shows you’re willing to change, grow, and improve. Effective feedback helps determine areas for improvement.
10. Learn from the mistakes of others
A growth mindset teaches you to learn not just from your mistakes but also from the mistakes of others. By doing this, you can reduce your mistakes. At times, it can be quite calming and will alleviate the anxiety faced when you try new things. This is quite essential to developing a growth mindset.
11. Understand the journey’s as important as the destination
Success isn’t a destination but a journey. When you focus on a big task at hand, there is a tendency to think that the goal is everything. However, it isn’t. It’s all about your journey to achieve the goal. Learn, appreciate, and savor the journey that you take to achieve your goals. Once you achieve a goal, you set out to conquer the next on your list.
12. Set SMART goals
When we speak of goals, the most common goals we can think of is setting goals with fixed numbers like “hitting a 15 percent rise in the KPI”, or “getting a 30% hike with a promotion”. Though setting such goals might appear to be logical, it is essential to set SMART goals. A SMART goal has to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
To make a goal more specific, your goal has to be drafted in a way that it answers five basic questions:
- What do I need to accomplish?
- Why is this goal essential?
- Who is involved in this goal?
- What are the resources involved?
- Where will the goal be achieved?
Your goal must have certain criteria to measure the progress and has to be well-defined so that you can achieve it. Your goal should be quite realistic so that it can be attained with the resources available. Your goal must come with a start and finish date. SMART goals assist you in the organization, gives you a direction, and help you achieve your goals.
13. Speed is not always the name of the game
Whether you learn a new skill or set any new goals for yourself and your business, make sure it is realistic and achievable. Anything requires time, and many times, learning new skills or even achieving the goals set, could rope in many hours! If this is borne in mind, you can develop a growth mindset.
Once you possess a growth mindset, you can focus and dedicate the time and effort to complete that skill or goal. In this manner, you focus on your process and not on your speed and ability to complete it in the shortest time.
14. Be accountable for your actions and decisions
When something goes wrong, don’t resort to the blame game. Instead, have a growth mindset and be accountable for your actions. Whenever you see a specific problem occurring many times, the issue has to be raised and solved.
A company should always empower its employees with a lot of positivity and avoid negative emotions and inertia. By setting high expectations for yourself and your team as well, you know your team takes the lead from you and this makes you accountable.
15. Create A Blog As A Form Of Active Learning
To develop a growth mindset, you can start by voicing your thoughts, ideas, opinions, insights, and the like on a social platform. You can create your blog wherein you could share your learnings. It helps you express your ideas and insights based on valid evidence, and you can also have a dialogue with other bloggers in these areas. It expands the horizon of learning as well as perspective.
16. Celebrate others
For success to be enjoyable, there must not be any form of jealousy. We should be genuinely elated for the success achieved by others. Envy is the root cause of the destruction of one’s success. It is essential to understand how well we handle the success of others, especially when we face trying times: it indicates our maturity and our belief in ourselves.
Never leave the opportunity to congratulate others sincerely, as this allows others to celebrate even our successes with us when we attain them.
17. Redefine your definition of genius
Geniuses aren’t limited to people with high IQs. You must learn to appreciate yourself and those around you. With a growth mindset, one can redefine the definition of a genius. Though one might not be born with amazing skills or talents, you can develop skills through constant learning and use them in situations that demand creative solutions, new ideas, etc.
18. Take time to review and evaluate
Performance evaluation is tough, and self-evaluation is tougher. Self-evaluation must be treated as an opportunity to self-reflect and look into your strengths and weaknesses. This is quite essential for growth and improvement.
19. Cultivate grit behavior
Grit refers to your perseverance and dedication to meet your set goals. It refers to your effort and willingness to tackle obstacles and just keep moving ahead. Grit comes with passion, and this can happen if people with grit surround you. Being with people who show up daily ensures that with time, you become just like them.
Inculcating grit behavior will surely lead a growth mindset as you will learn dedication and commitment towards your goals and will give a new meaning to your life. You learn perseverance through grit which implies that you will stick to your goal irrespective of failures that might come in your way.
20. Take ownership of your attitude
Leaders with a growth mindset speak openly about the challenges as well as failures and how they handled it. This puts their entire team at ease, and when they are assigned specific tasks, they are more open and contribute more innovative solutions. One must ensure that the credit is shared amongst the team, and each person is recognized, irrespective of their flaws.
21. Replace “failure” with “learning opportunity.”
A growth mindset involves seeing failure as a learning opportunity instead of a defeat. Failures are a part of everybody’s lives, and what is important is that we learn from it and make better decisions. Failure shouldn’t be a reason to give up on your dreams. We all have setbacks, the key lies in learning from each other and improving your abilities of decision making.
