By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
That got your attention! Are you ready for it? Drum roll…
Mindset! But, not just any mindset, I’m talking abundance over limitations, possibility over impossibility, positivity over negativity, victor over victim. Your mindset is the critical player in the outcomes of your life. And, if motivation and achievement are your goal, you need to abandon the negative, limiting, fixed mindset and harness the positive, abundant, growth mindset.
Not sure what I am talking about? In her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” author and mindset expert Carol Dweck discusses the key differences between a fixed mindset and growth mindset; these key differences will determine your level of success. These mindsets are polar opposites. The growth mindset has a desire to learn and embrace challenges while a fixed mindset wants to look smart and avoid challenges. The growth mindset persists when faced with obstacles, views effort as the path to mastery and learns from criticism while a fixed mindset gives up quickly when faced with obstacles, views effort as pointless, and ignores negative feedback. A growth mindset person finds lessons and inspiration in the success of others while a fixed mindset person is threatened by the success of others.
What is the result? The growth mindset believes they can get better with effort. Since failure is embraced as a tool to learn and improve, they try, improve, and put in the extra effort that leads to high levels of achievement. Growth mindset individuals have feelings of free will, or that they can become and accomplish anything with the right amount of time, effort, and work. On the flip side, the fixed mindset believes you either can do something or you can’t, that abilities are inherent, not honed. Since failure is viewed as a limit of their abilities, they stick with things they already know and do not try new things, which leads to early plateaus in skills and achieving less than their full potential. Fixed mindset individuals have a feeling that their achievements are already determined, that they can not change the cards they have been dealt.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?!?
The mindset you subscribe to is the secret sauce to unlocking everything you ever dreamed of!
Growth mindset harnesses the power of yet, which gives you a path towards something and focuses on effort, strategy and progress while fixed mindset stresses the right now, which gives a finite path of success or failure and focuses on immediate results. While we may be naturally wired towards one mindset over the other, you can retrain your brain towards the self-serving growth mindset and forgo the self-limiting fixed mindset.
The key to changing your mindset is self-awareness; notice situations that trigger a fixed mindset. Here are four steps Dweck suggests on her website to change your mindset from fixed to growth:
Step 1: Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice”
This is the inner critic that speaks negativity to you like, “Are you sure you can do that? or “what is you fail?” when facing a new challenge. When hitting an obstacle, this voice says things like, “If only you had talent,” or “I knew you couldn’t do it.” Once you know you have a fixed mindset for a certain situation, you can anticipate and listen inwardly for this voice.
Step 2: Recognize that you have a choice
You can interpret the inner critic in two ways: either it is right and you have limitations on your talent and ability or it is wrong and you need to step up your effort, change your strategies, and continue to develop. The first is a fixed mindset while the second is a growth mindset. The shift that needs to happen is choosing to move towards growth and out of the fixed mindset.
Step 3: Talk back to the inner critic with a growth mindset voice
Basically, tell that little jerk to sit down and shut up...better yet, watch me try! Seriously, when the inner critic says, “What if you fail-you’ll be a failure”, flip the script to the growth mindset and answer, “Failure is needed to be successful.” Journaling these dialogues can be a helpful way to catch what your inner critic is saying and practice flipping the script.
Step 4: Take the growth mindset action
Once you have detected your inner critic and flipped the script on her, the final step is taking the necessary action that will lead to growth, that will put you on the path to achieving your goal. This could include taking on a new challenge, learning from a setback, persisting despite obstacles, or learning from feedback.
There are many strategies that can be used to promote a growth mindset. One that Dweck mentions in regards to children and learning is to praise based on effort, not inherent ability. This works for anyone; celebrate the progress you are making! The other is to expand your possibilities through growth-minded questions such as “what mistake did I make that taught me something?” or “what did I learn today?” or “what can I learn from this?” Self-reflection questions determine your focus and influence your reality, and growth mindset questions keep you in the curious, positive, abundant space where dreams are put into action and become your reality. And that, my friends, is the secret sauce to getting everything you ever wanted.
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.