How to cultivate a growth mindset
“If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” It’s a famous phrase from Tony Robbins – because it’s true. Growth is one of the 6 human needs, and it’s just as vital as significance and love.
High-achieving athletes, top entrepreneurs and successful artists certainly take this to heart. True champions are always looking for ways to be better, push harder and reach even higher. But you don’t have to be Serena Williams to live your life with a growth mindset. Cultivating growth in your life is actually a series of small steps that lead to big results.
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What is a growth mindset?
People with a growth mindset believe they can improve their skills and knowledge. A growth mindset means you enjoy taking on new challenges. You’re willing to put in the work to gain new abilities or increase your intelligence. If you have a growth mindset, you believe that you can change your story. You believe it when Tony says, “We can change our lives. We can do, have and be exactly what we wish.”
A fixed mindset is the belief that people are born with innate traits or abilities. People with a fixed mindset don’t believe they can improve themselves very much. They don’t enjoy challenges, because failure makes them feel unintelligent or inadequate. Research shows they also tend to achieve less, because they don’t put in the work to learn new things – and they worry about failing in front of others.
Company cultures can also have growth or fixed mindsets. Growth mindset examples in business include hiring from within, placing importance on passion and potential, investing in professional development and encouraging risk taking. Fixed-mindset company cultures depend on pedigree during their hiring process, hire outsiders more often and depend on a few “star” employees rather than welcoming all contributions. Research has shown that growth-mindset companies have happier employees and more innovative cultures.
The growth mindset leads to self-improvement, business innovation and more. And the best thing about it is that it can be developed in both individuals and organizations.
How can I develop a growth mindset?
Now that we’ve answered the question “What is a growth mindset?” you should be able to identify which type of mindset you have. If you think you may have more of a fixed mindset, don’t worry. Keep in mind Tony’s 2-millimeter rule – the smallest changes can yield the biggest results. A shift of only 2 millimeters can be the difference between creating the life you deserve and achieving your goals or letting life pass you by. Try these growth mindset activities:
Change your self-talk
Changing your words can change your life. Get rid of negative words like “can’t” and add growth-minded words like “yet.” “I can’t give good presentations” becomes “I haven’t learned presentation skills – yet.” “I can’t improve my golf handicap any more” becomes “I haven’t reached my golf goals – yet.” You’ll soon see possibilities instead of obstacles.
The more you see yourself achieving your goals, the more confident you’ll be – and the more you’ll attain them. Visualizing your goals creates a positive, self-reinforcing cycle that leads to growth.
Overcome fear of failure
No one likes to fail, but it’s a part of life, especially for high achievers. Creating a growth mindset doesn’t mean that you never fail. It means that you treat failure as a stepping stone to greater things. Speaking up even when you are unsure, asking questions and volunteering ideas are excellent growth mindset examples – and all involve overcoming your fear of failure.
Tackle new challenges
The best way to get into a growth mindset is to, well, just do it. At work, take on tasks you’ve never done before. Accept criticism and use it to make you better. Take 20 minutes each day to work on a new skill – and work on it every day, no matter how successful you are at first. The more you take action, the easier it will get.
How can I encourage a growth mindset in the workplace?
Within an organization, there are plenty of ways you can develop and encourage a growth mindset. The 2-millimeter rule applies here as well. Small changes to policies and company culture can create big strides toward greater innovation and employee satisfaction. These adjustments can include:
Updating your hiring criteria
Growth mindset activities are especially important in hiring. Look for high-potential candidates over those with impressive credentials. Questions about how candidates deal with change, what motivates them and how they collaborate and problem-solve will help you find those with untapped potential.
Investing in your employees
Potential needs to be developed, and that takes time and money. Give your employees the resources they need to thrive, and set an expectation that learning is part of the job. You’ll be rewarded with loyal employees – and new ideas.
Fear of failure can keep a growth mindset from ever taking hold. Make sure your employees know that all ideas are welcome and that failure won’t be punished – as long as it is learned from.
In any field and at any level, in both personal and professional areas, you’ll find that the highest achievers have a growth mindset. They have a hunger to learn, improve and achieve that comes from a deep belief that they can do anything they put their minds to. You can develop this mindset – and when you do, the whole world will open up to you.