Issue #11: Growth vs Fixed: Why You Should Develop a Growth MindsetJul 07, 2022
In the past decade or so we have seen the complete elimination of brands that were household names: Toys R Us, Sports Authority, Blockbuster Video, Lord & Taylor. These brands relied too much on past successes – doing things the way they had always been done. Reputation alone is not enough. Great products are not enough. The overarching fault was an operational fixed mindset.
Bold Statement Alert: It is impossible to be a successful entrepreneur or business leader without having a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset keeps you ahead of market shifts and enables you to pivot during unforeseen shifts such as a global pandemic. A growth mindset is a differentiator and a game changer. However, most of us are not born with it.
A Fixed Mindset vs. A Growth Mindset
Your mindset has a significant effect on your overall motivation, resilience, and success. What does it mean to have a fixed mindset? As indicated by the term “fixed”, someone with a fixed mindset believes that talent, intelligence and even solutions are finite or limited. This mindset stifles potential for new learning and growth because mentally there is a roadblock beyond which nothing exists. Sometimes the best way to identify someone with a fixed mindset is by how they respond to challenges and change. Are new challenges unsolvable puzzles? Is change avoided because it differs from the way things have historically been done? A person with a fixed mindset says “Failure is not an option” and their actions are driven by fear of the appearance of failure.
In contrast, a growth mindset believes that intelligence and abilities are not limited to what one is born with. What is not innate can be learned and developed upon. Someone with a growth mindset is not intimidated by challenges and has the ability to learn from their mistakes. They envision solutions not previously explored. An example of this would be a restaurant owner who when faced with the option of shuttering their doors due to a business slowdown instead begins to offer new menu items and delivery service, thus enabling them to thrive in a changing marketplace. A person with a growth mindset says “Fail forward” and sees mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities. They see great potential beyond the roadblock.
The Benefits of a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset magnifies solutions and options for an entrepreneur. It enables you to pivot, whether that is taking your business in a new direction because of economic challenges or changing your business model altogether when the products and services you offer no longer align with market demand.
Entrepreneurship requires resilience and having the ability to learn from hardships and see through to potential solutions is part of having a growth mindset. Those who have developed a growth mindset are able to keep moving forward despite the challenges, setbacks and perceived failures.
One of the lesser recognized benefits of a growth mindset is that it keeps you humble. You don’t believe that you know all there is to know about a topic or an area of business. There will always be more to learn and skills that can be improved upon. More growth is always possible.
How Can You Mentally Shift from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset
Step One: Get your head out of the sand. The way things have always been done is no longer cutting it. We are indeed living in historical times and moving away from having a fixed mindset will go a long way towards gaining success and personal fulfillment. In other words, the first step is altering your perspective from one that is limited based on the past to one that is positive and future focused on the wealth of possibilities open to you.
Step Two: Set stretch goals. Document short-term and long-term goals that challenge and grow you in the process. Choose goals that are aligned, realistic, and time-bound so that you are able to stay motivated and focused.
Step Three: Be willing to “fail”. One of the benefits of having a growth mindset is seeing failure as an opportunity to learn from what you did wrong, so that you can get it right in the next iteration – knowing that there will be a next iteration. The current failure is not the end all be all.
Step Four: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While part of having a growth mindset is the belief that you can develop new skills and abilities, being able to recognize greater ability in others and motivating them to be a part of your vision will only multiply your capabilities and increase your potential to fully realize your goals.
Entrepreneurs and business leaders alike need a growth mindset in order to prepare for and be flexible in changing times. Mentally shifting from the constraints of a fixed mindset to a growth mindset requires considerable effort. Nevertheless, the satisfying benefits of doing so far outweigh the investment of time and energy required for the mindset shift that enables you to survive and thrive in business.