Have you been on the edge of achieving a goal, but something is stopping you, and you can’t put your finger on it? I tell my team that achieving a goal is about doing all of the things you plan on paper and having the right mindset. All too often, everything for a goal is in place: it is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. BUT, the person’s mindset isn’t right, and everything falls apart.
Usually, when I talk to my team and the people I coach, I can immediately tell if they fall in one of two mindset categories. The first mindset is “fixed,” meaning the person believes they were born with a set of abilities and can’t grow or change. Usually, the people in this category rely on positive reinforcement from others to validate their mindset. They tend to stay in the wheelhouse they have always been in, rarely exploring other options or ideas. They believe if something doesn’t come easy for them, it’s not part of their “gift,” and they quit or give up quickly. The second mindset is “fluid,” meaning the person believes they can put in the effort to develop the qualities needed to reach a goal or achieve something. People with a fluid mindset are more focused on growth. They firmly believe with effort and practice; they can do better. If they fail, they don’t give up and use it as a learning tool. Even when people with a fluid mindset are at the top, they look for ways to learn, grow, and increase their skillset.
Mindset is a complicated subject to blog about because most people learn their mindset from a young age. How your parents praised you and taught you is directly linked to your mindset today. You will likely have a fixed mindset if you were constantly praised for your ability and not your effort. If your parents praise you for how hard you worked, you will likely have a fluid mindset. This is a massive lesson to all of us parents out there. A minor tweak in the way we lift our kids can significantly impact their lives. If you are reading this and can identify with the fixed mindset, don’t lose hope, you can change your mindset and grow. If you are reading this and identify with a fluid mindset, let me challenge you to tackle some new ways to step out of your comfort zone. Either way, let’s jump in!
The Journey Is More Valuable Than The Destination
A fixed mindset leads to attachment to the outcome and not the process. If you only get your worth from reaching a goal, you will miss so many valuable experiences. Sure, reaching the goal is fantastic, but what about all the adversity you inevitably will come across? When you have a fluid mindset, you see that the setbacks are a setup for what is to come. You see the setbacks as learning tools, skill builders, and experience gained. So, instead of being attached to the outcome, try enjoying the process. You will soon see your mindset taking a new shape!
Un-attach From Needing Approval
Just like you may be attached to the outcome, as I mentioned above, you may be finding yourself attached to the approval of others. If you need others’ validation, you might not take criticism well. A fluid mindset will be open to criticism and see it as helpful and constructive. A fixed mindset will see criticism as verbal put-downs, calling you a failure or not good enough. If you are attached to others’ approval, you are likely taking too much personally. What happens if you are too attached? You get cozy with the praise you receive and don’t stretch yourself. You only do what is safe. You don’t grow.
Celebrate Effort, Not Talent
This one, as I mentioned, is easier to do with our kids than with ourselves. How does your self-talk sound? Do you focus on your natural talents and bash yourself for not being great at something else? Talk to yourself like you are talking to a child. See what I mean by seeing some examples of speaking to children differently. Then, go to a mirror and try it out on yourself.Examples:
- Boy, this is hard-AND this is fun.
- I like how you tried many different strategies on that math problem until you finally got it.
- You did a good job drawing those animals. I like the detail you added to their faces!
- Mistakes are so interesting. Here’s a beautiful mistake. Let’s see what we can learn from it
Perfection Isn’t Realistic
Talking to yourself like you were nurturing a child can feel a little strange at first. You don’t need to do something right the first time. You can take baby steps and make progress. But soon, you’ll see you are focused on making process and not focused on being perfect or a “natural” at something. There’s no such thing as being perfect at something. So why focus on perfection?
Change Your Vocabulary
One way to stop focusing on perfection is to add a simple word to your daily vocabulary. “YET.
“ I can’t do this, YET.
I’m not much of a leader, YET.
I’m not very good at sales, YET.
Do you see how adding the word “yet” can transform your mindset? You open doors you may have closed. You see possibility instead of permanence. You learn to grow in ways you never thought possible.
Do you see how changing your mindset can lead you down a whole new goal-setting and achieving path? You might even change the way you look at goals in the first place! When your mindset is in the right place, they fall into place instead of things falling apart. You learn to love the journey, the people, the lessons, the wisdom, and the achievement. I hope this week helps you see that even if you thought you had a great mindset, there’s always a tweak you can make to help you. And if you needed that swift kick in the behind, I hope you felt it! 🙂
Take care, my friends, and remember, success is a choice!