Starting a business isn’t for everyone. It requires purpose, dedication, and strategy. Once you have successfully launched your business, you'll learn that keeping it up and running is a bigger challenge! Some companies fail, while others manage to grow and succeed. Why is that?
Every story of a successful business person is different, but they all have one thing in common: having a growth mindset. This mindset is marked by constantly remembering that you can improve and evolve, no matter how much you've achieved — or failed. Why is a growth mindset important in business? And how do you know if you have it or not?
What Does "Growth Mindset" Mean?
Your mindset is your way of thinking and your opinions. It's a set of beliefs that shape how you interact with the world around you. The creation of a mindset starts in early childhood, with praising and labelling as the two main factors. Generally, your mindset impacts your failure or success, including in business.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, coined the phrase "growth mindset" and defined it as viewing intelligence, abilities, and talents as learnable. With a growth mindset, you believe you can improve through effort. When it comes to business, you think that all your efforts will lead to success, regardless of what you go through.
You might think, "Isn't that the same as having a positive attitude?" Not really. A growth mindset involves more than being optimistic about the future. It also requires taking risks, learning from mistakes, and being open to feedback. Moreover, it's not something that everyone has. Some people have a fixed mindset, where they believe their abilities and talents are static.
Fixed Vs. Growth Mindset
Praising and labeling, as mentioned earlier, create and shape a person's mindset from childhood. According to Dweck, children who receive praise for their talents tend to develop a fixed mindset. On the other hand, process praise (praise for effort) and constructive criticism create a growth mindset.
For example, if you ace a test and your teacher and parents praise you for being "smart," you might grow up with a fixed mindset. But if they praise you for studying hard, you'll develop a growth mindset, believing that your hard work will take you far.
Labelling can also create a fixed mindset. It's all about stereotypes, such as boys being better at sports or girls being better at cooking. When children are labeled as something, they start to believe it themselves which can severely limit their potential.
Unlike a growth mindset, a fixed mindset only focuses on what you are or what you are not. Effort means nothing, and you see mistakes as failures. With this mindset, you believe that you either have what it takes to make a business succeed — or you don’t. Everything is set in stone and you can't do anything to change it.
A growth mindset does the opposite. It encourages you to work hard, take risks, and make mistakes. It's the constant belief that through persistence and effort, you develop new skills and talents that you can use to reach your business goals. What matters most with this mindset is hard work.
The Benefits of a Growth Mindset in Business
Why is a growth mindset important in business?
Anyone in business knows how quickly the market changes. One day, people need something; the next, they don't. The industry requires business owners to be agile and flexible to adapt quickly to new trends and ideas. With a growth mindset in business, you can succeed with the following advantages.
Objective View on Failures
With a growth mindset, you view failure as part of the learning process. Instead of getting discouraged and giving up, you focus on how to learn from it and move forward. You use it as an opportunity to improve both in business and life!
When you reflect on your mistakes, you can use them to create an action plan that helps you reach your goals. You view them as a challenge you can overcome, not a limitation. A growth mindset means your setbacks don't mean the end of your business. Instead, they are a chance to take the right steps to lead you closer to success.
A growth mindset also cultivates resilience. In the business world, going through tough times, such as financial trouble, tough competition, and diminishing morale, is inevitable. Some will opt to simply run away from difficult situations and look for the easy way out. But with a growth mindset, you don't give up so easily. You can face these roadblocks head-on and look for ways to work through them.
A growth mindset helps you keep going, no matter how complicated the situation is. It keeps you focused on the long-term goal and encourages you to look for solutions rather than give in to feeling overwhelmed. As a leader in your business, resilience is essential for success. When your team sees you pushing through despite the hardships, they gain inspiration and strength to carry on, too.
Anticipation and Preparation for Risks
Another key benefit of a growth mindset is that it helps you anticipate and prepare for risks. With this mindset, instead of seeing risks as a threat, you view them as challenges. You know that a specific decision might lead to failure, and you plan for it from every angle.
From day one, starting and running a business is all about risks. There's the risk of running out of money, not finding the right customers, or making mistakes. But with a growth mindset, you can devise a backup plan or two to help ensure you stay within your goals. As a result, you're better equipped to make sound decisions.
Connection With Customers
Without your customers, your business cannot succeed. Having a growth mindset helps you to form connections with them. When you make genuine efforts to understand their needs and preferences, your customers will see it and have a sense of loyalty to your business.
Business owners with a fixed mindset tend to fear reaching out to customers and exploring innovative ideas. This mindset is a formula for failure! In the business world, you need to be brave and confident enough to try new things that could contribute to your business' growth. Eventually, you have to focus on the result rather than the process of creating the service or product.
Less Stress, More Happiness!
Lastly, having a growth mindset means that you can enjoy the ride. You manage your expectations and don't pressure yourself too hard. You have more patience and a deeper understanding that success takes time. Thus, you're less likely to feel overwhelmed or stressed about your business!
Well, stress is always a part of business, but it doesn't mean you should let it take over your life. With a growth mindset, you can find the balance between stress and happiness and keep your business running smoothly. Doesn't that sound better than constantly worrying that your business is doomed?
How To Adopt a Growth Mindset for Your Business
Having a fixed mindset isn't your fault. It results from your environment, childhood, experiences, and much more. It's also not your end-all-be-all! You always have the chance to change your mindset, and you can start by fostering an environment that encourages a growth mindset.
Try to incorporate "yet" in your vocabulary. Instead of saying, "I'm not a master of this," you can say, "I'm not a master of this yet.” This simple word helps you recognize that it's okay not to have everything figured out immediately. You can still work on it! "Yet" implies that you're working toward a goal and that you have the potential to do better.
Be More Mindful
Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of yourself in the present moment. When you're mindful, you recognize your thoughts and feelings and understand how they affect your decisions. It helps you step back from the situation, see it from a different perspective, and develop better solutions! Mindfulness takes practice, so keep going even if it doesn't come naturally.
Say Yes to Challenges
To adopt a growth mindset means to strive to take on new challenges. It doesn't have to be something big or monumental like starting your own business. Start small and challenge yourself to try something new. You can also challenge your employees and customers to think differently, explore opportunities, and come up with innovative solutions.
Focus On Your Journey
Finally, focus on the journey, not the destination. Every step taken is another lesson learned, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. When you focus on the journey, you appreciate the process and discover things you wouldn't have otherwise.
A growth mindset is crucial in any business because it allows you to remain open-minded, form connections with customers, and manage stress better. Not everyone has it, but everyone can adopt it!
Understanding the importance of a growth mindset in your business is the first step. The next step is actively changing your approach and creating an environment that promotes growth. Remember: success is waiting for you if you make it happen. Good luck!
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