I have many business-savvy networkers and one of them, Jane Hirst, develops a company’s potential by writing and facilitating workshops to meet customers’ specific needs.
She has introduced me to two important things, one is a word and the other a person.
The word is: yet (of which more later)
The second is the work of Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading researchers in personality, social psychology and development psychology. Her studies at Stanford University on what enables people to achieve and become successful has created the phrase ‘fixed and growth’ mindsets. Working from the premise that expectations of our capability change our neurology she says people who work from a fixed mindset perspective lose interest as soon as effort is required. They think:
- Managers are born
- They’ll be laughed at if they fail
- Avoid feedback and/or take it personally
- Feel threatened by other people or their success
When we focus on what we can do, rather than what we can’t, it starts to open up so many more opportunities for us. A growth mindset helps us become more successful and you will recognise it from some of the language below:
- I want to challenge myself
- When I fail, I learn
- Tell me and I try hard
- If you succeed, I’m inspired
- My effort and attitude determine everything
- I can learn anything I want to
When we work from a growth mindset, we understand that success equals 99% hard work. It’s about putting the effort and energy into a task to make it work. Champion sports people put in training daily, weekly and monthly to make it happen. The same with inventors, they didn’t give up at the first hurdle, they continued learning from the previous prototype. (WD40 was so named because it was the 40th try.)
With the Carol Dweck philosophy, we need to stretch goals, rather than ones we can easily achieve it. As someone giving and receiving praise, we should do it based on effort and choosing the challenge rather than for being a genius! Let’s learn from when something goes wrong and move on rather than dwell on it. And if we receive poor feedback recognise it may not be not about us in general but about the project and then ask how we can improve it for next time.
Whether we’re doing it for ourselves or others, working from a growth mindset creates so many additional benefits such as making us more resilient, getting us to think differently, making us challenge the way we do things and helping us to improve our intelligence.
The next time you hear yourself saying that you can’t do something, change the ending by adding ‘yet’.
This small word will open many more opportunities for you and just adding those three letters, they will give you a sense of optimism and help you.