What problems do you want to solve in your life?
I don’t believe in problems. I believe in opportunities.
That little shift in mindset can be crucial for you to come up with a solution that will blow you away. When you see problems as opportunities, you expand your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset of possibilities.
Leaders who have an appetite for success are constantly striving and being reactive by trying to beat the rat race. They fall into competitive behaviour because they want to accomplish at all costs, and overcome and prevail any form of failure. They have this mindset to prove themselves over and over again just to be acknowledged, accepted and approved.
Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology and a teacher of the ‘growth mindset’, shares with us that the only way to expand, improve or advance as a leader is to have a hunger for learning, rather than a hunger for approval.
With that said, failures are lessons and problems are opportunities.
A fixed mindset doesn’t like to be challenged
Leaders with a ‘fixed mindset’ believe that their talents, skills and capabilities are locked in place, and that talent alone creates success without effort.
You can clearly spot a leader with a ‘fixed mindset’. They are not open to new ideas because they know best, they work with their knowledge and they are the expert.
Well, if you go into any environment with the attitude, ‘It’s good enough’, ‘I can’t make this any better’ and ‘this is way too hard’, then you will remain stuck in any situation.
A ‘fixed mindset’ avoids challenges. They are not transparent about their flaws because they believe that failure defines who you are as a leader. And guess what kind of influence that will have on their team?
A ‘fixed mindset’ is not open to feedback because they view feedback as a personal attack and criticism. Leaders of this kind like to keep their team members small for fear that their team will outshine them. They feel threatened by others’ success.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, creates motivation.
In a ‘growth mindset’, leaders believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. A growth view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
Your beliefs govern your mindset
Let’s dive into details about mindset. Mindset is the collection of beliefs that you have about yourself.
If you look a little deeper, where do these beliefs come from?
They are formed during your development years, whether you were influenced by a parent, an authority figure or a personal experience encountered at school, something that you saw on TV or heard on the radio.
Beliefs have two different type of drivers:
- Internal – produced by your emotions, intuition and sensory perception.
- External – influenced by authority, logic and science.
One way to really unpack your mindset beliefs is to ask yourself:
How do I deal with the challenges of constant rejection?
In order to be successful as a leader, I need to…
They will help you gain insight and see whether you have a growth or fixed mindset.
What would this problem do for me?
Sometimes being fixed on a problem doesn’t allow your mind to see the possibilities at hand.
Let’s flesh this out a little and put it into something tangible. The story I’m about to tell you was shared to me by my teacher, and there’s a good chance it will change your perspective.
Let’s say there is a couple and their ‘problem’ is the husband snores like a chainsaw and the wife isn’t getting any sleep. Consequently, she is agitated and has a very short fuse.
Therefore, the focus is on the ‘snoring’. They invest their time and energy in visiting all of these different sleep experts and sleeping clinics, only to return home with the problem.
But what if the wife was to look at the problem and ask, ‘what would this problem do for me?’ In other words, if this problem were to go away, what would she achieve out of the problem?
She would get a good night’s sleep.
Once you shift your focus, everything changes
Now that the focus is on the solution, guess what? The wife was able to come up with an abundance of scenarios, instead of staying stuck in the problem.
She now has so many possibilities. She could sleep in another room, she could sleep with earplugs in and she may even create a nice and relaxing sleep environment with essential oils and soft music. Or leave her partner. I had to throw that one in as a joke. But it is an option if it’s that painful for you.
I am blessed to work with some remarkable leaders, and the little quote I’ll conclude with below was something that a leader shared with me during a workshop. It’s a line Dory said in Finding Nemo that has so much depth, it’s astounding.
When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do?
Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.
Keep swimming until you find the solution.