Establishing a Growth Mindset
So what is a growth mindset?
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset.
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”
This comes from Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Someone with a growth mindset is better able to adapt to the disruption that is occurring today due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be particularly true in 2021 as we are all suffering from some form of pandemic fatigue.
2021 Will Be Challenging
The job market will come back in 2021. When, you may ask? As things look pretty bleak at the beginning of February of 2021. I believe it is very dependent on the rollout of vaccinations for COVID-19.
I would suggest you listen to the WSJ podcast, The Journal episode, What to Expect from the Jobs Market in 2021.
This podcast episode gives you the most realistic projection of what the labor market will look like this year. They discuss that millions of people have dropped out of the labor market for a whole variety of reasons. These people are not being counted in the unemployment numbers.
By the end of 2021, we just might have recovered a vast majority of the jobs lost in 2020 but not all. Of course, that is by the end of 2021. We have another whole year to live through.
I have talked with many over the age of 50 who need to get back to work primarily for access to health insurance. For many, the industries where they worked for decades may continue to decline or be permanently disrupted. These people will need to shift to new industries which I discussed in the post, 5 Steps for Using Transferable Skills to Move to a New Industry. This type of shift requires a growth mindset.
Developing a growth mindset this year will be critical as what is happening in the world today is out of our control.
Steps Toward Developing a Growth Mindset
There are a lot of articles and books on this topic. I want to highlight my favorite ideas from this material.
Reframing Your Problems
Do you look at a problem as a… problem or as a challenge?
As a recovering engineer, I spent much of my technology career solving complex technical problems. When I would run into a problem that I could not solve, I would look for help.
If there was not a solution to the problem that was acceptable, I would look for alternatives. Living in Mexico I have found I have had to do this a lot.
A good example of reframing a problem is when a recruiter or hiring manager is not responding to your emails. Rather than get frustrated, look for ways to get their attention possibly by calling them on the phone, texting, or finding alternative ways to poke them on social media.
When I had Dian Wingert on the podcast episode, What is Your Mindset Right Now? Are Ready to Change It? she said there is “success and feedback”. When you take this approach, there is no failure rather you are just getting feedback.
Value the Process Over the End Result
Life is a journey. I do not know who originally said, take time to smell the roses, but it is excellent advice.
In my annual blog survey, many said the pandemic and the associated lockdown, gave them permission to slow down and get off the hamster wheel called work.
When I interviewed Thom Singer in the podcast episode, Pivoting a Speaking Career in a Time of Pandemic, Thom spoke about taking up meditation in the fall of 2019. This has allowed him to be in the moment when his business literally collapsed in 3 days of March 2020.
Many have learned to cook again and are really enjoying it. We love both the creative process of preparing foods but also the healthy effects of eating home-cooked meals.
I suggest you take time to reflect on 2020. What did you change? What did you learn?
Take Risks in the Company of Others
Rarely are we successful based entirely on our own efforts. If you are going to do something new, find your tribe to support you.
I have often suggested to some of my most introverted clients that they take an improv class. Standing on stage in front of a friendly audience that will laugh with you and not at you is invaluable. You quickly find that you are willing to try things, make mistakes, and be willing to learn to do things a different way.
When I lived in Austin and served on the board of LaunchPad Job Club I used the club’s Friday meetings to try out new presentation materials. I knew that when my materials flawed, people would point it out. When I would have material out of sequence, I could regroup and have a redo on that section of the presentation. Finally, I could hang around after the presentation was over and get honest constructive criticism.
Find people who will support you. This is a shameless plug… you might consider joining the Career Pivot Membership community to get this kind of support.
Own Your Attitude
As a kid, I might have said, my friend made me feel guilty. My mother would respond no one can make you feel guilty.
In these difficult times, it is time to own our feelings. We can choose to:
- Reframe our problems
- Enjoy the journey
- Take risks in the company of others
These are all choices.
2021 is a Great Time to Develop a Growth Mindset
If you make a conscious effort to shift your mindset from a fixed to a growth mindset you will better position yourself for success in 2021.
For myself, I am looking at 2021 as a time of reinvention. My goal is to grow my online community to be able to help more people. I am looking at writing possibly 2 books this year, an updated Repurpose Your Career edition, and a book based on the course I am teaching So You Want to be an Expat.
I am working on what is possible.
What about you?Marc Miller