Updated: Apr 11, 2022
The mindset for success
Let’s start with how this story ends: You can create, grow, and enhance a mindset for success.You may be overwhelmed with all the social media posts and blogs about success and people who succeed. If you dig behind the story and promotion, at the core to the success story is someone who had some talent, a goal, a belief they could achieve more, and a drive to realize success. That’s what made a difference. They didn’t see what was in their way; they gave all their energy, commitment, and dedication to hard work. They overcame failure, and yes there absolutely was failure and learning, on the path to success.
Two types of mindsets
We’ve all been in that meeting when someone’s response to a suggestion or a story is “we’ve done that before,” and then they go on to share all the reasons it didn’t work. The more expert the professional is, or expertise-driven their role is, the more likely they are to say something like that. You’ve just encountered the fixed mindset. The power of people is that we can choose our mindset.
My thinking was opened to the power mindset when I read an excerpt from an article by Dr. Carol Dweck. It began to change how I saw people’s personalities, and as a coach, how I could help people redefine their success.
Dr. Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, categorized two mindsets: fixed and growth. Her research focused on traditional psychology and the power of people’s beliefs. The power of mindset is very important foundation to my consulting work. The following graphic captures the attributes of mindsets that we exhibit personally and professionally. How does it apply to you, your approach to learning, and your effort to develop?
Why the growth mindset?
I spent years as an enterprise sales leader. I chalked up my success to optimism, broad shoulders, and thick skin, but now I see that it was mindset that saw me through my roles, career changes, pursuits, wins, losses and tough times. I can also say that the more expert I became, fixed mindset began to creep in.
In my posts, there is a recurrent theme of a fast-paced and changing world. What we know today and what works today will change, and cause a need for change within ourselves. Today’s business conditions drive evolutions in our work environment, in our roles, and in ourselves. I see the growth mindset as the basis to shape people, teams, and cultures for success. The growth mindset is the basis for a mindset of success.
Adapting and managing change around us takes the right mindset.
In my work with my clients, there are so many themes of positive potential to talk about, and yet a theme that permeates our conversations is limitations. Are they truly limitations or is it a mindset of limitations? Perceived limitations are a product of one’s beliefs, which can be heavily influenced by our upbringing, environment, and role models. Importantly, these beliefs can be changed, and that is the foundation of my work. What drives my coach consulting approach is that mindset is an integral part of change and growth. Mindset can highly influence realizing your goals.
What do you want to believe that you can change about yourself?
Embracing your growth mindset
What drives you: success or growth?
An important foundation of the growth mindset is that everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. How many times did we fall learning to walk and ride a bike? Embedding learning in our lives and career evolves over time and shows up differently in work environments. For professionals who work in environments that value experience or expertise, success is driven by what you know and rewards the fixed mindset.
I use a mindset diagnostic for people to assess how they see learning, success, and growth matter in themselves. The diagnostic gauges if you are:
Willing to work on goals with discipline
Seeing yourself as having more intelligence and learning
Willing to try new skills and tasks
Open to criticism
Willing to take risks and not be right
Supportive in helping and recognizing the success of others
The honest answer for myself is that I oscillate between a fixed and growth mindset. I can feel the difference when I show up and engage with my fixed mindset! The expert in me can fuel a fixed mindset. My coach consulting work injects my daily routine with a need and desire to embrace my growth mindset. For those that see a growth mindset as an important element for their success, I want to help them clearly see potential and define what could be possible for them.
“With the right mindset and the right teaching, people are capable of a lot more than we think”- Carol Dweck
Don’t protect yourself from failure. Failure is learning, and learning enables success.
When you participate in a meeting, put your fixed mindset on pause, patiently leave 30 seconds before you respond, and let the discussion flow with an “I don’t know the right answer” or “what can I learn” view. The expert in you can wait.
Do a scan of people you admire or see as role models. If you dig into their journey and how they’ve realized their greatest success, all will likely have a story of effort praised, hard work, continuous learning, and a growth mindset. They found their success in learning and improving, not just in winning.
The facts tell us our economies are struggling, competition has never been tougher, and technology is constantly changing. We are all wanting to keep up and be successful. There are times when change can start with ourselves. A mindset shift is one area of focus. I’d like to get people thinking less about intellect and talent and more about believing in effort and growth. We’ve got more potential to leverage and growth work to do.
You can create, grow, and enhance a mindset of success. Enjoy learning and developing new things!
Lisa W. Haydon is a business leader and entrepreneur with over 30 years of operational experience leading teams in banking, capital markets, technology and professional services. Lisa’s instinct for sorting through business complexities, understanding distinctive leader personalities, and realizing results compelled her to leave a corporate career and become an entrepreneur.
Her company, Pivotal Growth, introduced a technology tool for leadership development assessment and planning. The suite of tools offers diagnostic capabilities to synthesize and accelerate people performance.
Lisa’s skills and the Pivotal Growth product help companies enhance their performance and support leaders achieving greater confidence and success.