Introducing The Growth Mindset. Game Changer!

I’m a fan of audible. Books on tape (or rather, digital books, same idea!)

While driving, running, or pottering around the house cooking, doing laundry, tending to the dust bunnies, it’s an amazing way to ‘read.’ 

If you haven’t heard about it, or ever tried it, I highly recommend it! 

My most recent download – and it’s HIGH time as it’s been recommended to me numerous times, and been sitting on my Wishlist for a while now! – is Carol Dweck’s Mindset. 

Although I’ve come across her work numerous times in my research, it’s explained so much more powerfully in this book. And I’m only halfway through!

I have a feeling it just may be a game changer for me.

And it may be for you, too.

In fact, I’m definitely choosing to adopt what she calls the growth mindset (more to come on that – read on!) to the talk I’m delivering tomorrow. 

You see, by the time you read this blog, I’ll likely be boarding or already in the air on board another flight, this time to Calgary. 

I have the honour and privilege of speaking to the Calgary chapter of CAPS – the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. 

Now I mean it when I say it’s an honour and a privilege… AND, it’s also going to be pretty freakin’ scary speaking in front of fellow speakers!

Luckily all CAPS members are lovely and supportive. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a tad bit of pressure speaking vulnerably in front of my peers.

So of course I want to give a kick-ass presentation, and deliver a ton of value. And, instead of looking at it as a potential success or a potential failure, I’m choosing to look at it as an experience, and a learning one at that. 

The premise of Carol Dweck’s work and this book Mindset, is centred around the idea there are only two mindsets out there:

  1. Fixed Mindset
  2. Growth Mindset

A person with the Fixed Mindset believes the skills, talents, and abilities they have today are the same they will have tomorrow, and cannot be changed or improved upon. 

A person with the Growth Mindset, on the other hand, believe the skills, talents, and abilities they have today by no means determine what they can turn into tomorrow, and can absolutely be improved upon. 

Those who hold a fixed mindset are often afraid to try new things, in case they don’t display innate talent. They are afraid to look bad, to get it wrong, to fail. 

Those who hold a growth mindset love trying new things, look at it as a learning opportunity, and welcome a challenge. They are not afraid of failure, as they see it as a necessary step on the road to success. 

As much as it pains me to admit, as I read (or listen!) to this book, there are areas of my life in which I can relate to having more of a fixed mindset than a growth mindset.

And I’m realising it’s got to stop!

In full transparency, 

I like to know I’m going to be good at something.

I enjoy positive feedback when I’m good at something. 

And I tend to be more hesitant to try something if I’m not sure how it’s going to go (except when it comes to cooking…  I never know how it’s going to go, and I’ve given up any and all expectations to ever create something à la Julia Childs!)

You’ve heard me speak about ‘Confidence Killerspreviously ~ and how perfectionism is right up there. Well, people who have more of a fixed mindset tend to be perfectionists… they want things to be perfect right out of the gates. And yet that is near impossible – especially if you are doing something for the first time!

And unfortunately perfectionism is what prevents far too many women from speaking up and standing out more powerfully, starting the thing they really want to start, bringing their big dreams into reality. 

What’s more, far too many women take pride in being perfectionists! 

And yet what I’m finding so fascinating in Dweck’s book is the vast research that exists proving those with a growth mindset, who are anything but perfectionists, get further, and faster, than their counterparts.

People who demonstrate the growth mindset love the personal challenge of the thing, are willing to put in the work, don’t rely on their natural talents, and don’t judge their performance or abilities based on grades, feedback or external validation. 

Sounds pretty freeing, right?

And the good news is, it’s available to ALL of us. 

We’re very quick to look at the ‘Greats’ – whether it be the incredible athletes, scientists, or business moguls of our time and assume they were born with it. Well, 9 times out of 10 they were not!

Success doesn’t necessarily come to the folks who are born with some incredible talent. It comes to the ones who simply STICK TO IT. 

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. His mother encouraged him to keep practicing. And so he did. Every morning ridiculously early before school. For YEARS. And so it continued long after he became the basketball star he was and still is.

Thomas Edison experienced thousands of ‘failed’ attempts when trying to invent the lightbulb. And yet when his friend and confidant asked “Isn’t it a shame with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven’t been able to get any results?” He replied with a smile “Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work!” He never saw his attempts as failures at all!

The famous ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ book series full of inspiration stories was rejected by 144 publishers before it was picked up. And Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times, and J. K. Rowling was told “not to quit her day job.”

If any of the above were you, would you have kept going? To be honest, I’m not so sure that I would have!

The moral of the story here folks, is that ‘failure’ is a part of the process. Persistence, perseverance and consistent hard work pay off, and so long as you’re growing, you’re winning. 

So, I’m going to go into my presentation eager to give it my all, but without wanting it to be a success, nor afraid it will be a flop! 

I’m going to be eager to learn from the experience. I’m choosing to look at the experience as the win, and moreover a great opportunity for growth. 

Can you recognise areas in your life where you perhaps hold the fixed mindset, and would benefit from adopting a growth mindset instead?

It’s scary to put yourself out there and not know how it’s going to go. 

I get it. Trust me. 

But the alternative is you never try, avoiding the potential of ‘failure’ at all costs, only to still fail simply for lack of trying!

And then there’s the potential of regret. And no one wants to make it to the end of their life full of regret. 

You’re better than that. You deserve more than that. Your ideas are worth more than that. 

So, it’s time to get your brave on, and get your growth mindset on!

(And if you’re not quite ready yet, perhaps your first step is to look into audible and Dweck’s amazing book Mindset!)

Try the growth mindset on for size this week, and then let me know how it goes! I want to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol 

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Carol Schulte

Carol is a published author, has been featured in numerous magazines and podcasts, and is a returning guest expert on Rogers TV. Having lived and worked in 16 countries including Ashrams in India and vans in New Zealand, rocked dreadlocks in Thailand and shaved her head for breast cancer, she certainly walks her talk and brings a global perspective to all she does. When she’s not traveling or speaking on stage, you can find her volunteering as a bereavement facilitator, training for her next triathlon, or practicing her serious carpool karaoke game.

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