Updated: Mar 23
The mindset of success
Let’s start with how this story ends: You can create, grow, and enhance a mindset of success.
You may be overwhelmed with all the social media posts and blogs about success and people who succeed. If you dig behind the story and promotion, at the core to the success story is someone who had some talent, a goal, a belief they could achieve more, and a drive to realize success. That’s what made a difference. They didn’t see what was in their way; they gave all their energy, commitment, and dedication to hard work. They overcame failure, and yes there absolutely was failure and learning, on the path to success.
I am a professional business developer. It’s a profession that makes some people feel uncomfortable. Why would anyone choose to encounter a high frequency of rejection and “no’s” every day? The answer is easy for me: when you do get to the “yes,” it’s the best feeling of accomplishment there is. Business development takes a healthy dose of optimism, discipline, persistence, and, most importantly, mindset. Mindset matters in many things, it really matters in business development.
Two types of mindsets
We’ve all been in that meeting when someone’s response to a suggestion or a story is “we’ve done that before,” and then they go on to share all the reasons it didn’t work. The more expert the professional is, or expertise-driven their role is, the more likely they are to say something like that. You’ve just encountered the fixed mindset. The power of people is that we can choose our mindset.
Dr. Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, categorized two mindsets: fixed and growth. Her research focused on traditional psychology and the power of people’s beliefs. The power of mindset is an important foundation of my coaching work with clients. The following graphic captures the attributes of mindsets that we exhibit personally and professionally. How does it apply to you, your approach to learning, and your effort to develop?
(Dr. Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success)
Why the growth mindset?
In my posts, there is a recurrent theme of a fast-paced and changing world. What we know today and what works today will likely change, and cause a need for change within ourselves. These conditions drive evolutions in our work environment, in our roles, and in ourselves.
Adapting and managing change around us takes the right mindset.
I see the growth mindset as the basis to shape people, teams, and cultures for success. The growth mindset is the basis for a mindset of success.
In my work with my clients, there are so many topics of positive potential to talk about, and yet a theme that permeates our conversations is limitations. Are they truly limitations or is it a mindset of limitations?
Often these perceived limitations are a product of one’s beliefs, which can be heavily influenced by our upbringing, environment, and role models. Importantly, these beliefs can be changed, and that is the foundation of my work.What drives my approach to coaching is that mindset is an integral part of change and growth. Mindset can highly influence realizing your goals.
I spent years as a business development professional. I chalked up my success to optimism, broad shoulders, and thick skin, but now I see that it was a growth mindset that saw me through my roles, career changes, pursuits, wins, and losses. I can also say that the more expert I became, fixed mindset began to creep in.
My thinking was opened to the power mindset when I read an excerpt from an article by Dr. Carol Dweck. It began to change how I saw people’s personalities, and as a coach, how I could help people redefine their success.
We have access to an abundance of success and motivational books. What all of this "success talk" boils down to, is your belief of whether your qualities are carved in stone, or whether you can evolve, develop, and maybe even change some of your attributes.
What do you want to believe about yourself?
Embracing your growth mindset
What drives you: success or growth?
An important foundation of the growth mindset is that everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. How we embed learning in our lives and career evolves over time and shows up differently in work environments. For professionals who work in environments that value experience or expertise, success is driven by what you know and rewards the fixed mindset.
I use an assessment to help people see how learning, success, and growth matter to them. At the core of the assessment is:
Having a goal that requires you to develop, change, or learn
Being open to new areas of learning
Acceptance that your own abilities assessment may be wrong
Being open to feedback
Having a willingness to let go of what feels comfortable
The honest answer for myself is that I oscillate between both a fixed and growth mindset. I can feel the difference when I show up and engage with my fixed mindset! The expert in me does enable a fixed mindset. My coaching business injects my daily routine with a need and desire to embrace my growth mindset. For those that see a growth mindset as an important part of their success, I want to help them clearly see that potential and define what could be possible for them.
Driving my work with clients is a consistent integration of working on their mindset for growth, success, and outcomes. This is fueled by Dr. Carol Dweck’s work. There is a statement in her book that captures why mindset matters: “With the right mindset and the right teaching, people are capable of a lot more than we think"
(Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success).
Don’t protect yourself from failure. Failure is learning, and learning enables success.
When you next walk into a meeting, put your fixed mindset on pause, patiently leave 30 seconds before you respond, and let the discussion flow with an “I don’t know the right answer” or “what can I learn” view. The expert in you can wait.
Do a scan of people you admire or see as role models. If you dig into their journey and how they’ve realized their greatest success, all will likely have a story of effort praised, hard work, continuous learning, and a growth mindset. They found their success in learning and improving, not just in winning.
The facts tell us our economies are struggling, competition has never been tougher, and technology is constantly changing. We are all wanting to keep up and be successful. There are times when change can start with ourselves. A mindset shift is one area of focus. I’d like to get people thinking less about intellect and talent and more about believing in effort and growth. We’ve got more potential to leverage and growth work to do.
You can create, grow, and enhance a mindset of success. Enjoy learning and developing new things!
Contact PIVOTAL COACHING for a Mindset of Success Self-Assessment resource.
About Lisa W. HaydonLisa W. Haydon is the President and Founder of Pivotal Coaching Inc. She left her comfortable corporate career several years ago to follow her passion of helping people realize their potential and companies to realize high performance. Lisa is a growth focused entrepreneur, leadership development consultant and certified executive coach. To her clients, she brings business experience with prestigious corporations and continuous education. Lisa’s work in business operations and B to B sales expertise allowed her to create a differentiated coaching model and client experience. Lisa and Pivotal Coaching are known for 1:1 and cohort Programs in leadership development and sales effectiveness.