Published on July 03, 2023
| Workforce Development General Interest
When it comes to approaching challenges and achieving goals, the perspective of having a fixed mindset or a growth mindset can make all the difference. In life, the only certainty that we can count on, without fail, is change. Change is a natural part of life and a contributing factor to our own personal evolution.
As a young child, I was absolutely terrified of going on field trips. I distinctly remember one day being so nervous about leaving school and getting on a crowded bus just to go to a local farm and petting zoo for the day. I was stuck in my routine and comforted by what was familiar that I had a hard time understanding the fun educational experience I was lucky to be getting.
As an adult, I've found in the background of my brain a sort of buzzing resistance to change. I am upset when my favorite coworkers leave or a policy changes. I always assume that any change is going to be for the worse or that at some point the other shoe is going to drop. Through time and life experience between the farm field trip and my professional career, I've made conscious efforts to leave my fears at just that: a buzzing in the back of my brain and have come to accept that change is necessary. Change can be good. Change can be wonderful and transformative.
As a child my brain favored what was familiar and was resistant to anything that challenged the norm. Imagine getting a child to eat something like beef stroganoff as opposed to chicken tenders? I was afraid and unsure of a new experience, what it meant, and how it would go. My mindset was fixed on what was understood and could have limited what turned out to be a wonderful experience I had on this field trip. An experience I still remember to this day.
In today's world, people can find themselves stuck in a "fixed" mindset. They close themselves off from others, isolate themselves in their own processes, and become reliant on what is known and familiar. People with a fixed mindset:
1. See the world as "either/or" or operate in absolutes.
2. Think they are either good or not good at something.
3. Decide that there is no point if they are just going to fail anyway.
4. Feel they have always been told that they can't…
5. Know everything there is on a topic.
If we can overcome, with conscious effort, that buzzing of fixed mindset in the back of our minds, we can adopt a growth mindset which is a much more positive place to be. A growth mindset is the belief that "yes," you can develop and grow your skills over time. Yes, you can put in time and effort that will result in a win for you personally, professionally, or for your organization. Yes, you can adapt and evolve with change into something new and wonderful. People with a growth mindset:
1. Believe they CAN succeed if they try hard enough.
2. Are willing to make mistakes, accept them, and learn from them.
3. Think intelligence and ability CAN be developed and grown.
4. Accept change, go with the flow, see what happens, and adapt.
5. Ask questions: it's okay to not know everything.
So, when those alarm bells of change go off, when you're challenged, or when you feel you're dealing in absolutes, take a step back. Reflect. Consider the possibility that change can be good. By adopting a growth mindset, we can go with the flow and follow wherever the changes in life and our career may take us and make the most of it. Change can be hard, but it can become exactly what we make it out to be. Change is the one certain thing we can count on above all else, and utilizing a growth mindset can make all the difference.
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