In my new book The Art of Changing Your Mindset: Achieve Inner Balance and Excel in Business and Life I explore why changing mindset plays a crucial role in whatever we do. Capturing the 12 key areas of life, this book walks you through the different dimensions in which this mindset plays a crucial role. Working with my clients have taught me that the right mindset is the key to sustained success. Even the greatest of strategies will not succeed without the right mindset to implement it. When you change your mindset, you are able to transform your life. Most people are held back by their own limiting beliefs, becoming trapped in a cycle of negative self-talk and convinced that they’re unworthy or unable of accomplishing their goals.
All of our perceptions are colored by our mindset, beliefs, values, attitude, personal experiences, emotions, culture, and other factors that create our inner world. We can influence or change our mind about some of these factors and, in so doing, alter our perception of and our approach to work and life. On our way, we might meet lots of obstacles, and our limiting beliefs can distract, worry, and distress us. However, we can learn how to select our thoughts and change the way we act, so that we make better decisions and take a variety of constructive actions. This mental process is focused on changing behaviors to create better results and better performance. Finding solutions in any area of our life will immediately impact on our personal growth and well-being.
Mindset is a set of beliefs that shape how we make sense of the world and ourselves. It influences how we think, feel, and behave in any given situation. Our mindset plays a critical role in how we cope with life’s challenges. A growth mindset is the belief that people have the ability to develop their talents, abilities, intelligence, and emotional intelligence. It essentially means you believe success comes from the consistent effort to work through challenges. For example, a growth mindset can help you recover from illness because you believe that you can do something about that illness rather than giving up easily. It can help you achieve in sport, in any artistic discipline or at work, and can also help you grow and develop in relationships. On the opposite end, a fixed mindset is the belief that people’s basic qualities, such as intelligence and talent, are fixed traits that can’t be changed or developed.
A growth mindset helps to navigate and adapt to change and uncertainty. It also enables people to listen, learn, lead, and find effective solutions to challenges. A growth mindset makes people better able to fight back. It also means you believe that you are in control of your own ability, and can learn and improve. Changing mindset is a key element of coaching that I love to work on with my clients as it has such a massive impact on how we behave, think, and grow. According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, when we have a growth mindset, we believe that our intelligence, creative abilities, and character are things that we can improve in meaningful ways. We can always learn and get better at what we do. Adopting a growth mindset can help us to be more successful and happier, both at work and in our personal lives. Cultivating a growth mindset could be the single most important thing you ever do to help you achieve success.
Each of us has a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. Although we might have a predominantly growth mindset in one area, there can still be things that trigger a fixed mindset trait in us in another area. People are capable of changing their mindsets and there are some ways to “unfix” a fixed mindset.
Leaders with a growth mindset tend to focus more on the process rather than just the outcome. They know that success comes from the consistent effort to work through challenges. On the opposite side, leaders with a fixed mindset are results-oriented to the extreme. They tend to interpret challenges as failures, believing that all effort has been wasted instead of recognizing the opportunity to learn and grow. Executives who lead their companies with a fixed mindset will create a culture of fear. Whenever problems come up, they will immediately interpret the situation as a failure and look for someone to blame. The leader may even fire or replace the person blamed. This is because they don’t believe people can improve their skills to solve the problem. Sometimes you’ll also see the leaders stepping in to fix the problem themselves because they don’t trust anyone else.
On the other hand, leaders who adopt a growth mindset create a healthy culture of accountability that drives business growth. Leaders with a growth mindset see opportunities for their teams, even during times of crisis. They don’t hide in a corner believing all efforts have been wasted and they don’t look for anyone to blame. Instead, they make every effort to accelerate their team’s growth to overcome any business challenge. Leading with a growth mindset is critical to developing any team into proactive, accountable, and motivated solution-seekers. And when the team grows and evolves, the company does the same.
Over the last decade, I have studied the critical characteristics of high-performing leaders and their teams, and how much mindset influences resistance to change. I have observed that the old ways of leadership do not fit the world we live in today. Most leaders today are overwhelmed and stressed. They constantly search for different tools and strategies to lead their team more effectively, and to build new habits and behaviors to overcome the crisis in organizations. The global situation has dramatically changed the business landscape recently. As we don’t know what is coming in the months or years ahead, in order to thrive, leaders have to master the art of agility and adaptability even more than in the past. For me, leadership today is a humble facilitation of people achieving the best possible results. Any leader nowadays is searching for the answer to the following questions:
- How in pressured times can we manage change and get extraordinary results?
