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  • Writer's pictureTracey Wozny

Leading with a Growth Mindset

In life we make the choice to live by a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

We can choose to think things are just the way they are and that intelligence and talent are “fixed” traits. People that choose to live by a fixed mindset do not see the value in continuing to develop their skills and knowledge.

However, those that choose to live by a growth mindset believe that the most basic abilities can be developed by continuous dedication and hard work. They look at life as a continuous experience, a world of infinite learning and constant growth.

Some people see the accomplishment of just getting the high school or college diploma as an endpoint to their learning, others see it as a stepping stone to their next level of growth.

What determines whether you see life through a fixed mindset or growth mindset?

First, it has to do with the company you keep. John Maxwell, the number one leadership expert of this century says, “ You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with.” If you hang around people who have a fixed mindset, chances are you will have a fixed mindset. Take an inventory of the people who are in your inner circle. Are they lifting you up or pulling you down? Do they see life through possibilities and positive challenges or do they view life as “just the way it is?” If you find that you are surrounding yourself with fixed mindset people, find another group to hang with!

Second, listen to your self-talk. Are you naturally positive or negative? Do you blame external reasons for your consequences or do you take ownership of your choices? A person with a fixed mindset views obstacles as permanent and compares themselves to others. A person with a growth mindset understands the value of continuous practice and receives inspiration from others. Two different ways to view the world. If you find yourself using more negative self talk, create awareness around this habit and focus on shifting to positive words.

Third, a person with a growth mindset usually has a positive role model or mentor. Similar to the first point about surrounding yourself with a strong inner circle, following an influential leader creates a pathway to growth. Leaders and mentors understand the value of a growth mindset. They also value people and see potential in those they lead. If you have difficulty following a growth mindset, seek out a mentor who has a growth mindset to follow. This mentor doesn’t need to be personally in the room with you. There are many mentors that you can follow through podcasts, books, seminars and Youtube videos. Search out someone that is doing what you do that you can learn from.

A great example of a growth mindset mentor in our small town dance studio is Ms Whitney. Whitney has been a dance teacher for over 20 years and has impacted thousands of children in the local community.

She leads with a growth mindset with all of her students but in particular with a special group of teenagers who she has taught for several years. This group of girls are a non competitive group of dancers who usually at this age fizzle out of dance.

Not this group of girls though! Because they are led by a teacher that believes in them, lifts them up and gives them growing feedback, they continue to grow as dancers and as young adults. They see the value of relationships and surrounding themselves with growth mindset people.

Listen to what these teenage dancers have to say about their mentor and leader Ms Whitney who leads with a growth mindset.

If you see yourself leaning towards a more fixed mindset take an inventory of your inner circle and your self talk. Find a strong leader in your life. Before you know it, you can be on a path of possibilities as you make the choice to see the world through an infinite path of a growth mindset.



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