Fear of failure, a characteristic of a fixed mindset, is one of the great destroyers. Its best friend is procrastination – lack of action. Together they cause would-be entrepreneurs more despair than almost anything else.
MINDSET and the Effect It Can Have on Your Business Success
What is it that allows one person to enjoy constant success, while someone else, raised in very similar circumstances just cannot seem to pull things together? Choose any two people with comparable back-grounds and interests. Have them share the same talents and educational opportunities, see them struggle with common hard-ships and battle against shared adversity, then note that one will stride the path to success, while the other will stumble along behind, never quite arriving.
This is not an uncommon scenario. It is happening all the time and it is not hard to find real-life examples. Bill sees Dave, someone he trusts and admires, achieving success in a certain field. Dave follows a certain system, so Bill decides to do the same thing, confident that if he copies all of Dave’s moves he, Bill, will hit the jackpot too.
Is this replication of actions a guarantee of success? Not often – so why? What is the problem? What is it that determines an individual’s success, making the difference between flying and falling?
It’s all about MINDSET
If you are new to this, you may not have heard of ‘mindset’, a relatively new term, coined by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., a researcher in the field of motivation. The word has become increasingly familiar to us and it really just means what it says. It is the way an individual’s thought-patterns are positioned (set) and the effects that this patterning has on his or her attitudes to the out-side world. Some regard our mindset as one of our most valuable assets, as the way we view ourselves and our world depends on it.
In essence, when we evaluate events, when we form opinions, when we make judgements, these re-actions and a lot more, are predicated by our mindset – the way our mind is organised and the way we see things. Our mind-set develops over the years as we mature and is influenced by our life experiences. Our teachers, parents and the type of education we receive play a large role also, making a combination of these factors largely responsible for the type of mindset we take into adulthood.
Practitioners recognise two types of mindset and if you wish to succeed you should discover all you can about yours. They are:
- the fixed mindset
- the growth mindset.
Is it Either-Or?
If you have a fixed mindset, you are likely to consider that intelligence, personality traits, character, skills and short-comings are set in stone.
- ‘You are what you are and you have what you have’.
- ‘You are born in a certain mould, and that is that’.
- ‘This is just the way I am and all I can do’.
This can result in a constant pressure to succeed along with a compulsion to be recognised for that success, so it becomes necessary to constantly prove worth. Unfortunately, since you believe that your worth is in-born, it is difficult to accept that failure is not in-born also, so the result is often a personality that constantly blames outside influences as the reason for a lack of success.
- ‘He is lucky, I am not.’
- ‘If I had been to that school, I would be better off’.
- ‘It was her fault that I did not do better.’
Thus any plan is limited and the limitation is accepted as normal. The thought of meeting challenges and fighting through are not automatically a consideration for someone with a fixed mindset.
In contrast, the growth mindset sees the characteristics listed above only as starting points. They are building blocks, infinitely flexible and able to be expanded by learning, by creative experience and by drive and ambition. The growth mindset allows you, as an entrepreneur (for this is the entrepreneur mindset) to blossom, taking advantage of every opportunity that is offered in the pursuit of ambitions or a vision.
Challenges will be met and overcome, plans will be made and implemented and failures will be an acceptable component of success.
It is easy to fore-see the outcome of possessing either one of these mindsets – which one it is that will under-pin success and which one will lead only to disappointment and disillusion.
Can you do anything about it?
Your first challenge is to work out which mindset you are saddled with and how this affects you. Think about the way you approach your life, your work or business and your relationships. Be aware of those areas in which your fixed mindset holds you back. Recognize how it prevents you from breaking out of your self-limiting prison and keeps you from leaping forward.
Once you can do this, you can endeavour to change the dialogue in your mind. You can begin to address your problems with a growth mindset. You will overcome hurdles by learning how to approach them with enthusiasm, dealing with them head-on.
This is not necessarily an easy task as your mindset is always with you, for better or for worse. It is constantly influencing your decisions sometimes in a positive or, more often, a negative way. Everything in your life is affected – family, relationships, work, recreation – your mindset never rests. Even when you sleep, it is believed that your subconscious mind can be reinforcing negative or positive attitudes through your dreams.
Changing your mindset, if you are not receptive of new ideas, is a necessary task if you are serious about your ambitions and your vision for a bright future. There are techniques you can learn for doing this. You could start right now!
An easy beginning is to simply ask yourself these questions after a challenging situation or unexpected outcome:
- “What have I learned from this experience?”
- “How can this serve/help me going forward, or next time?”
- “What could I do next time?”
To summarise, “What do I know now, that I didn’t know before?”
These types of question start training a growth mind set and will set you on the path to change.
The rest is up to you!