Achieving success in your business career involves developing the right mindset, which you can start working on while earning your Master of Business Administration (MBA). A growth mindset provides a highly effective way to reach your goals in school and at work. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of growth mindset, the following information can help you understand what it’s about and how to develop it.
What Is Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset refers to a mindset that focuses on growing and improving rather than believing that your personal talents, qualities, and characteristics are fixed. When you have a growth mindset, you can work on developing new skills and talents while also improving the ones you already have. This can help you find success while earning your MBA and working, so that you can accomplish your education and career goals.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
Having a growth mindset involves going through constant change and improvement as you work on your skills and talents. This is in direct contrast to a fixed mindset where you might think that you’re unable to develop any new skills and talents. With a fixed mindset, you might also believe that you’ll only be able to make slight improvements to your abilities rather than significantly improving them. A fixed mindset can hold you back when it comes to achieving success in school and at work. A growth mindset puts you in a better position to focus on working toward your goals.
Growth Mindset Myths
When you decide to adopt or develop a growth mindset, it’s important to make sure you fully understand what that means. A few myths about growth mindsets can give you the wrong impression and make it harder to develop this type of mindset. A common myth about having a growth mindset, for example, is that you always have to be positive. Staying positive or having an optimistic outlook can be helpful at times. However, being positive at all times is unrealistic and can cause you to live in denial rather than admitting limitations and working on overcoming obstacles. Another growth mindset myth is that having this mindset makes it easy to achieve your goals. A growth mindset is a powerful tool to have but reaching your goals can still require a lot of effort on your part. Having a growth mindset can keep you feeling motivated along the way.
Steps to Develop a Growth Mindset
Developing a growth mindset can provide you with the encouragement you need to be successful and work toward your goals. It can take time to adopt this kind of mindset, especially if you tend to have more of a fixed mindset. The following steps provide effective ways to work on developing a growth mindset:
- Acknowledge and Embrace Imperfections
Imperfections are a part of life. Rather than ignoring imperfections, you should learn to acknowledge them and even embrace them. When you’re able to admit to imperfections, you can focus on finding ways to achieve your goals despite these challenges. Keep in mind that accepting imperfection instead of striving for perfection can make it easier for you to accomplish your goals.
- Own Your Attitude
Developing a growth mindset involves facing challenges rather than shying away from them. To work on having this mindset, start seeing challenges as opportunities to improve your skills and talents or meet your goals. Choosing to tackle tasks that are tough and learning to be flexible can also help you adopt a growth mindset. For example, you should proactively seek feedback from instructors at school or supervisors at work. Doing so can help you identify areas to improve on at school and work.
- Reframe with Better Language
Making changes to the words you use is a simple yet effective way to develop a growth mindset. For example, instead of using the word “fail,” use “learn” or “improve.” When you’re talking or thinking about goals you haven’t reached, such as finishing a project at work or school, use the word “yet.” Making these small changes can go a long way toward changing your mindset. Adopting flexible thinking patterns instead of clinging to rigid ideas can also help you develop a growth mindset.
- Try Different Learning Tactics
As part of your growth mindset activities, find other ways to learn at school and at work. Find a mentor at school, read books written by experts in your industry, and talk to other professionals in order to learn from them. You can also gain valuable insight when you learn from others’ mistakes. Continuing professional education provides you with another effective way to learn, such as earning a graduate degree or certifications. Consider going back to school to earn your MBA if you haven’t done so already, since this can help you improve your business and leadership skills while also developing new ones.
- Understand Neuroplasticity and How to Rewire Your Brain
Neuroplasticity refers to your brain’s ability to reorganize itself and form new connections. In fact, you can rewire your brain when you develop a growth mindset. With this type of mindset, you’ll be giving your brain opportunities to change and adapt as you learn new skills and improve on ones you have already. Growth mindset examples of rewiring your brain include managing complex tasks by grouping smaller tasks or chunking, observing others, training your memory, and avoiding making the same mistakes.
- Stop Seeking Approval
When you seek approval from others, this can make it harder for you to develop a growth mindset. Instead, work on becoming more accepting of yourself and seeking approval from within rather than from other people. Learning to accept yourself, including your imperfections, is all part of having a growth mindset.
- Embrace the Process Over the End Result
With a growth mindset, it’s better to focus on the process of achieving your goals instead of reaching them. Doing this can help you stay motivated as you work toward the end results. For example, you can make a new goal for each goal you accomplish to help you continue moving toward your overall goal. While developing a growth mindset, keep in mind that you should focus on growth over speed. Focusing on speed or the end result can make it more difficult for you to adopt this kind of mindset.
- Develop a Sense of Purpose
Setting and achieving goals is just part of having a growth mindset, but it might not be enough to maintain this mindset over time. Developing a sense of purpose can help you stay focused on building this type of mindset and make it part of your everyday life. If you don’t have a sense of purpose already, think about what you want to accomplish in your career in the long term. For example, your purpose might be to take on a leadership role in your company. With that in mind, you can focus on working toward achieving that goal when you’re on the job or at school earning your MBA.
- Create a Like-Minded Support System
Having a solid support system can provide you with emotional support, motivation, and encouragement. Your support system should include people who are positive and ideally have your best interest in mind. You should take risks in front of members of your support system who will provide you with feedback and hold you accountable.
- Celebrate Efforts vs Traits or Talent
While it’s important to recognize your traits and talents so that you can work on improving them as needed, you should focus on celebrating your efforts. Putting too much focus on your traits and talents could lead to a fixed mindset rather than a growth mindset. When you celebrate your efforts, such as finishing a complex project at work, you’re more likely to develop a growth mindset.
- Prioritize Reflection and Self-Awareness
Self-awareness and reflection can help you achieve a growth mindset. Reflection involves turning your focus within and taking an honest look at yourself. Doing this on a regular basis can help you develop the self-awareness needed to work on improving and growing.
- Set High but Realistic Standards
Setting standards is an important part of developing a growth mindset but avoid setting unrealistic standards. You can aim high as long as you make sure your standards are realistic. For example, you might set standards for completing a higher number of work projects or tasks. However, avoid setting an unrealistic goal for this, which could cause you to become frustrated or rush through projects and tasks. Keeping your standards reasonable helps ensure that you’ll be able to meet them.
Growth Mindset Books and Tools
Books and online tools can help you gain a deeper understanding of the growth mindset concept. Some books to add to your reading list include Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol S. Dweck, The Growth Mindset: A Guide to Professional and Personal Growth by Joshua Moore and Helen Glasgow, Limitless by Jim Kwik, and Leading the Workforce of the Future: Inspiring a Mindset of Passion, Innovation and Growth by Brigette Tasha Hyacinth. You can also learn more about developing a growth mindset at growthmindsetinstitute.org and through the use of apps, such as the Growth Mindset Guide app and The Growth Mindset app.
If you’re looking for an MBA program that can help you build or advance your business career, please contact the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Our school has a fully Online MBA program available, as well as a Flexible MBA program with a combination of in-person instruction and online classes. We can provide you with more information on these programs and our admissions process.