When asking world-renowned leaders, entrepreneurs, or self-transformational coaches, “what is the key to success,” the one message they most have in common is that it can all be traced back to the mindset you carry. Having a growth mindset, meaning having an openness to change and new experiences is what sets you up for success.
On the other hand, having a fixed mindset will hold you back and prevent you from creating the life you want to live.
What is Mindset?
You may not be aware of this, but there are scripts that play out in your mind that directly affect the way success plays out in your own life. What do your scripts look like? Are they positive? Are they negative? Do you feel as though most days you have no control over your mind? These scripts reflect your mindset, and every story of success is tied to a specific type—a winning mindset.
Before we go any further, I want to make sure you understand what mindset is. It’s your thoughts and beliefs that shape your habits—thoughts and beliefs revolving around success, around money, or maybe even about yourself.
These beliefs comprise the scripts or stories you play out in your mind: the stories you tell yourself about success – good or bad, the stories about money – good or bad, the stories about yourself and your life in general – good or bad.
Do the stories you tell yourself sound like this?
“I can’t be successful and honest and spend quality time with my children.”
“I can’t be a great parent and a successful business owner.”
“I’ve never been responsible with my money, so why start now.”
“I can’t do that. I don’t have the experience or knowledge I need.”
My response: Says who? Where do those stories or narratives come from?
Your mindset is developed over the years based on your culture, experiences, and education. But your stories aren’t etched in stone. The great thing about mindset is that you can change these narratives and, in turn, change your beliefs to revolve around a more positive outlook.
In Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she explains that there are two kinds of mindset:
- Fixed Mindset – meaning your intelligence and talent are unchangeable.
- Growth Mindset – meaning your intelligence and talent can be developed.
To change these stories, you need to understand the two types of mindset and what kinds of thoughts and behaviors are rooted in them.
Fixed Mindset Meaning
A fixed mindset is one that will hold back your success if you let it. When you have a fixed mindset, the stories you tell yourself and how you view the world centers around the belief that you will never be more than or better than what you are right now.
Having a fixed mindset leads to a desire to look smart over actually making progress and impacting your life. This plays out in avoiding challenges, getting defensive or giving up easily, seeing effort as fruitless or worse, ignoring constructive feedback, and feeling threatened by others’ success.
As a result of having a fixed mindset, you would be likely to plateau early in your life and career and achieve less than your full potential.
Growth Mindset Meaning
What you want to have is the opposite of a fixed mindset. Successful solopreneurs have a growth mindset, meaning the stories they tell themselves and how they view the world centers around the belief that they can change and improve themselves over time with intentional action.
Having a growth mindset leads to having a desire to learn and strive toward success. Therefore, those with a growth mindset tend to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as a path to mastery, learn from criticism, and find lessons of inspiration in others’ success.
As a result, someone with a growth mindset will reach ever-higher levels of achievement.
How to Shift a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset
If you recognize that you have a fixed mindset, either in general or about a particular aspect of life, it’s important to know that this isn’t a life sentence. You can change and evolve; in fact, merely accepting this to be true is a growth mindset shift.
So if you want to change your ways, I have six steps to share with you to shift from having a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
1. Change the Stories You Tell Yourself
Go from saying to yourself, “I can’t be successful and honest and spend quality time with my children,” to saying instead, “I can be successful, honest, and know my children.”
Go from saying, “I can’t be a great mom and a successful business owner,” to instead telling yourself, “I am a great mom and a successful business owner. #BossMom!”
2. Change the Questions You Ask Yourself and Others
Questions lead to answers, so they help drive the narrative. What you are putting out is what you are getting back. So it’s important to ask positive, generative questions, such as:
- What specific actions can I take to make sure that I am successful, but I am honest and know my children?
- How can I be a great parent and a successful business owner?
- What would that look like? Be specific, and don’t be afraid to go for the gold when describing your ideal.
- What behaviors and actions would I be taking?
- Who do I know that I can ask for help?
That last question contains a clue. If you are caught in a negative, fixed mindset thinking cycle, seek out a mentor and ask them how they are able to do what you want to achieve. The trick is to find a story that your mind finds plausible. Ask them for specifics about what they are doing right, and details about their mistakes. Even if their circumstances don’t match your own, you can still take away gems to move your thinking forward, rather than staying stuck.
3. Take Action
Remember, a fixed mindset is one that’s stuck and causes you to stay stuck. The opposite of this is progress; it’s a growth mindset, meaning you need to get moving and take action.
Start by determining what habits and actions you want to start doing. Make a list that you can refer back to and begin modeling those specific behaviors and actions.
When my oldest daughter went to college, I wanted to make sure that I did not lose touch with her, as I know I am not the best at staying in touch. So I set up a reminder to go off in my calendar every Wednesday to remind me to reach out to her to see how she was doing. Otherwise, I could’ve fallen into the trap of believing the story I was telling myself—that I wasn’t good at staying in touch.
Consider the behaviors that you want to change or new behaviors you want to adopt. Take action, learn, adjust, and keep growing.
4. Begin Meditating
Before you click away and dismiss this advice, just know that I felt the same way. I imagined someone sitting on a mountaintop somewhere in complete silence. It seemed way “out there” and not something I could see myself doing. But that was a fixed mindset perspective. The best advice I can give you is just to try it.
I have been meditating daily for nearly two years now. My experience has been, and even mainstream science confirms, that it will rewire your brain for the better. As a result of giving meditation a try and sticking with it, and liking the results, I am now a huge fan.
I highly recommend finding an app to help you meditate. Because we have a Peleton bike, I use the guided meditations on their app. There are different types and lengths of meditations, but just start simple, and you’ll begin to see a shift into more positive, expansive thinking about life and business.
5. Read Daily
Adopting a growth mindset means being open to learning. Gaining new knowledge opens up new perspectives and possibilities.
Commit to reading at least ten pages of a good book every day. Find self-help books, mindset books, motivational books, or different genres you enjoy reading. Whatever works for you to get you into a growth mindset. Just read. Fill your mind with good positive energy every day. You will be surprised by how your mind will begin to change in a very short time.
There are all kinds of books out there, but one of my favorites is You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. It’s all about getting your mind right and going for it—whatever “it” is!
6. Anything is Possible
You can change from having a fixed to a growth mindset; anything is possible! You simply have to find out what those negative stories are that you’re telling yourself and begin making mindful habits to shift into the story you’d rather be telling.
You can be successful, honest, and know your children.
You can be a great parent and a successful business owner.
You may not have been responsible with your money in the past, so why not start now?
You can do that thing even if you don’t have the experience or knowledge you need.
Whatever story you’re telling yourself, is it serving you and the life you want to create? If not, don’t be afraid to make changes.
If you need help mastering your finances, including cultivating a growth mindset around your finances so that you can create the freedom to build the life you want, schedule a complimentary consultation appointment.
Gabe Nelson, CFP®, is the principal and founder Gabe Nelson Financial, Inc. (GNF) is a Registered Investment Advisory firm based in Sioux Falls, SD. GNF offers fee-based financial planning and investment advisory services to solopreneurs and self-employed professionals. Clients receive personal attention from a financial planner dedicated to helping them reach short and long term financial goals with specialized insight into the particular challenges and opportunities that arise in entrepreneurship. Gabe can be reached at 605.553.9180, via email at email@example.com, or on the web at gabenelsonfinancial.com.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.