- How in a challenging situation can I help my team to step up and achieve better outcomes?
- How can I shape my mindset to better serve my team and clients?
Exceptional leaders understand that they have to consciously develop their skills and the skills of their team. With strong passion, energy and vision for growth, people will be more willing to follow them. The way they manage their team today requires a new style of leadership that is more focused on facilitation and changing mindset.
Applying changing mindset principles
The following is a valuable list of changing mindset principles:
- Create a positive mindset
A mindset is the mental attitude that shapes our actions and thoughts. One of the key aspects of attitudes is how quickly an attitude can change and what implications it can have, as opposed to skills that must be constantly improved to achieve significant changes. This way of thinking is critical if you want to implement changes in your life or the organization you work at. Set a ton of possibilities and channel empathy, integrative thinking, optimism, experimentation, and collaboration. Focus on the good things. Challenging situations and obstacles are a part of life.
- Accept change
Instead of fearing or resisting change, make yourself ready to drive meaningful change – whether that means changing yourself, your team, the systems and structures of the organization, or even pivoting its strategic direction and vision. Before you can change and grow, you need to first understand your starting point. What are your own limits, motivations, and emotional states? By embracing self-awareness as an individual or as a leader, you become better equipped to make impactful decisions and explore opportunities to grow in life and in business. It will also help you identify the areas that need more growth for you and your team.
- Invest in people around you
Create an acceptable environment for open dialogue and transparent communication with the people around you. Set up an agreement outlining how you want to work and cooperate with others. Establish healthy rules. In your professional life, block 90 minutes each week with your team to discuss the most critical issues in your organization.
- Recognize and reward the value of learning in failure
Learning to push through failure, treat obstacles as challenges, and persist in spite of difficult situations allows you to lead a team to achieve more impactful goals. Leaders who learn from their mistakes are better equipped to continually push the boundaries of their own growth and that of their teams. It’s also key in any organization to create a culture where failure is accepted as a learning tool, as this encourages individuals to grow and take innovative risks.
- Build healthy relationships
A good relationship requires trust, respect, self-awareness, inclusion, and open communication. Without healthy relationships within your family, friends or team, it’s impossible to build a caring and supportive environment. You may check from time to time: how committed are you? Do you have the courage to raise openly difficult topics? Do you create authentic relationships? Do you support other people? Do you know who is currently struggling and needs help? Do you provide feedback to others?
- Encourage collaboration
Look for opportunities with others. How can you collaborate better (even during online meetings) in order to achieve better results? Think about how you can create value by being a team. Coach and develop your team. Encourage interaction and be clear about expectations. Foster honest and open communication. Encourage creativity.
- Bring energy
There are a lot of frustrations everywhere today. People are tired, losing motivation and the level of energy is lower than ever. Place a high priority on mental health. Think about how far you and your friends, family or team lift each other up. Do you elevate energy by celebrating success and demonstrating gratitude?
- Inspire transformation
As a leader, do you push for innovation and challenge the status quo? Transformation involves working with others to identify obstacles to team cohesion, synergy, and high performance. The leader’s role is to turn separate initiatives into a balanced, integrated program of change. As a leader, stress the importance of creativity for the business. Ensure your entire team knows you want to hear their ideas, help them share their thinking, and make time for brainstorming. Empower them to make decisions and take action, and train them in innovation techniques.
- Focus on the process as an ongoing project
A key part of the growth mindset is to focus on the process and not just the result. No individual, team or company will execute perfectly 100% of the time. There will be moments when results do not meet expectations. This is why it’s important to also focus on the process. By focusing on the process, you’ll grow yourself and your team to achieve continuous marginal improvements in execution.
You may explore more reading my book where I will encourage you to ask yourself lots of questions that are designed to help you reflect on your current situation and then provoke you to take action, change behaviors and habits, and create better choices to live the life you have always wanted to live – a better life. Alternatively, you may wish to start your journey by reflecting on and evaluating each of the most important aspects of your life using the free Inner Balance Inventory tool which you can access on my website awolinskaskuza.com