What do you believe about yourself?
Do you think of yourself as smart, hardworking, timid, lazy?
Well, the way you think about yourself -- your best or most significant characteristics -- doesn’t have to stay the way it is right now. In fact, you can change your negative perspectives, and find ways to grow beyond your current limitations.
It’s called a growth mindset, and it’s an outlook where you believe you can change. You can grow stronger in the areas you want to develop, and minimize your perceived failures or weaknesses.
And when it comes to your business, having a growth mindset is a huge advantage. It will help you develop new skills when you need them, overcome disappointments, and continue to encourage yourself and your team to pursue bigger goals.
Here’s how you can work on adopting a growth mindset in your life, and in your business.
Identify Your Current Mindset
Before you can adopt a growth mindset, you need to understand where you’re starting.
When you think about yourself, your history of successes and failures, how do you measure up? Do you tell yourself stories of frustration and insufficiency? Or do you cheer yourself on and find the positive in the midst of challenge?
How do you react to disappointment? Do you give up, or find a new approach?
These types of questions will help you identify if you already have a growth mindset (and just need to strengthen it!), or whether you’re languishing with a fixed mindset - the idea that nothing you can do will really change the outcome.
Uncover Your Weaknesses - and Build a Plan To Address Them
Now that you know where you’re starting, you can begin to move ahead. Identify your main weaknesses. When are you most likely to give up?
Does it happen when you feel embarrassed in front of partners or friends?
Sit down with one you trust, explain your feelings, and ask for feedback. It’s probable they’ve never felt that way, so why should you?
Maybe you get discouraged when you’re not meeting your immediate goals. Take a closer look at this to find out the real reason. Are you not making enough calls to meet a percentage of success? Are you avoiding reachouts to people you don’t know well? Have you actively looked for a way to meet new people in your community? Figure out an approach and an action you can take when you need a boost of energy.
These are just a few examples, but once you understand what’s really happening in your weak spots, you can work with your mentor to find a way to train some strength into that part of your life.
You’re Not Failing - You’re Learning
As Gina Showalter once said, “Giving up is the only sure way to fail.”
This is one of the most powerful shifts in mindset that sets achievers apart -- instead of looking at a failure as an end point or a disappointment, leaders see a way to learn something new.
What didn’t work? Why not? How could you have done something differently to find a successful outcome?
Can you try it again with that change, and see what happens?
Can you ask a mentor for feedback?
Can you ask a potential customer why they decided not to buy?
Every time you take a step in your business, whether you achieve your objective or not, you’re gathering valuable information. Choose to use it next time, and you may be surprised at what happens.
Who Are You Trying to Please?
Sometimes when we focus on our best and worst qualities and our perceived successes or failures, we aren’t just trying to please ourselves - we may be seeking approval from a romantic partner, a parent, or a business partner. This can be conscious or unconscious, but this need for approval can be a huge challenge for new entrepreneurs who feel like they aren’t meeting some perceived goalpost.
So we’ll say it to you straight -- the only person whose approval you need is you.
It’s important to listen to the feedback from our friends and loved ones - but who makes the final call on what’s most important, and when you’ve succeeded? You do.
Letting go of a need for approval from others may help you start to depend on your growth mindset even more firmly -- and to avoid the perception that you can’t change.
Revisit Your Why
Is your why to start covering your electric bill, or to save enough for your child’s college fund? Is it small, or is it a giant dream? (It can be both, by the way.)
Your why is ultimately what keeps you on track. When you’re having a tough day, week, or month, or when you start to doubt yourself and your capacity to build your business to the level you want, revisiting your why can give you fresh motivation.
Feed Your Determination, Starve Your Critic
What are you taking in?
We’re not talking about calories, green smoothies, or pumpkin spice lattes.
We want to know - what’s your diet of inspiration and education?
Are you following leaders, friends, and businessowners who are demonstrating grit, focus, commitment, and generosity?
Or do you surround yourself (literally or virtually) with people who are uncertain, apologetic, or critical?
What you take in will directly feed what you put out, so feed yourself a diet of motivation and encouragement.
Reflect, Then Refocus
Without time to reflect on what we’ve done and where we began, we’ll never be able to truly understand how far we’ve come.
A regular reflection time is critical for your business. It doesn’t have to be every day, or every week, but at least once a month set aside some time to look at your progress and what’s working - and not working - in your business.
Once you’ve got a summary and some high and low notes, you can refocus on your upcoming goals and lay out what you need to achieve in the next month to meet them.
This is also a great time to review your goals and whether they still fit. Sometimes we make more progress than we expect; other times life interrupts in a way we couldn’t anticipate.
Setting annual goals can be motivating - but it’s also important to set short and mid-term goals, and to revisit them often. Your growth mindset will be encouraged by an always changing measure of success, and goals that grow as you do.
How do YOU cultivate a growth mindset? What's the hardest, or easiest, part of this critical business skill?