PPM Menu

Do You Have a Fixed or a Growth Mindset?

March 14, 2024
Do You Have a Fixed or a Growth Mindset?

I want to talk to you today about a wonderful book written by a woman named Carol Dweck called Mindset: Changing How You Think To Fulfill Your Potential. It’s a wonderful book. I’ve obviously also written a book on mindset that many of you have read, The Power of Consistency.

Her book gives a very simple explanation of the two different types of mindsets that people can have. And I want you to think about it and see where you fit when it comes to that kind of thinking. And then decide if it’s something you want to change or not. So the first mindset is what Carol calls the “Fixed Mindset.”

The fixed mindset basically says, “I am what I am.” The old Popeye quote, you know? I am what I am, and I really can’t change; this is just how it is.

And part of that fixed mindset is something that can really hold you back in life. It’s a fear of trying new things or improving on things you’re not perfect at yet. It’s a mindset that can form early in life and never change if it’s not pointed out and worked on. It’s often the voice you hear from childhood about your circumstances or position in life.

We see it all the time in the sports world, actually. Those with a fixed mindset won’t try basketball or football because they don’t feel they’re tall enough. Yet the Hall of Fame has players in it shorter than you and me. They may not try playing volleyball because they don’t think they’re going to be the very best at it, or they’re afraid of criticism, etc. Yet those without this mindset walk onto campus and try out for a team, work their butts off, get scholarships to pay for school, and use that schooling to further their career.

The fixed mindset is a cousin of the limiting beliefs theory we’ve discussed before. It can really limit your willingness to take chances, try new things, and learn new things, which can be a career killer. Think about it.

If your company has taken my training or my coaching, you understand that learning and growing involves having a different mindset, a different sales process, a different way to run a service call, etc. But all those things require a willingness to learn and a willingness to take risks, right? If you’re not going to take the risk of running a sales call a new way, then you’re never going to find out if it’ll work for you or not. That’s a fixed mindset stopping your progress.

The other mindset in her book is the “Growth Mindset.”

The growth mindset is really focused on adaptability. The reality is that you are always changing. Each time you believe you fail, you instead have the ability to chalk it up as valuable experience, and this mindset lets you grow and learn from that. It’s not about failing; it’s about learning what doesn’t work and appreciating the knowledge you just gained.

The growth mindset is also about the willingness to learn new things. Those with this mindset are excited to learn new things and to try new things. If they fail, they don’t take it personally, they don’t get embarrassed, and they’re not afraid of criticism.

As a result, they can experience a lot of new opportunities and experiences in life. There is no time and energy wasted on being down in the dumps because of one failed sales call. Again, the growth mindset allows you to file the call away as knowledge of what didn’t work this time. Accumulate enough knowledge and how to use it and what will you have? You’ll have wisdom.

Wisdom gives you confidence on calls. It’s a lot like watching someone who’s just received their driver’s license versus someone who’s been driving for decades. The experienced driver has routines that feel like he is on auto-pilot because he has learned systems that work for him and he has seen just about everything on the road. That allows him to file away all those experiences and call on them to get where he’s going and to avoid accidents.

Applying the right mindset is about learning to run a sales call more effectively, obtain better close rates, higher average tickets, etc. But all of that requires that you learn something, and you might have to take risks by chartering into unfamiliar territory. One of the things I’ve always said is that in order to be successful in life and your career, you have to get comfortable with things that make you uncomfortable.

And that encompasses the growth mindset — becoming comfortable with things that are risky, unknown or untried. That’s so important because it allows us to learn new things that can improve our lot in life. We can improve our income and our sales numbers by making these improvements. But it requires doing things that make us uncomfortable (for now), and then eventually, we’ll become comfortable with them.

We’ve all seen businesses fail with a fixed mindset. Blockbuster? Fixed mindset. Netflix? Growth mindset. Amazon? Growth mindset. What about your company? What about you?

Should you be willing to try new things? And if they don’t work out, will you continue to learn? The growth mindset will take you a lot further in life. Give it some thought, and we’ll chat again soon.