Go for Growth to Build Strength Through Struggle

Humans almost never choose adversity if we can avoid it. But when it arrives, the way we approach it can generate surprisingly positive outcomes. By adopting a growth mindset and embracing the possibility of achieving more tomorrow than today, you can squeeze the good out of challenge and emerge with new skills, stronger emotional health and greater influence. Learn how to help yourself and others transform challenge into growth at WFF’s virtual 2020 Resolve to Thrive Leadership Development Workshops this fall.
What if every day you viewed your skills, personality traits and capabilities as a mere starting point? If you valued your basic qualities and strengths, but fully grasped that they can be enhanced with effort, experience and persistence? You might conclude that your potential is wide open. And that’s a very empowering place to be.
The idea of a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset developed by Stanford University psychologist and researcher, Carol Dweck, Ph.D., asserts that our beliefs drive behavior.   People who tend toward a fixed mindset, Dweck says, are more likely to see their abilities as pretty well set. Those with a growth mindset view their basic gifts as something to build on.
“All of us fall somewhere on the continuum between a fixed and growth mindset,” explains Anne Grady, CEO of the Anne Grady Group and best-selling author most recently of Mind Over Moment. Grady will present the October 29, 2020 virtual WFF Leadership Development Workshop (LDW), Developing a Growth Mindset.
Primed for growth
“You may have more of a fixed mindset regarding your abilities as a public speaker but a growth mindset about learning to play an instrument,” Grady says. “Tuning into your thoughts and behaviors is the first step to gaining conscious choice over how you view your potential.”  
You may be stuck in a fixed mindset if you fail to speak up or share your ideas for fear of being judged. If you often wonder why others seem to move ahead faster. If you worry a lot about how others perceive you. And if you feel highly defensive in the face of critical feedback.
A growth mindset doesn’t put you on a straight upward trajectory, but it opens you to investing the time, energy and effort to improve. A growth mindset nurtures a passion for learning rather than hunger for approval and views personal success as working your hardest to become your personal best.
Isn’t today challenging enough?
It would be nice to pick and choose our moments to grow, but life tends to throw in growth opportunities (masquerading as setbacks, challenge and failure) when they are least welcome. Enter, a global pandemic that is unfamiliar, frightening and enduring. “There is no need to like the massive challenge COVID-19 poses to all of us personally and professionally,” Grady acknowledges. “Is it awful? Yes. But is there also something you can learn from it? Yes again.”
Grady draws an analogy to a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. If you open the cocoon for them, butterflies die because they have not developed the strength, through struggle, to fly. “Use this difficult time to build the understanding that resilience comes from believing you will emerge stronger on the other side. When you find yourself overwhelmed, complaining and frightened, try saying, ‘This is certainly not ideal, but what can I take from it?’”
From best to better
Grady emphasizes the importance of identifying personal triggers that elicit a fixed mindset. It might be fear of embarrassment, lack of sleep, having your performance reviewed or competing against others. “When you know what triggers that mindset, you can make intentional decisions to respond differently. Instead of striving to look smart, you can invest in getting smarter. Instead of focusing on being the best, you can focus on getting better.”  
Nurture a growth culture
Organization culture can support or hinder a growth mindset. An extensive research project at Google found that their most innovative and successful teams benefitted from psychological safety. Team members felt free to share ideas without fear of retribution.
“Even as organizations pride themselves on hiring for talent, many inadvertently promote a fixed mindset, subtly signaling that you either have it or you don’t,” Grady advises. “When you seek out competent risk takers willing to work hard, you nurture a growth mindset.” Managers and leaders can help by encouraging what Grady calls “controlled failure,” and giving team members the safety to take responsible risks, fail and grow. 
You can build your growth mindset through WFF’s series of four half-day virtual workshops for emerging leaders and emerging executives. The 2020 Leadership Development Workshops (LDWs) combine outstanding content, expert speakers, industry role models and peer connection in a streamlined, online format. Resolve to Thrive.

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