3 Effective Tips To Rewire Your Mindset For Success
We live in a fast-paced, constantly evolving world of work, and with that comes uncertainty. It’s often during uncertain and changeable situations that we witness positive outcomes in our careers, such as the rise of new opportunities, creativity and innovation. But uncertainty often comes with challenges, unpredictability and discomfort. Why is it, then, that some people succeed in uncertainty, and others get stuck?
The short answer is that it’s often to do with mindset – how we process information and view the world. There is more than one way to look at the world and process events that occur around us. One person’s problem is another person’s puzzle to solve. An obstacle can be viewed as an opportunity if you choose to see it that way.
A concept that plays a vital role in resetting our thinking for success at work is that of the ‘growth mindset’ – a term originally coined by Stanford psychologist Dr Carol Dweck in her research on the psychology of success. Those with a ‘growth mindset’ believe that although we may have different starting points, we can all acquire new skills, and develop and grow within the areas that we decide to work on. These people don’t see failure as confirmation that they’re not good at something, but as an experience to learn from and an opportunity to stretch their existing abilities for future career success. Many people also have a mixed mindset – a fixed mindset about some things and a growth mindset about others.
A growth mindset is hugely important for professional development. It is a key aspect of resilience, overcoming challenges, and navigating change and uncertainty, all things that can have a big impact on our career success. Those that have a natural talent for something or who are already experts in their field also benefit from a growth mindset. It’s easy to fall into a talent trap if we find something that comes naturally to us, but relying on talent alone isn’t always enough – a thirst for learning and continuously striving to improve ourselves puts us in a better place to reach our goals and unlock our full potential.
Like many other things, our mindset is something that we can work on if it’s not where we want it to be. Here are three effective tips to rewire your mindset for success:
1. Be curious
It’s really valuable to cultivate an interest in learning new things, whether it’s in your area of expertise or in ones you know nothing about. In a work context, this means learning more about what you do – this could be talking to other experts, taking courses, reading books relevant to your industry or field, and keeping on top of new ways of doing things. You should be practising this even if you feel like you’re at the top of your game because the world around us is constantly changing. New technologies emerge, new research comes out, even pandemics happen and what we’ve always known might no longer be as relevant.
No matter how much experience or knowledge we have in a certain area, we can always broaden our perspective or pick up something new. It’s also good to be curious in the broader sense. Reading things just because they seem interesting or taking a course in a subject you know nothing about simply because it’s fun will flex your curiosity muscles and train your growth mindset.
2. Embrace failure
A growth mindset is all about trying new things as a way to learn, even when we’re not sure of the outcome. This requires getting comfortable with the idea that things won’t always pan out. At some point, we all experience failure but it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean we are failures, and being afraid will only hold us back.
If you’re putting off doing something because you’re worried that it won’t go well, that you’ll make a mistake, or about what people will think or say, then turn it into an experiment. Set a specific timeframe for your trial and decide to only review its results at the end. Thinking about it as a process for which you’ll later assess impact takes the emotion out and eases the pressure around succeeding. Committing to a timeframe also stops you from quitting too early at the sign of any negative feedback.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you’ve made a mistake at work or something hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to, take a step back and consider what you can take away from the experience. This won’t necessarily make it any easier going through it, but it can positively change how you respond to events, think about situations, manage relationships, and do things in the future.
3. Switch up your perspective
Many of our beliefs are very deep-rooted – how we respond to things is based on our life experience, how we view the world, and our values. These are a core part of us and don’t change much over our lifetime, but if we want to keep growing and developing in our careers, we sometimes need to challenge ourselves to view things from different points of view.
When you come across an obstacle or a new situation at work, even if you know exactly how you’d like to proceed, stop for a second and jot down all the possible ways you could respond, both good and bad. Think about what other people would do, be it your partner, friends, parents, children, boss, or colleagues. You could also ask those around you for their perspective. You don’t have to go with any of these options – it might simply make you more confident in your initial response. However, it will get you into the habit of thinking through different courses of action and considering potential ways of tackling challenges. Sometimes, it may make you realise that there’s a better way of doing things.
You have the potential to continually develop the way you think and process information – your mindset has the potential to be agile. You can take control to create a mindset to thrive, even in challenging situations. Following these steps will help you to reset your mindset for career success, no matter what challenges and changes you may face in the future.
About the author: Gemma Leigh Roberts is a Chartered Psychologist, the founder of coaching platform The Resilience Edge, and author of Mindset Matters: Developing Mental Agility and Resilience to Thrive in Uncertainty, published by Kogan Page, priced at £12.99.