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3 Steps to Hack Your Mindset

It is much easier to grow your career with a growth mindset. Here are 3 easy steps to start you.


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Ray Moukaddem

3 years ago | 6 min read

If you hear people say 'Be positive' or 'Look on the bright side', chances are you are in a fixed mindset about a situation. You have had a setback that has left you wondering and deflated.

You are not sure what to do next, so you do what the easiest thing to do is. You ruminate and go over the situation with the hope of somehow changing it.

The idea of having a fixed or growth mindset has gained momentum in recent years. It is a focus on how you react to a situation that you have encountered.

It is not the brief period of feeling down that is important; it is how you bounce back. In this article, I cover three common scenarios and discuss ways to shift your mindset into growth mode so you can reap the benefits quickly.

When feeling down, it is easy to go around in circles in your head, making it hard to move forward. There is a fundamental reason for this. Slightly technical, your brain experiences different things through 4 major chemicals, Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins.

An imbalance of any one of these is enough to either demotivate you, make you feel like an outcast, reduce your trust in others or make you feel anxious.

I will deep dive into these chemicals and leadership in a later article. For now, being aware of the levers that significantly impact your feelings is a good start.

One. You feel overwhelmed and under-skilled. 

You thought you were having a busy week when all the sudden you receive a text that tells you to check your email. You open it and scroll down the dozen of one-line forwards that talk about immediate urgency.

You get to the main body of the email, reading it you sigh out loud. You feel it is too much, and you didn't sign up for this. You don't even know where to start.

How does management think you are the right person to solve this situation? You think, surely there is one more forward you can do to get it off your plate. But you find you are stuck with it.

The self-doubting thoughts start to circle. "I can't do this". You think even if I manage to pull this off, the other team is going to be so annoyed at how I did it.

To shift your mindset into growth mode, you should be thinking about these two things.

It will be a great learning experience. Thinking about the potential failure will keep your mind in a fixed mindset. By pausing and telling yourself, it will be a great learning experience, and you will shift your negative perception too positive.

Everyone on the email chain knows this is a tough situation. The people seeking your help also know getting out of this situation will need time, energy and acceptance that the outcome might not be 100%. Start thinking of the skills you develop while working through this situation and how you will apply them to future problems you will face.

I need to get started. Complaining to your coworkers about how ridiculous everything is, is further moving your mindset into the fixed zone. The more you procrastinate, the higher your stress and the harder the task becomes. T

he creative problem-solving area of your brain needs to have free space to come up with a way forward. You need to get on with it. Work out what the small jobs that you can tackle right now are?

Who can you talk to and gain some insight into what is happening? Once you take the first few steps, you will free your mind to focus on the tasks and absorbing the learning.

I need to get started.

Two. I am never going to be that good. 

So you want to make a switch to a different role, or volunteer to help at an event. You look around, and all you see are smart people. They are amazing at what they do, and it feels like that it's unreachable.

They rattle off acronyms like there are more letters in the alphabet. They can speak with authority on what seems like any topic, and they are highly respected.

You think I can never get to that level. You can't picture yourself in their shoes where people come to you to solve their problems.

Holding yourself in this fixed mindset will continue to hold you back. Indeed, you won't ever get to that level of expertise without making a change to the way you are thinking. Everything is achievable through effort and grit. 

To shift your mindset into growth mode, you should be thinking about these two things.

I will not give up. The one thing that can overcome any gap in expertise or knowledge is your sheer determination. You can learn anything if you think giving up is not an option. Being determined is the key ingredient to unlocking your potential.

By reminding yourself that you will not give up means, you will reduce the time and brainpower used on fixed thoughts. You are giving more time for growth. 

All it takes is effort. When you look under the covers of what makes a good TED speaker, you will find there are hundreds and hundreds of hours of practice. This is true for all experts in their field: the knowledge, communication style and their achievements.

With the right level of effort, everything can be achieved. Make the time in your weekly schedule to practice or get things done. Setup the calendar invites and spend time to invest in relationships. 

Think carefully about how much real time you are investing in your goals per week. The combination of never giving up and putting in a MASSIVE effort 10 X style will be vital to take you from where you are to where you want to be.

All it takes is effort.

Three. You missed out on the role you wanted. 

You thought you were the right person for the job. You put in hours of preparation and covered all your angles. You have had your eyes on this role for a long time. Everything leading up to this point has been positive, and a reliable indicator of success.

"Unfortunately, you have not been selected for the role" comes the message. You move through each emotion, eventually landing on disappointment. You start telling yourself that you were not good enough for the role. The feeling that this one result is defining all your hard work for the year. What if it wasn't?

To shift your mindset into growth mode, you should be thinking about these two things.

I have grown. While working hard to land this role, you have increased your experience in many things. You have gained a wealth of new knowledge and formed new relationships throughout the year. The decision can't take any of that away from you.

It is yours to keep. The only person that is taking that away from you is your negative thinking. Close your eyes and think back to all the positive comments you have heard from others in your journey.

Focusing on where you were and how far you have come will shift your thinking into a positive frame of mind. Concentrate on what you have gained instead of what you perceive as lost.

I am Adaptable. Bruce Lee said it best "Put water in a cup it becomes the cup, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.".

Are you sure this is the only role you wanted? It is time to take a step back and reflect on your career goals. There is always an alternative route to reach your goals. It is the same way you are going now with just a little patience. It might be something you didn't even consider until someone brings it up.

Your goals should not have a hard dependency on a single point. Evaluate all of the options you have in front of you. Ask people that you trust "what are the things I could be doing?". It will help you zoom out so your mind can start formulating a strategy to reach your goals

I am Adaptable

When you find yourself in a situation where you can't see the bright side or a way forward, you are likely stuck in a fixed mindset.

Changing the ratio of spending more time in a growth mindset than a fixed mindset will propel your career forward and more importantly make everyday a happier day.

Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.


Photo by Cesar Carlevarino Aragon on Unsplash

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