Developing your Growth Mindset Strategy – the Cornerstone of Personal Success

Catherine Seton


Developing growth | OnTalent

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed no hope at all.” (Dale Carnegie)

This is just one of a myriad of quotes about the benefits of perseverance, resilience and having a positive attitude. Successful people across the centuries have espoused similar sentiments, but now we know the science behind why it works. And it’s all to do with growth mindset.

Last month at OnTalent I delivered a 4-part series on building confidence. Our Fast Track Your Confidence series brought together a number of people from a variety of backgrounds, industries and experiences. Some were wanting to build their confidence, some were just wanting a “top-up” and others were looking at introducing confidence-building to develop their teams.

The first workshop was on building a growth mindset – this was the cornerstone of the series. It’s a workshop I’ve delivered numerous times before, and the more I delve into growth mindset and how it can be applied, the more I truly feel that this is the cornerstone of success in general – it’s not just about confidence.

So what does it mean to have a growth mindset? According to growth mindset guru, Professor Carol Dweck, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” ( Dweck, 2015). Essentially, people with growth mindsets open their minds to possibilities and explore new things. They embrace change, accept responsibility and even when the going gets tough, they overcome obstacles and forge ahead regardless. People with a fixed mindset stay within their comfort zones, lay blame, resist change and are less likely to take risks, including those that may lead them to better things (e.g. going for a promotion or new role).

While the term “growth mindset” is relatively recent, I can’t help but be reminded of my family motto “Hazard yet forward” – even the Scottish clans from the middle ages (when this motto was first documented) knew the benefits of pushing ahead. In fact, when you think about it, having a growth mindset is not only uniquely human, it has also contributed to our psychological evolvement and ability to adapt to change over millennia. It’s not rocket science to understand what would have happened to the human species if we hadn’t continuously learned new things or bounced back from adversity!

Fast forward to the present day and the workplace. Given the pace of change in the world at the moment, many people are overwhelmed with change fatigue, burnout, competing priorities and changing goalposts. Our ability to stay resilient is being tested on a daily basis. Thus, having a growth mindset is critical not only to get you through the day, but also so you can keep up with current and emerging trends in the market and workplace. The truth is, most of us have both fixed and growth mindset traits and it’s how and why we swing from one mindset to the other that is important for us to understand. This is where developing your individual growth mindset strategy, which you proactively practice on a daily basis, is handy. Not only for your mental health and happiness, but also for your career success.

So, how do we create our own growth mindset strategy?

1. Understand your current mindset

  • Reflect on and get to know your fixed and growth mindset thoughts.  Write them down in two separate columns.  
  • Understand your ‘triggers’.  When was the last time you thought “I can’t”, ignored feedback, were self-critical, resented the success of others, were judgemental or avoided a challenge?  Are there any themes or times when you are more likely to succumb to fixed mindset thinking v’s growth mindset thinking e.g. when stressed or anxious, tired, or when you are in certain situations or with certain people?  What about when you are in a growth mindset frame of mind?

2. Plan to make a change

  • Reprogram your reticular activating system and watch your self-talk.  Focus on growth mindset thoughts and don’t ruminate on negatives.
  • Reframe your thoughts.  Understand your triggers, acknowledge your feelings, then choose to look for the opportunities.
  • Change your habits.  Think about and list your fixed mindset habits (what you think and what you do).  For every fixed mindset habit, write a growth mindset habit against it that you will focus on instead.

3. Enact your plan

  • Nip your triggers in the bud.  When you know what is likely to propel your thoughts into a fixed mindset state, you can prepare beforehand in order to mitigate the impact and keep you on track. E.g. if you know you’re less resilient when you’re tired, ensure you prioritise your growth mindset activities for the morning when you’re fresh, get enough sleep and minimise the other triggers as best you can.
  • Change one habit at a time – this will take time but it’s important not to lapse permanently back into old habits.  It takes, on average, 66 days of hard work to change habits so hang in there!  Having your plan written down will help with this.
  • Focus on your plan every day.  Keep it top of mind and push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Creating a growth mindset is like exercising your brain.  At first it will hurt, but the more you push through, the easier it will become and your resolve will become stronger.

Set yourself up for success for 2022 and spend a few hours over your well-deserved  break to develop your growth mindset strategy.  You’ll feel better for it, you’ll change the way you see the world around you, and you’ll thank yourself for it! 

Here’s what some of our recent Fast Track Your Confidence participants had to say:

  • Just wanted to let you know that both my managers who attended this webinar series said it was really valuable. Thanks very much for putting together a quality session. 
  • Just wanted to thank you for the Fastracking your Confidence series.  I took a lot away from the sessions and really enjoyed your relaxed and easy manner.  Thank you!
  • I was able to match the feelings and experiences I’ve struggled with with a lot of the content that was presented, so it was good to be able to understand that it’s a ‘thing’ and there are ways to address it and move forward.  Thank you.
  • Great presenter, very helpful videos and tips.
  • Really enjoyed the session, looking forward to the next one.  Thank you 

Catherine Seton is a Leadership Strategist and Executive Coach, who thrives on optimising organisational performance and culture through prioritising the growth of great leaders and executive teams as the foundation of organisational success.  Call Catherine on +61 411 289 257.

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