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Does a growth mindset equal success?

May 25, 2021
Gareth Whyatt
A growth mindset

It is well documented that our ‘mindset’ can stagnate as we get more comfortable in our careers. The 9-5 routine, coupled with the firefighting approach that often goes hand in hand with completing daily tasks means that negativity and cynicism can creep in.

Even if the whole world seems to be talking about ‘hustle’ and the thousands of benefits that come with beginning your day at 5am. Who needs sleep anyway?

Opening up our mind or changing our mindset can prove tricky, and in some cases can be mistaken for stubbornness. However, your mindset is a powerful thing. It can determine what ideas and experiences you’re open to, your success in business, love, and life, and much more. Having a growth mindset and understanding the ways your mindset might be fixed can help you grow as a person, find success, purpose and overall a more positive and content person.

However, many people aren’t clear on what constitutes a growth mindset or how to grow in that particular area. This really interesting article explains what a mindset is and how you can determine the type of mindset you have?

Yes. there is more than one! A fixed mindset essentially means that you believe your attributes and abilities are inherently fixed and unchanging. Most of how you think about yourself in regard to personality, drive, setbacks, and goals grows directly out of your mindset. It’s common for people with a fixed mindset to believe that their general qualities are fixed traits that can’t be changed.

If you have a growth mindset, however, you tend to see your levels of intelligence, skill, talent, and success as starting at a basic level but with the capacity to grow. You will embrace the stepping stones towards development and improvement – with the opening of your mind comes a commitment to getting better, smarter, and more talented.

If you have a growth mindset, you believe everyone can grow and change through application, exercise, and a lot of hard work. Ultimately, your mindset will determine the way you live your life, see the world, and make decisions; shaping your entire perception of what’s attainable or achievable, and what’s out of your reach.

The same can be applied to your working life or career. If you think you can’t – then you probably won’t, but let your growth mindset kick in, and the working world is your oyster. A growth mindset is about changing your behaviour.


A mindset for success

Do you wake up in the morning and look forward to working? How much time do you spend thinking about your work because you love it and not because you have to? This, the experts say, suggests that you have found your passion – which can be the key to work success.

Passion and success are results of your mindset. Here’s a quote from Apple founder Steve Jobs: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Or Oprah Winfrey: “If you really want to fly, harness your power to your passion. Honour your calling. Everybody has one.”

Of course, we all need more than inspirational quotes to motivate us, and many of us will have doubts about our ability or be nervous about change when it comes to starting a new job or progressing our career. Think, for a moment, about all the thoughts that play in your head as you move through your day-to-day life. Narratives like “I’m not a numbers person”, “I’m not good with technology”, “I don’t cope well with change”. These are thoughts that are subconsciously stuck on replay in our minds, whose voices never seem to quieten, gradually chipping away at our sense of self-belief.

This is your mindset – and where a fixed mindset v growth mindset will put you not only in the driving seat but in the fast lane. This article links to a really thought-provoking study about how the way your think can impact your ability to learn.


Is there a link between mindset and senior positions?

Have you ever wondered why some people have the ability to bounce from success to success, without falter? No one has that ability, but it can seem like that. What we DO have the ability to do, is to change our mindset. It may be easier said than done to adopt a ‘can do’ attitude with so much self-doubt. But fortunately, many of the mindsets, skills and attributes required for success in business can be learned, strengthened, and nourished through diligence and a willingness to grow. Much of this is also down to self-acceptance and becoming truly accountable for your decisions, as well as your failures – obstacles should become opportunities.

The comfort zone is a wonderful place, but it doesn’t push you to achieve more. You will never know what you can truly achieve or live up to without stepping outside of it. Don’t always play it safe – choose challenging tasks over safe ones to help you overcome your fear of failure of looking stupid.

If you think someone is more accomplished than you, don’t see them as a threat – instead, change the way you think to consider how you can learn from them. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you’re not going to master a new skill overnight, its ok to not full know how you are going to achieve your goals – whats important is that you have them.

