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How do you Build a Growth Mindset? Find the why and answer the what

The Growth Mindset a Guide to Professional and Personal Growth.
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How come some people have a larger impact and others even though seemingly a lot more qualified or technically strong may have comparatively just little? Largely this may be attributed to the mentality or mindset of an individual.

Human brain and how it works can be unpredictable or hard to comprehend and maybe that’s why behavioral therapists, psychologists, coaches and others in this realm get paid so much. Heck, my business coach charges $275 an hour, and that’s not even considered expensive! Well what are they doing after all? Let me break it to you; They help answer very simple questions and help you build perspective by allowing you to visit angles that you didn’t see before. They do that very effectively by knowing exactly what questions to ask and how to get you to explore more parts of you. It’s really you doing most of the talking and they’re sitting there helping you talk clearly to get to your own conclusions, that’s really all! Now, if you’re disappointed knowing this, don’t be because this really truly helps at many levels because of our own thinking habits.

Let’s break down the growth mindset by defining both these words;

Growth in literal and very simple terms is; increasing in size. For every individual there’s a lot more definitions that would apply based on their own interpretation of what they qualify as meaningful when
referring to increasing in size. Here’s how I define growth; knowing what you aspire and doing what it takes to get there with eagerness, passion, desire, devotion and deterrence, and getting success from it.

Mindset, again in simple terms, is the way of thinking or mentality. A more elaborate explanation would tell us that mentality is attitude. It is how one would approach; life, situations, difficulties, ambitions, setbacks, successes, traumas or gains. Mindset is what drives you and is the contributing factor when it comes to determining where and how you will end up. When speaking of mindset; There are a variety of different types of mindsets, or mentalities, that people possess such as; fixed VS growth, positive VS negative, entrepreneurial VS mindfulness.

A growth mindset is based on the idea that intelligence and abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication, that your essential qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. It assumes that everyone can change and grow through experience and practice. A growth mentality sees failure not as a detriment, but as a springboard to success. People with a growth mindset actively seek learning opportunities which result in more professional success.


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Now, how do you build a growth mindset? Find the why and answer the what

To get to the why, you need to find answers to these questions; what would make you get up every morning that would make you happy, have the passion for it and you can make money doing it?

People so often struggle with goal setting in life and in general because they have very few impressions on what they would really like to do, how would they like to contribute, what value do they see bringing around them or what impact should they have and on who? And how all of these answers can match to their profession and what they do to make a living.

These answers really can only come from yourself. However, you’re lucky Japanese have identified a process to define this concept, Ikigai.

IKIGAI A Japanese concept meaning: A reason for being

Coming back to the topic. Here’s how the growth mindset works:

Identify your motivations and what drives you

What needs to be valued the most before identifying and setting growth goals for yourself has to be; understanding what you define as a goal should compel you to work towards it with eagerness, passion, desire, devotion and deterrence, and you should be hyped to get success from it. People run after things 1. Not knowing what meaning they want to get out of it which creates a void in their actions and where they want to go, and 2. Not understanding that the fun is in the process. If you enjoy the process = grind + hard work + perseverance, you will grow. This comes from your vision. Bigger is better! Your vision for yourself has to be clear, you should be able to see yourself with that outcome and you need to define how you will celebrate when you get there. The Ikigai concept will help clarify this for you and help bridge your professional goals.

Identify a 3Y goal

This has to be a goal that stretches you and you would consider aggressive. The 3Y goal can be a combination of multiple items rather than 1 very specific goal. 3Y goals are not too far out and not too close in. They are placed just where you would give yourself enough time to plan and execute that plan. An example 3Y goal is;

  • Learn to code proficiently, use skill to make $5000 per month from ecommerce store development
  • Become a master performer in b2b sales, make 3X of base salary in bonuses each year while building your own network and connections that enable opportunities in motion and down the road
  • Build 3 consistent and growing income streams that allow you to start completing items on your bucket list, such as make a trip each year to travel outside your home country (even nicer to put down a total monthly/annual earnings target for the 3rd year)
  • Invest in assets and acquire first 3 properties with a total worth of $X

Set Milestones

When you have your 3Y goal(s) identified, reverse engineer these to draw what it means to achieve success through those goals. Start with the 3Y mark and identify what would happen if all your goals were met? How would you then capitalize from there? An example is: write a toolbook that helps other people scale faster who have similar goals. Similarly identify at the end of Y1 and Y2 what would you have achieved that would indicate that you are on the right track? Put these major accomplishments as end of year milestones. Do so for each quarter of the 1st year. You need to have between 4-6 milestones throughout the year. Milestones are in synergy with your 3Y goals, help you monitor your progress, keep you aligned with your vision and lastly they keep you laser focused. If you missed a milestone that was a little stretched but achievable, you would know where you went off track and you can recover from it by cutting down on the slack.

