“My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.” — Sara Blakely
Mindset. It’s a popular buzzword these days. What is going on in that mysterious space between your ears? And how is it impacting your business? Your life? Our internal world – the things we believe and how we talk to ourselves inside our own heads (yes, I’ll admit I do talk to myself, quite often ;)) has everything to do with the results we get in life. From our success in business, relationships, and even when it comes to our own happiness. In this blog post, I’ll outline the differences between fixed mindset vs growth mindset, and share my personal experience.
Fixed Mindset is characterized by excuses, limiting beliefs, and resistance to change and risk. If you’re in a fixed mindset, you might have beliefs and self-talk that sound like…
“Failure is the limit of my abilities”
“I’m either good at it or not.”
“My abilities are unchanging.”
“I don’t like to be challenged.”
“I stay in my comfort zone.”
“Feedback and criticism are personal.”
“That’s too risky…”
Growth Mindset is an open, positive mindset. It is solution focused. It is courageous. It is a willingness to take on risks, challenges, and to fail. It’s a desire to do more, be more, and see more – a real zest for life!
“Failure is an opportunity for growth.”
“I like to try new things.”
“Other’s success inspires me.”
“I can learn to do anything I want.”
“Challenges help me grow.”
“My attitude and effort are determined by abilities.”
“Feedback is constructive.”
My Experience Shifting from Fixed Mindset to Growth Mindset
As an entrepreneur, I’ve found that a growth mindset is absolutely necessary to keep me in the game…but I took work, a lot of work sometimes. I’ve had to do a lot of work to gain and maintain a growth mindset. The shit really hit the fan for me in 2013 when I was going through a divorce, buying into a franchise structure company, starting my coaching business, and taking on a major leadership role at my networking organization. Ummm and raising three teenagers, solo. I had a lot on my plate.
During this time, two major factors would continually trigger my fixed mindset and cause me to start spiralling down into imposter syndrome. My head would start questioning my capabilities and everything I was doing. These triggers were depression and old beliefs about money.
Depression and Fixed Mindset
I’ve written in a previous blog post about struggling with depression throughout my life. While going through the divorce, it came on strong. For me, when I get depressed, everything loses its luster. Even the shiny things aren’t shiny. Everything is dull. What saved me was that I decided to dive into some major self work. I partnered with a mentor to do intensive soul searching work based on the 12 Jungian Archetypes.
One of the big revelations that came out of this work was that my Depression was an old survival mechanism. As a kid I’d sink into a low depressive state to protect myself and keep from drawing too much attention in an extremely abusive environment. I didn’t want to shine too bright. It was dangerous.
As an adult, I was still using this old pattern to play small and hold myself back from what I was really capable of. I was also using it as a poor coping mechanism for fatigue and emotional burnout. I’m a giver who was over-giving of myself to others to the point of depletion. Once depleted, my pendulum would swing to the opposite side of the spectrum and I’d withdrawn into depression as an escape. Identifying this destructive pattern helped me to see where I could develop healthier coping mechanisms and self care techniques to recharge and prevent the depression and fixed mindset from descending.
Finances and Fixed Mindset
Money blocks and issues around finances are the worst. Can I get an Amen?! I didn’t realize how much of a trigger money was for my fixed mindset until I attended a conference on conscious business in California in 2014 with a client and friend. In one of the breakout groups we examined our beliefs around money and it was like I opened pandora’s box. Hot damn! I was suddenly flooded with emotion.
One of the main realizations that came from the workshop was an old belief I had about my kids needing to “struggle” to build character. I grew up poor, surrounded by people that had a serious scarcity mindset around money. I had to hustle and grind HARD. Nothing was ever handed to me. Somehow, my brain translated this into a rule that went something like: “You can’t make more money, because if you do, your kids are going to be spoiled and won’t learn how to work hard.” This was total bull crap! I could make more money! AND I could still teach my kids the value of hard work.
Tools for Getting to Growth Mindset
From my experiences above, I’ve learned that getting to a Growth Mindset takes work! I want to highlight a few more tools that I continue to draw on when I need help. They are:
- Unpack your sh$#. Hire a mentor or coach. See a therapist. Find a way to unpack the underlying foundation that’s behind that ‘negative Nancy’ fixed mindset.
- Educate yourself. Take a class. Attend workshops, conferences, and events where you will be exposed to new people, ideas, and ways of thinking.
- Do the opposite right action. If your brain is telling you NO; move your feet anyways. You can act your way into a mental shift, but you often can’t think your way into a different mindset as easily.
- Set goals! Make sure they are SMART goals, as I blogged about previously. I do quarterly and annual goal workshops with my clients. Goals are an opportunity to stretch and challenge our fixed mindset. Make sure to include goals that touch all aspects of your life, from business, personal, financial, spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional.
- Surround yourself with growth mindset people. We are the company we keep. I’ve shared before that letting go of relationships that no longer support my growth has been instrumental for me in my business and personal life.
- Watch your words. Be aware of how you talk to yourself. Use positive affirmations and mantras. Be kind, be positive. When you catch your negative self talk flaring up, recognize and try to redirect.
- Take care of yourself. Not getting enough rest, food, love, or “recharging time” can trigger depression and negative fixed mindset.
- Be curious. Indulge your inner child and be more playful. Try new things. Allow life to surprise you and lead you in unexpected directions.
Need help shifting your mindset? I can help with that!! Drop me a line to chat at Lynn@lynnahoward.com.