How growth mindset helped me
My life became much easier once I adopted the growth mindset. Earlier, I was nervous while presenting in front of higher management. I was afraid of making mistakes; because I thought that if I make a mistake, people would point their fingers at me and thus will hamper my reputation! I felt uncomfortable when someone gave me feedback; sometimes, I had a bad feeling when someone disagreed with me.
But after adopting the growth mindset, I am now very comfortable presenting my work. I can get into healthier discussions with colleagues who disagree with me, and I am learning much faster than before. My life has become much easier.
Let’s see how a growth mindset can transform your life.
My Misconception about growth mindset I heard the term growth-minded before, but I had the wrong definition of it. I always thought this meant “learning new things”; e.g., reading more books, taking more online courses, etc. But this is only a tiny part.
Dos and Don’ts to be growth-minded
- Don’t think that you know everything
- Don’t pretend that you know everything
- Don’t think that your memory remembers everything correctly
- Don’t try to win every argument
- Don’t take feedback as an attack
Have you worked with someone who thinks that he knows everything? I worked with one.
Whenever I gave him feedback, he started arguing, defending, and taking my feedback as a personal attack. Any time someone disagreed with him, he started arguing. This type of behavior doesn’t help the team to grow, it doesn’t build healthy relationships among the team members, and he also can’t learn from others.
So the attitude of “I know everything, everyone should listen to me” is a big roadblock to the growth-mindset.
I also made the same mistake when I was a project lead.
For a minor decision, the team disagreed with me. I knew that decision was not important, but I kept arguing! That cost us time; that caused some unnecessary debate in the meeting, and the meeting didn’t go well.
- Keep a mentality to learn from anyone and from any situation.
- Take feedback as a gift, don’t take feedback as a personal attack. Someone giving you feedback means that he cares about you; he wants you to grow.
- Assume that people have good intentions when they give you feedback. This will help you to digest the feedback. In one of the next newsletters, I will try to show how you can do a healthy discussion when someone tries to give feedback just to “put you down”.
- If someone questions your work, then this is a time to discuss it with him and may be you will learn new things which you didn’t know
Examples of where this mindset can help
Management questions/challenges your decision
Suppose I am presenting something to higher management. Since I have a learning mindset, I am not nervous as before. Anytime they ask me a question or tell me,
"Why did you do in this way? Why didn't you do that? Have you thought about that?"
These questions help me to learn something new; what is their thought process? Maybe I didn’t consider something. I reply,
"Thanks for the question. Let me understand a bit better. What benefits do you think it will bring if I do this?"`
Most important is your voice tone when discussing or asking for clarification:
- You shouldn’t sound like you are attacking them.
- Your voice should sound with genuine interest. Then they explain the benefits or their fears; which helps me to learn more about the organization, the project, the work style etc.
Colleagues disagree with me
Suppose I am discussing with my colleagues or my team. If the team disagrees with me, then I don’t take that as a personal attack. Maybe I lacked some knowledge or didn’t think of something. This is a chance to learn something new.
After making a mistake
Suppose I made a mistake. Now, instead of hiding the mistake, or blaming someone else for the mistake, I give a
heads up and tell that:
I made a mistake. Now I want to reduce the damage of the mistake. And I want to figure out what can be done to prevent the mistake in the future
Most often, you will find that
- People will help you
- You will learn something new through this mistake
- You will make the process better
- People will trust you because you don’t hide, you face the mistake, and you offer help to fix it. And your colleagues and manager will know that in future they can give you a similar task as you already made a mistake and figured out how to prevent the mistake!
So, as a growth-minded, you take feedback and mistakes as an opportunity to learn. You don’t take those personally. This will help your mental health, have fun at work, and learn so much more!