Chief Vision Officer and Founder of Keystone Group International.
As a business leader, your mindset is now more important than ever. You can find many gurus ready to teach you about positive mindset, and studies show that a positive mindset can improve your quality of life. But having a positive mindset is not enough to create success for you or your business. The real difference is that you know when you’re making judgments and decisions from a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset.
As the business environment continues to evolve at a rapid pace, many of us as leaders and companies fail to realize that we make decisions from a fixed mindset perspective. It’s one of the reasons many of us struggle to get clarity and move forward – we don’t realize that our mindset is the block.
A fixed mindset stems from the belief that if we have the smartest people, or if we are smart, we should already know the answers and be able to solve any problem that comes our way. But even when you read that, your brain should respond with, “That’s impossible.” No one can fathom it all; no one knows all the right answers, no matter how smart they are.
This is an important reason why leaders and employees struggle in our organizations: because we all feel we need to have all the answers instead of being curious, collaborative and vulnerable. We struggle to admit that we don’t know something or that we need the help of others to find a solution. Fixed mindsets tempt us to believe that we have already acquired the knowledge we need and that we must apply it at any time.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, understands that what you know has gotten you to this point, but may not get you to the next level of success. It creates a sense of resilience when something doesn’t go as planned: that product launch or a new customer program. When we have a growth mindset, we ask a lot of questions for clarity, reach out to others to get their perspective, and look for ways to learn and grow more. We’re not ashamed that the answer isn’t clear to us – we get curious about what the right next step might be.
So, what mindset do you operate in? Maybe you have a fixed mindset without realizing it. Here are some tips to help you move into a growth mindset, even in a difficult situation.
1. Find the confidence.
Sometimes you have to dig deep to find a shred of confidence in a difficult situation. But you know you have a growth mindset if, when faced with a challenge or setback, you decide to believe you will get through it. It may go as planned or it may be difficult, but your immediate response should be to seek the solution.
2. Take action.
If you’re stuck with a problem or working on something that wasn’t planned, the first thing to do is find a small action you can take. Just taking that action puts you in a growth mindset: you choose to take a step forward rather than remain paralyzed in the same place. When you take the action, no matter how small, your brain responds with more options. And if you have options, you’re more likely to find the answer.
3. Ask questions.
Any time you feel stuck or overwhelmed by a situation, asking questions helps you stay in a growth mindset. What do I arrange? What can I do now? Who can help me figure this out? These are all growth mindset questions. You are not limited by what you know today, and you have the ability to learn and grow in a difficult situation.
While there are days when it is difficult to maintain a growth mindset, it is not impossible. And none of us always operate from a growth mindset. The trick is to recognize when you show up with a fixed mindset and make a conscious decision to change. A fixed mindset is just a fixed point in time, not a place to stay. Growth doesn’t come from comfort – it comes from resistance.