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Having a Growth Mindset

Last week was our August National Sales Meeting. A couple of times a year, we bring in our outside sales team together with our inside sales team, buying team, marketing team, and finance and management teams to share ideas and learn new things. We also do some fun things in the evening. One night, we went bowling—randomly selecting the teams so everyone had a chance to get to know employees from other departments.

During the three days, we had various presentations from clients and industry experts. We always ask for suggestions for topics to cover and training ideas. One of the members of the sales team suggested the topic of “growth mindset.”

What’s that? I really had never heard of it, so I started to do some research.

Essentially, having a growth mindset means that, with learning and dedication, you can be or do anything. In a growth mindset, “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point,” according to Carol Dweck of “This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset.

The old adage “You can’t teach the old dog a new trick” is what sums up the fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that they cannot change, that “their basic abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits,” says Dweck.

You can imagine that having a growth mindset would be key to growing in one’s career and growing professionally in a company like ours, where one of our core values is “Staying Curious.”

Our guest speaker started the day by asking our team: What do you think is a growth mindset? We went around the room and people shouted out their ideas:

  • No limits
  • Confidence
  • Perspective
  • Positive
  • Resilience
  • Collaborating
  • Optimistic
  • Goal-oriented
  • Adaptable
  • No fear of the unknown
  • Focused
  • Organized
  • Self-belief
  • Open-minded
  • Creative

When asked if attitude, skills, and knowledge were required to be successful within these qualities, our group said, almost 100 percent of the above qualities required a good attitude.

And that’s when I realized how brilliant my coworker was when she suggested the topic.

If everyone at our company realized it was within their own control to achieve their goals, with simply a change in attitude, or by having a growth mindset, the sky would be the limit.

Of course, we have heard sayings like “Attitude is everything” or “Visualize the glass as half-full.” But it came alive for me and everyone in our training room that day as our speaker took us through several group exercises. Who are the most successful people in their careers? Those with a positive attitude, a can-do attitude.

So, instead of talking about having a “positive attitude,” I’m going to start saying, “Great job of having a growth mindset!”

Love of learning and resilience can really create a mind shift. And sometimes, that’s what we all need.


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