Why a ‘Fixed Mindset’ Is Causing You to Fail at Business

growth mindset vs fixed mindset in business

Do you believe you can accomplish what you want? When you fail at something — and we all fail at times — do you rally and push through or decide it’s time to give up?

The answer to these questions depends on whether you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.

People with a growth mindset believe that abilities are not fixed but can change over time, which keeps them going after a setback.

But if you’re a business owner or budding entrepreneur with a fixed mindset, you are in trouble. Tough times will sink you because you do not believe there is room for improvement.

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset 

If you have a fixed mindset, rather than viewing challenges as an opportunity to grow, you throw up your hands and say “I can’t do this.”

But do not let where you are now discourage you from where you can go. It is possible to develop a growth mindset as long as you are willing to work at it.

Believing in the capacity for change is what it takes to grow personally and professionally.

Every action we take is rooted in what we believe. Which is why a fixed mindset is so detrimental — it operates through a filter of pessimism, constantly on the lookout for the negative to confirm existing beliefs.

8 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Ready to change your thoughts? Below are some ideas of how you can move out of a negative, fixed mindset to a growth one.

1. Take a Break

Walk around the block. Go sit in a park. This is not the same as throwing up your hands and saying, “forget it!” It is instead about getting perspective and a change of scenery before jumping back in.

2. Be Humble

Ask questions of other entrepreneurs and learn from them. Invite feedback from professionals in your circle and use what you receive to improve. Grab onto something new you can try.

3. Do Not Look Around

Okay, it is good to look around to learn from the mistakes and successes of others, but it can turn into a comparison game which is zero help.

You may find yourself labeling others as a “success” and yourself as “failure” based on limited, and often filtered, information.

So do not look around with a goal of looking like other people. You are unique. And looking like everyone us makes us boring!

4. Take on a Challenge

“What?! I just failed and you want me to do it again?” No, not the same challenge right way. (You do not want to burn out).

Is there something you can try in another area of life to continue to grow? It can provide that change of scenery mentioned above and get you connected with people outside your existing circle.

5. Change the Question

Rather than, “Where did I go wrong?” ask “What did I learn” or “What can I do differently?” Those are very different questions.

Wrong focuses on the negative. Flipping the question does not deny things went wrong, but reframing gives you somewhere to go rather than just saying something was “wrong.”

There are insights you can glean from a failure that inform your next decision. You may identify gaps in knowledge that need to be filled or when it is time to pivot.

6. Surround Yourself with Likeminded People

 Stay away from the Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers. These are the people who will tell you “It is not meant to be” or “You can only do so much.”

Instead surround yourself with people who are motivated, goal driven, and positive.

7. Revisit your action plan

Dreaming big is a good thing. It can inspire you to work hard to reach your goals. But an unreasonable action plan can lead to discouragement.

When you invite feedback from others, you may discover the six-month goal for your business should be revisited as a twelve-month goal.

8. Be Willing to Let Go

Additional learning may be what you need to continue on a set path, but other times we need to change courses. If it turns out that your path was not the right one, reframe it as a journey that led you to where you are now.

Our priorities and life circumstances change over time. It helps to ask if what you are doing is because you want to or because you should.  You may even discover that your actions are no longer congruent with your goals. Maybe it was even a goal that others had for you.

That can happen when we live on autopilot. Things that are familiar are not necessarily the right thing. When you let go of the familiar, you may discover so much more.

Your Thoughts Are Driving Your Actions

Learn more about the growth mindset in Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and take a short quiz online to see where you stand.

Your thoughts are powerful and impact the course of your life since thoughts drive your decisions and decisions drive your actions. Believe that you are capable, learn from failures, and know that is is okay to pivot. It is not a matter of if you can change, it is when it will happen.  

How will you work toward (or enhance) a growth mindset this year?

About the Author

Tina Arnoldi

Tina Arnoldi is Analytics and AdWords Qualified, and one of the few people in the United States recognized as a Google Developer Expert (GDE) for marketing. Her agency, 360 Internet Strategy, is also a Google Partner. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn.

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