This week I had an interesting realization. My business coach challenged me to do something a little different and bold in my business. Something that would get me in front of people, talking about the benefits of staying healthy during the holidays – and A LOT different from what I have been doing.
I loved the idea. I actually saw myself coming up with a creative copy for the program and getting people energized. I started visualizing what success would look like and how I am going to run the program.
After two days – I realized my progress started to sputter. I was still excited but what was happening? My engaged energy was all over the place. I decided to take a walk and ponder this for a couple minutes to clear my head and try to see what was going on. I found out why. Deep down I had disengaged from making the program happen. My mindset was: that is not me; I would never be able to pull that off in such a short time because I am not a networker.
Immediately, all other options were off the table, because my mindset believed that there was only one way to make this happen and I didn’t possess the networking savvy to pull it off. The interesting thing is that this took me asking myself five times why I wasn’t being very engaged in something I clearly am very excited about. But deep down, I already ‘knew’ what the outcome would be.
Our mindset – is really how we think of and view our potential and intelligence as well as those around us to manifest the things that we want in life.
Carol Dweck – author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – reveals that we have two types of mindsets: fixed and growth. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that their potential (abilities) and intelligence are limited and fixed. On the other hand, someone who has a growth mindset believes that potential and intelligence are all things that you can learn, practice, and become better at.
I was in a fixed mindset in thinking about my business program. I subconsciously believed that I could not pull off what we discussed. Because of that belief system, from the minute the idea was born I started to disengage from my success in making it happen.
Our mindset – and specifically – the intention behind the mindset drives what shows up in our careers and lives. So, if you believe that you are not an inspirational leader, then chances are you are going to start feeling ineffective, worry, self-doubt or simply not being enough and the resulting action is you playing very small in your role as a leader. You perhaps will not take much action and initiative with your colleagues because who is going to listen to you anyways? And so, you miss opportunities to be promoted, to build strong bonds with your team or even to get things done faster and more efficiently.
On other hand, a leader with a growth mindset, knows that he can practice and learn how to become an inspirational and influential leader. He is committed to doing whatever it takes to go after what he wants most. He also knows that even though he may be already influential and inspirational, there is always room for him to continue to grow.
You have probably realized by now that the fixed mindset limits you and prevents you from reaching the heights of your true potential. So, how do you overcome the fixed mindset? Here are steps to shifting your mindset to be more learning and growth-focused:
Shine some light on it. The fixed mindset thrives in the depths of your subconscious. There it has all the power and control in driving how you live your life. Simply noticing and being aware of this mindset does wonders. Think about whenever you are about to do something and you hesitate (for a moment or a couple of years), then chances are your fixed mindset is at play.
Name it. That’s right – give your fixed mindset a name. It’s one way to release the emotional charge that the mindset has on you. When it shows up, you can then call it out. I have decided to call my fixed mindset Perfectionist Nancy. You can even create or act out physical representations of your mindset to release it even more quickly. So, for example, if you had Loser Lacy, as a name you might want to vocalize what Loser Lacy sounds like when she is thrashing you. Then you see in black and white how ridiculous she sounds.
Focus on the process. Our fixed mindset is usually attached to something – a specific outcome or expectation. And usually, if it doesn’t see a way of meeting that attachment, then it probably won’t try at all. Instead, focus on the process in moving toward a goal or a task – things such as what you are learning, the actual experience of doing the task, how you can improve the process next time, and the emotions you are experiencing in the moment.
Let go of the idea of making a mistake or failing. Once we make a judgment that we can either make a mistake or fail, we immediately limit our potential and remain stuck in the fixed mindset. What if you approached your goals that whatever you do you cannot make a mistake? Instead, that you will continue to get data that allows you to learn, grow and tell you how you can move forward next?
Your belief system is extraordinary. Spend some time this week seeing how it might be working for or against you. If you determine that it is working against you, think about 2-3 concrete actions you are willing to take this week to shift it to one that works for you.