Cultivating a Growth Mindset

17 December 2019 | Samar Sinan

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

We have all experienced frustrations with learning in our lives, and when we struggle to learn we often put it down to a lack of ability. This perspective frames our capacity to learn when in reality it’s influenced greatly by our own beliefs.

I have been asking myself a few questions: How are we expected to grow in our roles? Do we have the right mindset? Are we dynamic enough? What happens when we have challenges at work? How do we feel when someone doesn’t value our contribution? Do we see it as an opportunity to educate those around us, or does it affect our confidence? Are we open to feedback, or do we feel defensive?

If we don't have answers to these questions, then we have to shift our mindset. We have to stop comparing ourselves to other people in the organization and those around us. We have to trust ourselves. We have to be confident and creative. We must be someone whom others feel happy to confide in. If someone does not see value in the work that you do then do not bother with their opinions. In the end, their opinions do not really matter as they will not add any value to the work that you do. Instead, show through all of the great work that you do, the integrity you display and the resilience you show that you have a passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it is the stamp of the real growth mindset.

Having a growth mindset does not mean we have to believe that we will become the next Newton, but it is how we develop it that matters. We need to be one step ahead of the challenges we face and to be able to cope with the demands of our roles and to handle difficult conversations and people. Approaching things from this perspective creates a real passion for learning, and makes us more likely to apply what we need to succeed. As Muhammad Ali reminds us, “If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it”.

However, we might have people with negative attitudes around us at the workplace. Those negative people can bring down a whole workplace culture, not just by putting others in a bad mood but also having a tangible impact on how an office functions. People with negativity look for support from those around them and it is not easy to resist their approaches, but a really positive growth mindset allows us to ignore this negativity and to concentrate on the many uplifting experiences we find ourselves surrounded by. Those who thrive on negativity look for it in every situation around them. Those who ignore it find themselves in a much more upbeat and positive place and seek to find only the good around them.

Dorit Sher said "Your career is your business. It's time for you to manage it as a CEO". It’s so true. We have to define what success means to us. Owning our success is what really matters. Most importantly, view challenges as opportunities. Enjoy the opportunities to learn and improve. Positivity can be contagious when everyone feels they’re on the same team, the effort is collective, and everyone’s ideas are valued and welcomed. We have to show initiative, we have to be innovative, yet stay compassionate.

All learning strategies, tools, and techniques are almost useless if we don’t combine them with a strong, growth learning mindset. Without failure and the room to make mistakes, how are we expected to grow in our careers and our roles? Some incredible things have been developed in this world through mistakes. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the pacemaker was also created through failure and most importantly, chocolate chip cookies when a baker discovered she was out of regular baking chocolate and just used regular chocolate in small pieces. A simple belief is that the power to improve our learning lies in our own hands. We must be given a license to learn and a space to grow.

A simple fact is that the only person responsible for your life is you and the best time to start developing a more positive growth mindset is now, it isn't later. We must spend our lives learning. Listen to your inner voice telling you what is the right way to be and the best way to achieve what we are looking for. Listen to those around you whose opinions matter, whose words you can rely on, whose thoughts and opinions move you forward and guide you in the right direction. Those whose opinions do not matter to you, don’t listen to at all, don’t allow yourself to get drawn into a world that will not be productive and inspiring for you. Learning is a journey from a place of knowing less to one of knowing more.

“Practicing a growth mindset sets organizations up for long-term success. In order to be a 100-year-old company, the company culture has to make it easy for people to be curious and always focus on learning. By adapting and innovating so they can personally improve, people increase their impact on the company.” said by Brittany Forsyth.