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Adopt a Growth Mindset in Times of Change


I am writing this article in May 2020 when the UK is experiencing a lock-down due to the Covid-19 virus.  A lot of people think that there's no point in looking for a job right now as the market is flat.  NOT TRUE.  If you adopt a Growth Mindset, you will surge ahead of the competition and I'd like to show you how. 

First let me give you the high level facts about this concept.  It was first written about by Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  She discovered that we all hold a basic belief about ourselves which relates to how we view and inhabit our "personality". 

A Fixed Mindset assumes that our character, intelligence and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way and that success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence.  A Growth Mindset however thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.

I have met many clients and potential clients with a Fixed Mindset.  They tell me things like "I'd love to be an xxx but I'm too old to retrain", "There aren't many exciting paths for someone with my narrow skill set", "I'm too set in my ways to join a new company and learn new systems".  At the moment, during the economic pressure coming from the pandemic we are experiencing, I am hearing a lot of "There's no point looking for a job right now as nobody's hiring".

As a coach I have to help my clients to move towards a Growth Mindset.  If they don't, they will never make the changes needed to create a career they love.  If I sense that they are not ready or willing to do so, my ability to help them is limited and we will probably not be able to work together.

Embracing a Growth Mindset

Most of us develop a growth or fixed mindset at an early age.  If you're subscribed to a blog about making tweaks and pivots in your career then my guess is that you are one of those with a Growth Mindset.  But, even if you think you have a Fixed Mindset then you can "rewire your cognitive habits" which is coach-speak for change your mindset.

Here are a few tips for embracing a Growth Mindset as it relates to your career development:

  • Focus on your strengths to help you to cultivate self-acceptance and self-approval.  These will hold you in good stead.
  • Welcome challenge as an opportunity for growth.  If you look at your career as an adventure then you will press forward because it is exciting and new.
  • When you are offered feedback and constructive criticism, accept it as a gift and an opportunity for growth.
  • Enjoy the journey, explore the twists and turns.  Speed is not important.
  • Always be open to learning from other people's experiences.

And if you're job searching at the moment, reframe "there's no point looking for a job right now..." with:

  • Which industries are unaffected by the pandemic and how can I explore them?
  • Are my CV and LinkedIn profile the best that they can be so I can stand out from the crowd?
  • Who is there in my network that might have time for a virtual coffee and a chat?
  • Which recruiters can I build a really great relationship with so that I am front of mind when they take on an appropriate brief?
  • How am I developing myself currently and what more do I want to do?

I hope there are some ideas for you in there.  If you'd like to find out more about Growth Mindset, I can recommend Carol Dweck's book or this 10 minute talk she gave in 2014. 

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