How well do you know yourself? You would probably say I know myself really well Kami… I know what I like, what I don’t like; I know that I love my family, I know that I work hard…
That's not what I mean.
How well are you aware of how you think and approach your day, your activities, challenges, risk? For example we all have bad days right? How do you respond to those days? Do those bad days make you feel pretty bad? How do you respond to new challenges? New assignments, new engagements, new projects? Have you ever looked at something new and thought this is hard… how am I going to do this? I can’t do this because it is too hard? How do you respond to failures?
This is all about how we view ourselves — the better we understand ourselves the more enabled we are to help others meaningfully. Our mindset provides the foundation for the quality of our experience that permeates every part of our lives. This in turn impacts how culture is formed and reinforced. Very important in the workplace.
If you’re in an organisation and your giving advice, you are working with others … you might be giving recommendations to address areas of improvement, you might be just discussing new ideas — the underlying mindset that underpins how you develop your advice and equally how people respond to your advice is important to understand — yours, your colleague’s or client’s mindset. The more familiar your become with your own mindset, it will place you in a good position to understand the mindset of others.
Mindset is very much about how we learn — how we take meaning from the experiences we have. Mindset is described in different ways — and I want to talk about one particular method and that is by Dr Carol Dweck, — she is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and she wrote the book on Mindset.
This is the first ever self-development book I read. When I read this book it opened up my mind to new things. I resonated with it in a way that I have never resonated with learning before. It changed the way I thought about things and the meaning I took from experiences.
There are two mindsets — the fixed mindset vs the growth mindset. People with fixed mindsets believe they have to prove themselves again and again. They are unlikely to take on new challenges from fear of failure. They are likely to think ‘I cannot really learn from this’. They don’t like failure, they don’t like criticism, they do the things they are familiar with because it’s safe. Stretching oneself might open them up to failure and criticism therefore why do it. They are unlikely to like change.
Two mindsets image by Nigel Holmes
In contrast people with a growth mindset value challenge. They learn from the mistakes they make, in fact they welcome failure because failure means an opportunity to learn. They welcome criticism because it is an opportunity to be and do better. They like to stretch themselves and push themselves from outside of their comfort zone. Failure is viewed as an opportunity to learn.
So which one are you? The reason this is important is because the way we view ourselves will have an impact on how we view, treat and interact with others. It will define the meaning we take from the events that happen around us, and in turn will drive the quality of our communications, quality of our interactions, the quality of our confidence.
Mindset leads our workplace culture.
So I leave you with a question, what is your mindset?