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Why A Growth Mindset Helps You Stand Out And Accelerate Your Career

Why A Growth Mindset Helps You Stand Out And Accelerate Your Career

How do you react when you’re tasked with a new project at work? Do you jump at the chance, eager to get stuck in, or do you pull back and feel the nagging self-doubt creep in?

Your mindset is more transparent to others than you might think: your words and actions betray your innermost thoughts. If you want to accelerate your career and encourage people to trust you, you need to develop a growth mindset (which enables you to thrive on challenge and see failure as a learning opportunity to develop your abilities).

However, if you find yourself slipping into negativity or self-doubt, you’re not alone; American psychologist Carol Dweck* tells us that 90 per cent of people have a “fixed mindset” (where they believe that they are as they are and there’s no room for change), with the remaining 10 per cent of people committed to growth and adopting a can-do attitude.

The good news is that you have the potential to develop (or further develop) a growth mindset and accelerate your career, even if that feels like fantasyland right now.

In this blog, we’re going to cover the basics of what it means to have a winning mindset, and why it matters. We’ll dive into this more deeply in next week’s blog where we’ll share a winning formula that you can use in your day-to-day life to help progress your career.

Where’s your mindset at right now?

A great way to assess your mindset is to pay attention to your self-talk. Is your language or tone defeatist? Do you focus on what could go wrong? Or do you use empowering language and remind yourself that even if the best laid plans hit the wall, you’ll find a way to navigate the challenges?

As a child, I used to love reading The Little Engine That Could** by author Watty Piper, an inspiring book about a female train who is tasked with transporting food and toys over a big mountain. As the little blue train makes her ascent, she repeats to herself (imagine the rhythm of the train), “I think I can! I think I can!” The little train adopted a growth mindset and achieved her mission.

Is a growth mindset a silver bullet?

Let’s be clear that simply adopting a positive mindset without taking the action to back it up is pointless, but it helps you stay motivated and build momentum.

As you develop awareness of your self-talk, you may also notice that you have a winning mindset in certain contexts such as finance (for example you might say, “I’m a whizz at spreadsheets”), but you have a fixed mindset in other areas such as cooking (you might say “I’m a terrible cook just like my mother” without making any attempt to improve your culinary skills). 

What matters more than where your mindset is at right now, is what you’re willing to do about it. Adopting a more positive approach can help you climb the career wall and build trust with your peers and senior managers (see our earlier blogs on why trust is important: This Equation Will Help You Build Trust And Progress Your Career and Why Adding This Element To Help Build Trust Works Wonders).

Often we doubt ourselves with good reason, because we know that we have a gap in our knowledge in a certain area; a growth mindset will see this gap as ripe for development rather than as a weakness (which is the fixed mindset attitude).

Be more curious

Over the next seven days, start to become more curious about your self-talk, the vocabulary you are using when you talk to other people, and notice the projects that you feel confident about, and those that make you feel fearful. When you do this, you’ll have a good foundation for developing a growth mindset with which you can accelerate your life, your career and your success – and remember that that puts you ahead of 90 per cent of the other people around you!

Did you already have an “aha” moment while reading this blog? If so, you’re going to love next week’s instalment! In the meantime, get in touch with us at Elevate Talent if you know you’re ready to take your career to the next level and want to know how best we can support you.

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* Carol Dweck

** The Little Engine That Could by author Watty Piper