Many of us would like to be more self-assured, but the path to building confidence is often obstructed by self-doubt and fear of failure. Adopting a growth mindset can be the key to unlocking your true potential and building unwavering confidence.
Fixed mindset vs. growth mindset
Psychologist Carol Dweck identified two mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that their qualities and abilities are fixed, whereas people with a growth mindset believe that they can change and grow.
When people believe that their qualities and abilities are fixed, this can lead lead them to behave in ways that protect their identity and their self-esteem. For example, a person with a fixed mindset may:
Avoid challenges for fear of failure or not being perfect.
Give up, make excuses or blame others when faced with obstacles.
Get defensive, angry or feel defeated when faced with criticism.
Feel jealous or intimidated by the success of others.
These behaviors are not conducive to feeling good about oneself or having confidence. They are merely protecting one’s self-worth.
I hate to admit it, but years ago before I read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success How we Can Learn to Fulfill our Potential, this was me. I didn’t realize it was called a fixed mindset, but I lived in a place of fear of people seeing my deficiencies, so I played small. Learning that I could adopt a new mindset was life changing for me and I now practice the concepts I share here daily.
The Power of a Growth Mindset
When you embrace a growth mindset, you see challenges as opportunities for growth, setbacks as stepping stones, and effort as the path to mastery. This mindset allows you to approach life with a sense of curiosity and resilience, rather than fear of failure, setting the stage for building confidence.
Developing a growth mindset can positively impact your confidence in several ways:
Learning from failures: A growth mindset sees failures as valuable learning experiences rather than as signs of inadequacy. When you understand that setbacks are a natural part of the learning process, you become more resilient and self-assured in the face of adversity.
Effort and improvement: People with a growth mindset focus on putting in effort and embracing the learning process rather than solely seeking immediate success. This mindset acknowledges that improvement comes from continuous learning and hard work, enhancing your confidence as you see progress over time.
Self-belief and self-worth: As you witness your own development and the positive outcomes of your efforts, your belief in your abilities and self-worth naturally grows. This increased self-belief fosters greater confidence in your skills and talents.
Openness to feedback: A growth mindset encourages you to seek and welcome constructive criticism, as it presents an opportunity for improvement. When you are open to feedback, you can refine your skills and knowledge, which reinforces your confidence in your ability to learn and grow.
Comparing with yourself: Rather than comparing yourself to others, a growth mindset prompts you to compare your progress to your past self. Seeing how far you've come and the improvements you've made can boost your confidence and motivation to continue striving for further growth.
Ways to Foster a Growth Mindset
Add qualifiers like “yet” or “for now” to your self-talk. See how it feels to tell yourself “I can’t do that” versus “I can’t do that yet.” Let your brain process the possibilities of “yet” instead of focusing on your current situation as if it is a permanent state.
Learn to celebrate failure and you'll create a way of thinking that helps you to thrive. By viewing this as a process, almost like a scientific experiment, it helps take the emotion out of it when things don't go to plan.
First, get clear on what you're testing. What skills are you developing? Or what knowledge do you hope to gain? And, why this is important for you?
Second, set a review process. Periodically check in and review what has worked and what hasn't worked. Celebrate the successes, but also celebrate the fact you've tried if things don't go to plan.
Third, consider how you can refine your approach. What tweaks could you make? What did you learn in the process that will help you to achieve a better result in the future? Finally, plan how you'll repeat this really simple process again and again.
Try visualizing some real and artificial dilemmas.
How would you react to the situation from a fixed versus a growth mindset? Consider the following two examples:
You didn’t get the job offer you had hoped for from XYZ Company.
A fixed mindset might tell you that you were fooling yourself. You were never going to get the job, you didn’t have the skills.
Using a growth mindset, you go further. You think about your goal. What are you trying to achieve?
You may not have gotten that job, and it may have seemed like the “perfect” job for you, but there will be other jobs – and maybe one that will be even better for you. What can you learn from the interview process that you may want to do differently in the future?
"In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I'm going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here's a chance to grow."
– Carol S. Dweck, Ph.d
On your path to increased confidence
Adopting a growth mindset is a transformative journey that can lead to increased confidence and a more fulfilling life. By shifting your perspective on challenges, failures, and effort, you can unlock your true potential and overcome self-doubt. Embrace the power of a growth mindset, and watch as your confidence soars to new heights, propelling you towards success and personal growth. Remember, building a growth mindset is a continuous process, and with dedication and self-compassion, you can nurture the seeds of confidence within yourself and flourish in all aspects of life
Working with a coach is a great way to practice these new skills and be held accountable to them. Schedule a Free Discovery call at www.kogoncoaching.com to see if coaching is right for you.