Take the example of Oprah Winfrey: She was fired from the position of news co-anchor at a TV station in Baltimore before she went on to have her very successful talk show. It’s good to acknowledge failures and accept that one cannot be i-know-it-all. Failures definitely are the steps to success!
22. Love what you do
Whether you own a startup, what’s important is that you must love what you do! You must be passionate about your business. When you love your job or business or course, you always are energized, you can stay awake for hours doing research and still wake up with a fresh mind, and you exude happiness!
23. Set the example for others
The best way to lead others is by setting an example. This is possible if you know your business and work, yet you work as a team, respecting everybody’s position, listening to your team, ensuring your words do not negatively affect your team, and you take ownership for your actions.
24. Know when to cut your losses
An important aspect of the growth mindset is to quit when it is the right time to quit. This does not mean failure: it lets you create something bigger and better. Also, in case of a failing initiative, the best you could do for your team and yourself is to quit.
The self-realization that something is not working or probably won’t yield results as expected is a step towards a growth mindset. Also, when one starts realizing that you are not happy with the results, irrespective of the time and efforts you have put, it is better to put a stop to it. This will lead to a growth mindset and give you results in the future.
The problem is that we all worry a lot and overthink at times about moving on to cut down the losses. But here, we need to realize and visualize the bigger picture, which is if you don’t cut down on your losses now, it shall result in more unhappiness, more wastage of effort and time, and much more loss of opportunities for success.
Thus, realizing on time when to cut your losses and quit at the correct time leads to a growth mindset and to capture the opportunities to succeed.
25. Be willing to try new things
Jim Rohn once stated “ Life is worthwhile if you try. It doesn’t mean you can do everything, but there are a lot of things you can do if you just try.”
Trying new things gives you a new perspective on life and situations. You can try a new thing in a month and see the changes. This helps you meet a lot of new people, get rid of boredom and routine life, you could get a job, and you can experience more out of life. Never be afraid to try out new experiences. Since you only live once, don’t live your life with regrets. Push your comfort zone and try new things.
26. Accept suggestions from your employees
Employees are motivated and satisfied if they feel their ideas are considered, and their opinions are heard. Employee recognition improves engagement and develops a human culture that drives the well-being and happiness of employees. Employees are more likely to love their jobs if the leader cares about their well-being. Thus, a growth mindset will be acceptable to the ideas and suggestions from the employees and also implement them.
27. Practice the habit of “morning pages.”
A good way of incorporating a growth mindset is by practicing “Morning Pages,” wherein you begin your day with 2-3 pages of consciousness writing. It is a practice where the first thing that you do once you wake up in the morning is writing three letter-size pages. And yes, this has to be handwritten.
You can write about anything that comes to your mind- your worries, what makes you happy, your sorrows, your ideas, etc. This practice clears your mind of the distractive thoughts and channelizes the energy into creative and constructive thinking. It reduces anxiety and also helps you generate new ideas. This has a very powerful impact on your life, your behavior, your attitude, and helps you develop a growth mindset.
You could jot down your thoughts, views, opinions, ideas, etc. in a journal, either through Journey Cloud (e-journal) or a diary. This is meant for your reading and is a good way to manage depression and track your mood. You could also relive happy moments of your life through journaling!
28. Go beyond your limits
Always aim for going beyond the limits: take on new challenging tasks, be open to risks, work on your weaknesses, get out of your comfort zone, set challenging yet realistic goals, and have a never give up attitude. To reach your goals, and to ensure your business is a success, you must push yourself and your employees to work hard to achieve it.
29. Place effort above talent
Remember that hard work must always be rewarded before the inherent skill. If you focus on the determination and efforts of people, it helps them overcome obstacles in the future in a better way. This is important as people differ in terms of interests, initial talents, or temperament, but, they can adapt and grow through experience. This helps in creating a growth mindset that you begin to value efforts and hard work.
30. Ask the right questions
Whenever you ask better, new, or smart questions, you change your way of thinking. You also change as a person, and ultimately you change what you do. In simple words, if you ask a smart question, you will get a smart answer. Ask yourself why you are doing this and what is the purpose of setting up the business?
This simple question compels you to examine your impulses and makes you have a new perspective. Also, ask yourself, what is the goal of your business? The goal is the foundation on which your company stands and it gives you more clarity on the purpose of setting up the organization.
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In order to be successful in your business or start-up, it is essential to have or develop a growth mindset, which enables you to be fearless, take risks, have a never-give-up attitude, and take failures in your stride. You learn to take every failure, of your company or of other companies, as a learning experience and this simple change in your mindset can take your firm to great heights.
Aman Jha is a digital marketing author, speaker, and consultant. He is a sucker for fine words and blogs about digital marketing and startups.