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If there’s anything the last few years has taught us, it’s that life can change at the drop of a hat. Many people had to transition to a work from home environment with little notice, meetings were suddenly virtual, and kids were learning at home instead of in a classroom setting. Now, with the Great Resignation still in full swing, employers and business leaders are having to adapt and adjust to the needs of their teams. Life is fluid, and if you don’t want to be swept up in the current, you need to be flexible and adapt a growth mindset.

The term “growth mindset” was coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, who described two main mindset categories: growth and fixed. Those with a growth mindset often see opportunities to learn, grow, and develop. They believe they can change when they need to and actively work toward making those changes. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset generally believe they are unable to change, adapt, or evolve. They are more easily defeated by failures, and they tend to firmly resist change.

If you’re sometimes guilty of having a fixed mindset, that’s okay! It is possible to develop a growth mindset. It only takes time, tools, and the willpower to do so.

Let’s talk about 4 ways to develop your growth mindset…

1. Pay Attention to Your Thoughts

We all have an inner voice. It may be positive and encouraging, or it may be telling you things like, “You can’t,” “You’re not good enough,” or “This is just the way things are.” What is your inner voice telling you? If it tends to be more negative and defeatist, that’s a good sign you tend to have a fixed mentality. Once you’re aware of that, you can begin to talk back to your inner voice and begin to take on a more positive, growth-oriented mindset.

2. Reframe Failure

It’s easy to feel deflated by failure. No one likes to fail. However, it is possible to reframe failures as opportunities. Next time you’re faced with failure—a work project that flopped, a client that went with another company, an idea that didn’t get picked up—think about what you learned from the failure. What went wrong? How can you do things differently next time? Use these moments as chances to learn, redo, and move on.

3. Embrace Brain Plasticity

We used to think adult brains were somewhat rigid and fixed, but recent studies have shown that that’s not at all true. The brain is still malleable, even as an older adult. Even those who have experienced extreme brain trauma (such as a coma or major concussion) can retrain and essentially rewire their brains. That is the power of neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt and reshape.

4. Use the Word “Yet”

Next time you catch yourself doubting your abilities or lamenting failure, add the word “yet” to the end of your sentence. For example:

I don’t understand computer coding…yet.

I can’t operate this machinery…yet.

I can’t speak Spanish…yet.

I haven’t reached my sales goals…yet.

This simple word connotes opportunity and helps you get in a positive frame of mind. Instead of feeling defeated, you give yourself a glimmer of opportunity. Maybe you haven’t achieved something yet, but success could be on the horizon.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Girl with sparklers

If there ever was a time for an acronym like GLAD, it’s right now. These four letters signify a positive outlook and a forward-thinking mindset. Though some may have different interpretations, I have seen this acronym stand for the following words:

G =  Generosity

Even if you’re going through a hard time right now, what are you able to share? It doesn’t have to be a monetary gift; it could be as simple as writing positive messages with sidewalk chalk or putting a teddy bear in your window for children to find in a scavenger hunt.

L = Letting go 

What is truly important in your life? What are the things you have control over and the things you can NOT change? Focus on what you CAN do right now (practicing shelter-in-place, social distancing, safe shopping practices, working as best you can from home, etc.) instead of what you can’t (other people, the status of your job, etc.).

A = Attitude

Do you need to adjust your mindset? You have the power to see the good in anything, even a prolonged quarantine. Think about the family dinners you now get to enjoy, the friends you can connect with over video chat (something we were not able to do only a few years ago!), and the money you’re saving by not going out to eat or attending expensive events. Figure out how to make isolation time YOUR time.

D = Different

The corona virus pandemic is changing the world. Things are, and will continue to be, forever different. Embrace the differences! Perhaps employers will be more open to occasional work-from-home days. Maybe you will continue to connect with friends through virtual chats. Maybe your family will continue to find comfort in each other’s company.

Word Challenge:

Now that I’ve given you a few words that represent GLAD, I challenge you to think of other words that might represent G, L, A, and D. Gratitude comes to mind, as does learning, adapting, diligence, and listening.

Pick a few of your favorite words and write about how you will make them a part of your life. How will you become more grateful? What will you do to be a better listener for your spouse, friends, co-workers, or children? How will you dedicate your time to learning something new?

Even though these are unprecedented times, we are all in this together. Keep in mind the “A” of my GLAD acronym, and let your positive attitude dictate how you will spend your days.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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