How a Growth Mindset Can Boost Your Confidence and Career
We all know it. You set yourself a goal, work hard for it and, despite your best efforts, experience a setback. But it is precisely in such situations that the question arises; How do I handle this? The right mindset is essential here. We mainly speak of two types: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
The first question is to what extent the two mindsets differ. The American psychologist Carol Dweck has put forward an interesting thesis. She roughly defines the two approaches as follows:
- Innate talent and intelligence determine whether you can do something or not.
- You learn to get positive feedback and to please others.
- Mistakes and defeats are viewed as lack of talent and ability.
- You are convinced that you can develop skills further.
- You learn to understand things better through experiences.
- Mistakes are seen as an opportunity to learn from them and to try new things.
In order to gain insight about the kind of mindset that we act on, you have to ask yourself: What kind of mindset do I have? It is helpful to think about fairly recent situations that are still fresh in your memory. Was personal growth in the foreground, or did you act to please others? When a stressful situation or challenging task occurred – did you face it openly or did you try to avoid it? Addressing these kinds of questions can help you determine how you approach challenges and what is your default mindset that you operate with.
Changing your mindset is a process. These are small steps you can start with to help you cultivate a growth mindset and leave old patterns and limiting beliefs behind you:
Question your own mindset.
Are you standing in your own way with a restrictive (fixed) mindset? Reorient yourself, because the growth mindset can open doors for you and help you move forward. Having a growth mindset can be trained and strengthened through building awareness.
Be open to new ideas and challenges.
Take on new challenges and try to approach failure with a different attitude. Making mistakes is part of life, and so are setbacks. You’ve probably heard how many successful people failed before they were able to reach their goal. Sometimes setbacks are important and can help you refine your direction and make you more determined. Setbacks can become important stepping stones towards your goal, as long as you approach them in this way.
Be acutely aware of the voice in your head. Sometimes we are our worst critic and play negative scripts in our minds over and over again. It took a long time to identify with the negative thought patterns. It might take some time to rewrite the affirmations towards a growth mindset. It is possible to change the script through mindfulness and patience. Every time we become aware of a negative thought pattern, we can actively go through affirmations in our head that are empowering. It will not seem authentic in the beginning, but the more you actively change the story you tell yourself, the more you will start believing in your potential.
Write down positive messages.
Write down a few messages in line with the growth mindset, for example on post-it notes, and stick them somewhere where you can often see them. The more we repeat thoughts, the more likely we are to believe them. Write things like, “I can do xy if I work hard enough.” “Failure is only one step on the way to realizing my goals.”
Try to let go of any perfectionism that you would normally approach things with. There will always be something that can be improved. Rather than focusing on a specific end result, try to approach this mindset change as a practice. Focusing on the process will allow you to grow your confidence steadily. This confidence will transfer into all areas of your life.
Celebrate your achievements.
Not just the big ones, but also the small ones. You work your way forward step by step and you should acknowledge that. There will always be challenges, obstacles, but also a sense of achievement. Accept that and it will be easier to take on challenges with all the uncertainties.
Go your way at your own pace. Learn what works and what doesn’t for you. As long as you don’t stand still, you are heading towards success.
The right attitude is the cornerstone of a successful career and life. That is why it is important to find out what attitude you have, how you can change it, if necessary, and how you strengthen it and raise your awareness on a daily basis. Having a “growth mindset” will open many doors for you. We have to believe that with enough practice and perseverance, we can get better and better and achieve our goals. The good news is that the way we think can be changed. Our life can be different if we learn to look at it from the growth mindset perspective.
A fixed mindset makes us think that talent and intelligence are static. The growth mindset, on the other hand, means that we believe that we can continuously develop our skills if we only put enough effort into it. That is empowering.