Business owners today are encouraged to develop a growth mindset.
But what exactly does it mean to have a growth mindset?
More importantly, what can you do to develop this?
Those are the questions that I’ll be answering in this blog post.
What does having a growth mindset mean?
A person who’s got a growth mindset is someone who believes that their knowledge and skills can significantly improve for as long as they put in the time and effort to make it happen.
Why should you develop a growth mindset?
Developing a growth mindset will help you keep your business afloat—even thrive—during uncertain times.
The volatile economic situation in the country, coupled with the impact the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months, have put business owners in a position when they need to pivot their current business models to stay afloat—if not, thrive.
For that to happen, you need to be willing to make significant changes to your business. That includes embracing new ways of doing business, including doing things that you’ve never done before.
Second, it’ll encourage you to improve yourself and your business.
Not everyone will support you when you share with them about your business idea. Worse, many of your critics are those that are the ones closest to you: your parents, spouse, and close friends.
Unless you have a growth mindset, you’ll find yourself shrinking back and second-guessing yourself and the business you want to build.
And each time you face a setback, you’ll view it as validation of what these naysayers said about you.
Now that you know why it’s crucial to develop a growth mindset let’s now look at the ways on how you can do just that.
1. Acknowledge and embrace the fact that you don’t know everything
As a business leader, you’re the person that your team looks up to and turns to when they need guidance and direction.
But that doesn’t mean that you know everything.
That said, don’t be ashamed to tell your staff that you don’t know the answer. After all, you’re only human.
Don’t leave it there, though. Remember, you’re still the leader. So, take the initiative to find the solutions that your team needs. Then, relay it to them.
Better yet, work alongside with them to implement the solution you found. That way, you’re allowing yourself and your team to grow and improve.
2. Look for opportunities during uncertain times
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for cleaning supplies spiked to astronomical rates that it led to a shortage of cleaning supplies across the country.
Others would have seen it as a crisis within a crisis. Not Ryan Lupberger and Zachary Bedrosian.
These two startup founders saw this as an opportunity to launch their startup, Cleancult, to meet the demand for cleaning supplies. As a result, sales of their products in Amazon 8x within a few weeks and 3x on retail stores.
And that’s what having a growth mindset can do. You can see opportunities when others don’t.
3. View challenges as opportunities for growth
As a business owner, you’ll encounter challenges.
Welcome them because they are opportunities for growth. Take a deep breath and tackle it with a clear mind. Plus, it always helps to break it down and address the matter piece by piece.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Focus on the key drivers of the problem
- Break the big problem into its subcomponents
- Look closely at the numbers
- Communicate the problem with relevant parties
- Create a plan to address the problem
Hard work arises from tricky situations because the extra effort is required to get over that barrier.
In the process, you will undergo countless experiences, learn new things, and reframe your mind to truly embrace that every situation is a stepping stone to be better and grow.
4. Pay attention to your words and thoughts
Pay attention to what you say, even to the words in your mind. They can dictate your actions and reflect your personality as an entrepreneur and boss.
Being conscious of what you speak and how you think is part of the long term development of a growth mindset and gives a better grasp of your strengths and weaknesses. So, replace negatives with positives, be accountable, and breathe in.
Some fundamental ways to help you get into this rhythm:
- Practice mindfulness and being in the present
- Try positive self-talk
- Focus on achievements, however small
- Provide recognition for your team, however small
- Find the silver lining in bad situations
- Inject humor in awkward situations to remove tension
5. Stop seeking the approval of others
Most everyone, including you, craves the approval of others because you believe that defines or adds to your self-worth and validation. It’s part of the human experience.
To break this cycle of approval-seeking, you can try these tips:
- Believe that your skills and imperfections make you unique.
- Focus on the process, not the outcomes.
- Make friends with rejection and mishaps.
That doesn’t mean you’ll ask for advice. You should. But don’t use this as an excuse to seek their approval.
6. Know and understand the “why” of your business
According to bestselling author Simon Sinek: “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
Fully grasping your business’ ‘why’ can guide you through the journey as you learn and meet people that’ll impact your life and business. That starts with finding your passion.
Here are some suggestions:
- Experiment and try something new.
- List down the activities that make you happy, and see if you can turn these into a business.
- Recall an incident in your life that you wish would never happen to anyone else (negative) or something that you want everyone else to experience (positive).
Once you discover your passion, you’re now ready for the next step: to grow your business and make your mark in the world.
7. Focus on your strengths.
One common misconception when it comes to developing a growth mindset is to improve on your weaknesses.
On the contrary, growth-minded leaders like John Maxwell focus on developing their strengths.
The reason is simple.
If you focus on your weaknesses, you’ll have to put a lot of effort to raise your skill level. And even then, you’ll be lucky to be average.
On the other hand, when you put in the same amount of effort towards developing skills that you’re already good at, you got a far better chance to become an expert at it.
In turn, you’ll gain the respect and attention of others of your team and others in your industry.
8. Know what and when to delegate
As a business owner or leader, you might think that all the responsibilities fall on your shoulders.
Guess what? That’s not true.
You need people more than ever because:
- You aren’t the expert on all things;
- Team members have their unique strengths to contribute, and;
- Your team will help your business grow and become sustainable in the future.
Be willing to teach and learn how to delegate. That’s when you’ll indeed become a team leader.