Link your goals and milestones with your job

Your job accounts for most of your working hours. Mapping your professional growth with your personal objectives and larger goals is the top thing you would want to assemble, and set expectations with your manager or leader at work. Companies that foster human development, have enablement as part of their vision, and value employee growth are serious about where you want to go. In order to create alignment with your employer, it is imperative that you discuss with your managers and leaders what your plans are and how the company can help you achieve those. Often companies have someone dedicated to these discussions. Zaphyre encourages its team to set down an agenda for next 6, 9 and 12 months and outline these with the opportunities available in house. A clear plan of your trajectory, and knowing how your job is helping you accomplish your 3Y goal makes you come into work with a positive frame of mind that enables you to overachieve results. This elevates you in your roles and you see quicker progress towards roles that build your skills faster. Lots of people underestimate what good employers can do to take you where you want to go. Yes, including owning a business or business function at entrepreneurial companies!

Paint your persona

Every leader, manager, or success driven person has constants about themselves that do not change. That is the discipline that allows you to get what you started your journey for. Sketch your persona and know what defines you as an individual; qualities, habits, attributes you resonate with, attributes that you do not resonate with, personalities you say no to in life and disengage with and things that cross you and you know something went wrong. If a person sets out for success and does not have the discipline to stand up and say no to ideas that are contradictory to what their vision resonates with, they end up beating themselves. Your persona defines what you intend to become and you are it.

Overcome distractions and be okay with losing them

Tons of people fail to distinguish between distractions and diversion. Distractions set you off course while diversions get you to unwind, digress and deflect while still allowing you to get where you want to get. Things, people, events, programs that you engage with outside of your productive hours that have little or no impact on your overall learning, progress towards your goals, and becoming a better individual can be put down as distractions. When I started my first company, I figured that my degree program was a huge distraction and I couldn’t focus on the requirements of a young start up while studying full time. I ended my degree program having just 8 more subjects to go for graduation. I knew where I was getting the most value on my time investment. Someone who wants to have a growth mindset would want to actively identify distractions and set them aside. Social gatherings if they become daunting and you stay late only to feel part of something that has no outcome, are better off substituted with spending time in places that lead you to opportunities or being with and around people who are like-minded, have better or more accomplishments under their belt or you’ve got something to learn from spending time there. That is what needs to be prioritized. For someone looking to get into a growth mindset, their focus has to be on how to disassociate from things that take away from what you feel you need to do to reach your goals and milestones. Oftentimes people tend to underestimate what interests can do with effectiveness. If you can identify things that interest you highly and build those into your workflow or grind routine, you will get a lot done a lot faster. It’s hard to build a habit or change existing habits, but if you need to succeed at life, your goals and targets need to motivate you so much that you start to disassociate naturally from things that keep you away from your grind mode. If that’s too hard to achieve, reconfigure your goals because there is a lag in what you want and what you have planned.

Become an optimist

Turn a deaf ear to people who tell you that you can not do it! The growth mindset disallows all negativity in your life. No matter how adverse the situation, or how uncompromising the conditions are, someone with the growth mindset is trained to only look forward. Strong belief and trust in your ability, your right habits and behaviors, and knowing that nothing can take you down, allows you to get to a solution, an alternate or an even better plan to execute what you have set out to accomplish.

Be open to learning new techniques and developing a process for refinements

This would be as simple as being observant to your surroundings, your past performances and measuring outcomes as a result of things that you did well or did not do well. Based on what you identify you change your tactics going forward. This also includes the discipline of understanding what you need to change by being highly analytical and documenting corrections for how things need to be done in future to avoid occurrences that had a net negative impact on your results. Mix this with a habit of continuously identifying best practices, learning from individuals online who have excelled at what you want to do, spending dedicated time on identifying improvements through research and having a process to shortlist learnings that you want to implement and build them back in the process.

Be open to feedback

I have discussed the importance of taking feedback well in my last article in detail. It’s as simple as someone who doesn’t take feedback well, can’t grow at all or would grow at a very slow pace. If you are in the “I know it all” Or “I know better than you” mindset, you need to actively work on changing that. People with the growth mindset understand and welcome all feedback, no matter how harsh or shrewd it may seem. You can have tremendous skill but eliminate taking and absorbing feedback and you significantly reduce your chances of acquiring learnings needed for continuous evolution.

Have warzone rigor and effectiveness

know your enemies (your weaknesses) and adjust your approach understanding your strengths. If you’re someone who has a tendency to procrastinate, create a list of items that need to get done by a certain timeline to ensure you hit your planned milestones. Break items into smaller pieces and prioritize the easier and more urgent items upfront. This allows you to get quick wins and be more confident in yourself. Know as a person where and when you lose interest and consciously monitor your progress to avoid falling behind.

Understand that setbacks happen and it’s okay

You have heard enough times that failures are great teachers. I am not going to say the same. What I will say is, failure happens when you think you failed. The growth mindset is not allowing yourself to think that, ever. You fail when you do not achieve what you set out to do. However, if you love the process of getting there, you understand that setbacks (note, I did not say failure) are part of the process and part of the learning curve. Without setbacks, there really is no achievement, and nothing to celebrate.

Do not forget to celebrate wins!

The most important piece is to set yourself up for success by issuing yourself some celebrations and kudos on the way and thanking yourself throughout the grind. Recognition is great. People with the growth mindset do not have a tendency to depend on other people recognizing them, they recognize themselves. The best person to judge your growth is yourself. Set milestones that you find worthy of recognition at the end of each 6 months and reward yourself on hitting those!

Not everyone wants a growth mindset, and that’s fine. Those who think they want it, need to really strive to build the discipline around getting it and staying with it.

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