Fritz Seyferth is a great friend of mine and a wonderful executive coach and counselor. He promotes Growth Mindset as the first requirement of great leadership.
I recently read a short article by Andrew Cole titled “Adopting a Growth Mindset” on Linkedin.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
Andrew talks of a Growth Mindset with a quote: “Failure is an opportunity to grow,” and a Fixed Mindset as “Failure is the limit of my abilities.” I think these are excellent summaries of each mindset.
Andrew also does a great job of using short statements to help you understand each mindset type.
- I can learn to do anything I want
- Challenges help me to grow
- My effort and attitude determine my abilities
- Feedback is constructive
- I am inspired by the success of others
- I like to try new things
Before I list the points of a Fixed Mindset, review each one of these in a silent moment of reflection. Do you fully believe one, some, or all of them? Are there elements of each that you don’t believe you possess or could accomplish?
Think about them for a minute. Think about them over time. Write down your thoughts and answers. (There’s something about writing that solidifies ideas and brings your thoughts to life).
Can you really learn anything you want? As I thought about that one I felt there were things I couldn’t learn. As I thought about them more, I began to realize they were things I didn’t want to learn. Why not?
- Was I afraid I couldn’t learn them?
- Did I really see no use for them in my life?
- If I was able to learn them, would that enhance my life or open new doors for me?
As I began to think about the answers to these questions, I realized that I had to be very clear about what I did want to learn in my life and why. Where was I headed? Was I stuck? How would I rate my happiness level? Am I spending my time working on things that are meaningful to me now or will be in the future? All of that from examining one simple statement. That’s what a Growth Mindset can do for you.
- I’m either good at it or I’m not
- My abilities are unchanging
- I don’t like to be challenged
- I can either do it or I can’t
- My potential is predetermined
- When I’m frustrated I give up
- Feedback and criticism are personal
- I stick to what I know
It was fascinating that as I wrote each one of these statements the name of another person came to mind. I could quickly and easily see the Fixed Mindset attributes in others. As with many things, it’s easy to see things in others and difficult to see them in ourselves.
But don’t just skip over these Fixed Mindset Attributes. Just like the Growth Mindset, examine yourself. It’s likely you’ll learn more than you did when you questioned the Growth Mindset attributes.
Learning About Yourself
One of the statements that Andrew Cole makes in his article says,
In adopting a growth mindset, my worries about my perceived intelligence or abilities have dramatically dissipated. I no longer value my ‘self-validation’ in the world.
I’ve realized how to ask better questions. Questions framed to generate conversation as a means of establishing trust with others. (italics are mine)
The subtitle on Fritz’s home page says
FS/A elevates leaders and connects individuals and teams to their purpose to positively alter the trajectory of organizations.
Do you have a growth mindset? Do you need a growth mindset? Only if you want to be happy. 😉