Three Steps to Embracing a Growth Mindset

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

– Charles Darwin

What Charles Darwin said is also true in times of crisis…like a pandemic. How adaptable have you been with the changes that your company has undergone? How proficient and comfortable are you with Zoom? How are you dealing with WFH? If your answer is along the lines of, “I’m dealing,” think again. Are you just adapting to a change once instituted or fully embracingchange?

Our world is changing rapidly, and, newsflash, it’s not stopping. Change is inevitable and, in the past year alone, we’ve all experienced enormous social and professional reform. The more eagerly you embrace changes, the more likely you will get ahead in your industry and establish your value within your company. There are many new, innovative possibilities and technologies available now and on the horizon for the institutions and individuals that can embrace change. It is an exciting time, but only if you are learning and growing rather than adapting reluctantly.

What if you don’t like change?

We all know the answer to this question. In the best-case scenario, you keep your job, and your responsibilities are maintained, but promotions will be out of your reach. Worst case scenario, you’ll find yourself on the lay-off list at a point in the future. We all know people that are in this situation. It is not a place for you; otherwise, you would not be reading my blog.

As an executive coach, I see clients of all ages who do not like change. Instead, they prefer the status quo and being comfortable with the way things are. They often lack confidence in their ability to gain new skills. This leads to fear and anxiety, and often they cannot feel good about themselves and their ability to keep their current job, let alone secure a new one. It is a vicious and sad cycle. I remind these clients, as I am reminding you now, that you can rewrite your relationship to change.

How can you change your path? In the words of Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University and known widely for her work on growth mindsets, you can do three things:

  • Perform a self-check
  • Identify your landscape
  • Bring others along

Strategy #1: Perform a self-check.

How do you currently respond to change in your organization? Rate yourself on a scale from one, resisting ferociously, to ten, embracing change eagerly. Where do you fall? Now you have a handle on your historical mindset. To stay relevant, you’ll need to shift to a growth mindset, which is the belief that you can develop your talents through hard work. You proactively need to choose this shift while acknowledging the discomfort and challenges of this change.

To start, learn everything you can to be the best at your current role. Take every class that your company offers. Take classes and watch webinars that you seek out outside your company too. Ask about being a beta tester on new technology designed for your department. Read the trades and trend reports on your industry. Establish relationships with thought leaders. Many thought leaders work for your industry associations and are willing to schedule virtual coffees and share their knowledge. Now you are becoming a resource.

Strategy #2: Identify your landscape.

Each organization is different in dealing with change based on their leadership, culture, and own specific issues. What changes is your company going through? What can you do to support it? Talk with your boss and your colleagues about your change intentions.

One idea is to identify the challenges with WFH for yourself and your colleagues. Pull a group of colleagues together to discuss and create a list of suggestions on improving the dynamic. Schedule a call and share your ideas with your boss. Taking the lead amid change is doing more than solidifying your value; now, you are increasing it.

Strategy #3: Bring others along.

Change is challenging, but now you’re no longer being dragged into a new era; you are near the front, helping to lead. You are an inspiration to others. You can motivate other team members to adopt a change mindset by sharing how you evolved your thinking and behavior. Bringing others along demonstrates your resiliency, positivity, and your leadership to your organization.

Now you have the opportunity to show your staff, peers, and boss what you’re capable of. And it is not just that you are making changes, but also how you go about it. Having a great attitude and leading the way with an open, receptive mindset can impress your organization’s leadership. You are demonstrating your flexibility and your willingness to learn and grow. Adaptability is the name of the game, and you’ll see how it can do wonders for your career.

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Kim Martin