There was a man called Bob who had been a very bright child. His parents and teachers had complimented him on how smart he was and how good he was at everything. As you might expect, he went on to get a good job and was running a large company at a young age. However, challenges presented themselves along the way — as they do — and Bob was frightened to try something new in case he failed. So he stuck with what he believed he could safely do. Unfortunately, this wasn’t what his business needed and it got swallowed up by a competitor more willing to try a new approach…
Now before you think I’ve got into the business of bad storytelling, I put this out there to drive home a point. There’s a bit of Bob in all of us! The fear of failure; the hesitancy to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones in case we do something wrong; the desire for positive feedback on our outcomes. It all comes down to Mindset. There are many things that contribute to success in business (and life in general) but few play as big a role as the internal dialogue— or the mindset — a person has. Renowned psychologist Carol Dweck describes two key mindsets in her book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”: a growth mindset and a fixed one.
If You’re Not Failing, You’re Not Trying Hard Enough
Our own internal beliefs help form our mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that our intelligence and abilities are pre-determined and can’t change. They avoid failure like the plague in case it contradicts the idea of them being smart and will do anything to maintain the appearance of success. Those with a growth mindset are far more likely to embrace challenge and seize failure as an opportunity to learn, develop, and grow. They recognize that true potential is a story yet untold and that hard work and determination and the willingness to try can lead to great things.
Our attitude to failure is instrumental in our path to success. When Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, finally came up with a successful prototype, it was on the back of 1000 failed attempts. When he was asked how it felt to fail 1000 times, he tellingly responded, “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1000 steps.”
Mindset in Business
By now you can probably see how the mindset someone has forms such a huge part of their success in the business world. Stick within your comfort zone and only do what you know you know, and no one can see you as a failure. The problem with that? You will never reach your fullest potential. But if you can instead embrace a willingness to explore outside of what you know, and try something new — something that brings with it a risk of failure — you might just find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Or at the very least you will have learnt a valuable lesson that will help propel you to greater success in the long run.
While some people clearly fall into a fixed or a growth mindset camp, many of us land somewhere in the middle. But there are several tools for even the most “fixed” amongst us to help us train our brains to adopt a growth mindset. In my Mindset workshops, clients have achieved great business breakthroughs after learning how to “flip” their thinking from fixed to growth. It takes practice, but it really is possible to change your internal dialogue and, in turn, your outcomes.
And that’s great news, because that’s where success truly lies!
Yvette Jeal runs Mindset Workshops where she engages attendees in interactive exercises designed to help transition from a fixed to a growth mindset. To find out more about these or to discuss the opportunity of one-to-one coaching, contact Yvette at: