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Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Rachel Howard Chief Cultural Officer
Reading: Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Being part of a growing organization will always have its challenges, no matter if your organization’s offerings are pretty complex or completely straightforward. Companies with products or offerings that are more straightforward can often grow successfully without necessarily having an open mind or a mindset geared toward change. On the other hand, companies like LeadingAgile that are constantly expanding both their team and offerings as well as constantly innovating how to do better for clients who are solving complex business problems themselves—these companies have to be able to thrive in near-constant states of change and evolution. 

But not everyone is at their best in this kind of company. It takes a certain type of person to thrive in an environment that is constantly evolving, because that evolution will always have a certain level of risk and ambiguity. This kind of person not only embraces change, but likes change. They thrive in challenging situations and know that the only way to continue to grow as a human being is to be constantly challenged. This is where the Growth Mindset comes in.  

Growth Mindset – The Power of Yet

You may have heard of the concept of the Growth Mindset, and you may have even read Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset. But do you actually believe that anything is possible and your intelligence and abilities are not fixed? Do you look at a situation that seems impossible and say this can’t be done, or do you look at it and say I don’t know how to solve this problem – yet

At LeadingAgile we need our employees to embrace the concept of “yet” so that we can continue to grow and innovate. We also need people who are going to look at the seemingly impossible or really hard tasks and want to jump in and figure it out, those that draw energy from this and love the challenge. The power of yet gives you a lot of power. It gives your brain permission to try. People who employ a growth mindset solve problems quicker and learn new skills easier and faster because they believe they can, and they work harder to achieve their goals. 

Having a Growth Mindset frees you worrying about what others think and from suffering from what many of us do…the dreaded imposter syndrome. People with a Growth Mindset value the journey towards solving a problem or learning a new skill, so they don’t get disappointed if they don’t succeed immediately, they know that every setback is a learning experience and that there are valuable lessons to take from it. They look at the situation and think, “How can I use this for growth?”

Upgrading Your Mindset 

Mindsets are a very important part of our personality, but luckily they are absolutely changeable. The Growth Mindset is a belief that abilities can be cultivated.

So what if you don’t already have this mindset, yet you’d like to. How do you learn to cultivate it? It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen right away, but here are some things that you can start doing so that you can begin to rewire your neural pathways into believing that your abilities are limitless:

Seek out avenues of learning. Apprenticeships, shadowing, and mentorships are excellent for this.

Discover the power of yet. Pay attention to how you think about challenges and obstacles. Start noticing when you can turn an “I don’t know,” into an “I don’t know…yet.” 

Praise yet! Praise progress and effort. Yet gives a path to the future that praises persistence. This leads to change every time you push out of your comfort zone your brain’s neurons form new and stronger connections. 

Set goals. You need to have things that you are working towards. 

Find purpose. If you feel there is purpose and meaning to your goals and are passionate about what you do or things that you want to learn, you will be more likely to work harder at achieving your goals!

Continuously challenge yourself. Do not let yourself be stagnant.  

Be resilient. This is hard work and you are going to have “failures” in life. The trick is not to view them as failures and to say, “I didn’t achieve this yet, but I am going to keep going!”

Take criticism as a gift. People with a growth mindset are open to feedback and accurate information about themselves. If you are open to learning and development, you receive feedback differently because you want to grow, but you also don’t let it define you. 

Transform the way you think. Pay attention to your words, they have power. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Replace judgement with perspective and compassion. When you are focused on making these changes, you can catch yourself and change your frame. Look at effort and difficulty differently. When things are hard and you put the effort in, your brain grows stronger and you get smarter.

Be authentic. Pretending to be something else disrespects who you are. We are all unique with our natural talents and gifts. Embrace them and who you are. 

Stop seeking approval from others. Cultivate acceptance of yourself. Only you need to impress you.

Emphasis on teamwork vs. I, reward teamwork vs. individual genius. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. Learn from those around you and be proud of the success you can have with your team. 

Be open to opportunities. Hard work and effort are just part of the process. The learning is in the journey. View it as an adventure because fear is natural, so embrace it.

Be realistic. Progress takes time. 

Many of us naturally have Growth Mindsets, but anyone can cultivate one or improve on what’s already there. The hand you are dealt is merely a starting point. Even wanting to cultivate more of a Growth Mindset is taking a first step in the process. People with a fixed mindset shy away from challenges and opportunities because they are afraid of being embarrassed. People with a growth mindset suspend that embarrassment because they know that win or lose, it’s the trying that matters. So, with all of this in mind, I invite you to take the first steps toward becoming more growth-minded. 

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