As a leader or high performing individual contributor, one of the common experiences we are faced with is self-doubt. We may hide it externally, but many of us feel it with our internal weather and dialogue. On any given day, the tendency to ask one’s self “can I do this?” or “will this work out how I want?” can stem from the most mundane to the most complicated of tasks.
This oscillation between “I can do it” and“No I don’t think so” is deeply ingrained in our mindsets. Much of what we think we understand of our personality comes from our mindset and this can either propel us towards or prevent us from fulfilling our potential.
In the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, she emphasized how having a fixed mindset can hold us back. When we see our intelligence and our learning as “fixed” we tend to:
- Avoid challenges
- Give up easily
- See our efforts as futile
- Can’t handle criticism
- Feel threatened and insecure with the success of others
How do we flip this narrative?
How can we face self-doubt that stems from our fixed mindset?
Our mindsets exist on a continuum from fixed to growth, and ideally we’d like to stay tuned to growth mindsets that allow us to:
- Embrace challenges
- Persist in the face of setbacks
- See effort as a part of mastery
- Learn from criticism
- Find lessons and inspiration from the experience of others.
“There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.” -Carol Dweck
Here are simple techniques to get you practicing and embracing a growth mindset:
A. Awareness- pay attention to your self-talk. What are the common statements that you say about yourself, the way you learn, or the way you do your work? Identifying your responses to these is the first step in addressing your self-doubt and the fixed mindset that is triggering it. To remain in a growth zone, we must identify and work with these triggers.