Changing your mindset means you must start to approach everything as an opportunity to learn and grow. Make time and don’t give up. Just think of all the skills you could have under your belt, that your fixed mindset is stopping you from developing – those things that could have won you that promotion earlier or are so crucial to growing your company. Don’t make the excuse that you “don’t have enough time”, to develop them, or “that’s someone else’s job”– instead, carve out the time.

The highest-achieving people in history appreciated this. Just look at Albert Einstein, who observed that “it’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” And if you need some more motivation, check out this short video from Manchester City players – mindset applies to everyone!


 Can a fixed mindset limit career success?

Another popular phrase is ‘being stuck in a rut’ – and again, this goes back to our mindset. So, for the sake of your own career success, now is the time to shift your way of thinking, to block those damaging thoughts that circle in your mind, those thoughts that have the potential to rob you of the opportunity to build new skills – skills that could help secure your future employability.

Never before has the world of work been bombarded with so much change, change from all angles, change that means that businesses and the people that work within them must adapt, test, learn and challenge themselves on a near-daily basis.

For most, this means operating outside of our comfort zones more often. It means a shift from working in set spheres in which we know we can perform well, spheres in which there’s no perceived risk of failure or of looking stupid. A move to dealing with different departments and external partners and suppliers more regularly, to interacting with people who we may deem more knowledgeable than us, people we are more likely to see as a threat.

So, to be successful in today’s world of work, and in the future, we must all get far better at flourishing in these sorts of challenging situations, instead of letting the voice in our heads take over.

Persistence and perseverance with problems we may have stalled over before now mean refusing to give up. Let’s not be embarrassed or nervous about seeking inspiration from the people we would have once shied away from. Essentially, we must all shift our mindset to see the world and everything in it as a never-ending opportunity to learn. Because, when we do, we’re far more likely future-proof our skills and expertise.

Employers are recognising this too, with many seeking to attract candidates to their businesses who are clearly willing to invest time and effort into developing their abilities, rather than those who believe their skills in certain areas are fixed, never to be expanded and improved. After all, these are the people who can really help them drive their businesses forward.

5 ways you can develop a career or growth mindset

There is no doubt that switching your fixed mindset to a growth mindset will help you to develop your career. And this isn’t rocket science or down to deep psychology mind tricks. Mindset stems from our own set of beliefs, and a growth mentality assumes that views can be changed when they now long allow us to achieve our goals. Take stock, think about the obstacles or thoughts that are holding you back and then try and take control of the situation:

Embrace failure – everyone has setbacks. Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school three times before getting his big break and author JK Rowling suffered numerous knockback. It’s vital that you use failures as an opportunity to learn, in order to not repeat them.

Be curious about everything. People with a growth mindset are always on the lookout for learning opportunities that result in more career success. Research shows that, while less successful people read mostly for entertainment, those at the top are avid readers of self-improvement books. In fact, 85% of successful people read two or more self-improvement or educational books per month.

Go beyond your limits. Another way to foster a growth mentality is to push yourself beyond what you think you can do.

Sniff out a challenge. Challenges are opportunities that propel you forward towards your goals and help you grow. According to C.S. Lewis, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Don’t underestimate the power of being able to overcome obstacles.

Ask for feedback and don’t be afraid on criticism – particularly if you want to grow; you will have the confidence to ask for feedback and learn from it.



In short, your mindset can determine your success, and adopting a growth mindset opens up a new realm of career opportunities. If you want to take a new approach to your career, or start looking for a new role, contact a member of the team today.


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About The Author

Gareth Whyatt

After 12 years’ experience within the industry predominantly focusing on Operations and Supply Chain, founding The Sterling Choice has provided me with the opportunity to take a step back and focus on my passion for developing people and teams! As the self-proclaimed Head of Training I love seeing people develop and grow through the recruitment ranks and ultimately achieving both their personal and business goals.

For me The Sterling Choice is all about fun, results and collective success

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