9. Accept feedback with a grain of salt
Criticisms and feedback will come your way. Don’t feel bad. Instead, welcome them.
Be open to hear them and learn to see these mistakes as opportunities to learn: a chance to be better at your craft, and a better team leader.
Naturally, this doesn’t mean you follow all the comments thrown your way.
First, understand where the feedback is coming from.
Next, analyze it from the perspective of your business and goals.
Last, act upon it if and when all the above makes sense.
Eventually, you’ll learn not to take criticisms personally.
10. Learn from the mistakes of others
Growth-minded leaders don’t criticize business mishaps and failures. Instead, they try to learn as much as they can from these situations so that they avoid making the same mistakes.
Pinpoint the errors of past entrepreneurs and leaders that may apply to the business and goals you wish to attain.
This also alleviates the fear of trying new things because you’re willing to see through another’s lens.
11. Understand the journey’s as important as the destination
When business owners or entrepreneurs become too caught up with their endgame or goal, they forget the reasons why they started in the first place.
Embracing the journey keeps you on track with and true to your initial goals, plans, and vision when you took that first step.
After all, the journey is also where you learn and meet people that’ll impact your life and your business.
Sometimes, opportunities and roadblocks can even alter the destination.
Those with a growth mindset look to learn and try new things when opportunities present themselves.
12. Set SMART goals
Setting goals is challenging because they can be too big that it’s more of a dream, or too small that people will lose interest.
Setting SMART goals will effectively assist you in getting those first checkpoints in place.
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
- Specific: specific targets for a more directive approach
- Measurable: easily track and measure in real-time
- Achievable: attainable given your current capabilities and resources
- Relevant: speaks to what your values are and long-term goals
- Time-based: set a start and finish date for that sense of urgency and motivation
By following these five factors, you can better focus your efforts and increase the chances of reaching that goal.
Plus, this can guide you in verbalizing your goals and sending this message to your team members.
13. Speed is not always the name of the game
A person with a growth mindset understands that building a successful business isn’t instantaneous. It takes hard work, patience, and time.
Because of this, growth-minded leaders take the opportunity to learn and do things well. That way, they minimize the chances of experiencing costly mistakes and build a business that will withstand these uncertain times.
14. Be accountable for your actions and decisions
Despite all the precautions you try to take, there’s still the possibility that you’ll make a mistake.
When that happens, be the first to acknowledge it and hold yourself accountable for the decisions you’ve made.
It’s tough and painful. But only when you do this would you become open to correction and improving yourself.
15. Create a blog as a form of active learning
Your business blog shouldn’t only be a channel where you can rave about your products and services.
An effective blog strategy is one that’ll ensure you provide high-quality content to your readers on their most pressing issues.
For you do achieve that, you’ll need to do extensive research to make sure that you provide information that’s current and relevant to your readers’ pain point.
What’s great about having this approach is that you’re also learning more about the latest strategies and trends. As you write your blog post, you could come up with ideas on how to take your business to the next level.
16. Celebrate others
When you celebrate others, you bring positivity to yourself, business and people because it:
- Is a healthy pastime; good for your mind, leaves you grateful, happy and with lower stress levels
- sets an excellent example for your team and clients
- creates a culture of positive morale that may lead to higher employee retention and better-motivated team members
- nurtures mutual benefits – it leaves you feeling good, it also leaves the other feeling good
In other words, people with a growth mindset understand that celebrating and congratulating others on their achievements and growth doesn’t mean they have to start questioning their own.
17. Redefine your definition of genius
Most people equate the word ‘genius’ with being gifted.
Not growth-minded leaders.
For them, the term ‘Genius’ becomes genius because a more significant part of it stems from hard work, dedication, and grit.
What that means is that you have the potential to become a genius if you’re willing to sharpen your strengths further. At the same time, you embrace the fact that there are other people out there who can complement you in your areas of weakness.
18. Take time to review and evaluate
Taking a step back may seem counterintuitive because it would mean stopping and taking a hard look at your business.
Yet, it’s only by doing this can you see the bigger picture of your business’ direction and objectives from a different perspective.
By doing this, you’ll see missteps, learn from them, and avoid them in the future.
As you progress, business-related and people-related things you review and evaluate will continuously change. You can then look back to those foundational insights and be thankful that you took the time and were thorough with them.
19. Cultivate grit behavior
Grit is a powerful motivation to persevere towards a long-term goal positively. It also serves as the fundamental root of a growth mindset.
Otherwise, how can you grow and achieve your goals?
Here are some actions to help you begin:
- Find an interest: This should be easy, it’s your business.
- Practice: you see yourself getting better, and this will motivate you to work even harder
- Be intentional: develop healthy, purposeful habits that will help you in reaching your goals
- Identify a higher purpose: embrace something bigger than just your business’ profits and size, this could be team well-being or business impact on the community
- Make gritty social circles: as you interact and expand your networks, you pull energy and emotions from others around you so, make time for people you want to be like
20. Take ownership of your attitude
When you are a business owner or an entrepreneur, your attitude is reflected in your vision for your business and your approach when it comes to diverse business matters.
Let the growth mindset guide you to become more acutely aware of who you are and conscious of how you affect the people around you.
If you make a mistake, own up to it. Acknowledge your error and seek ways to improve. Your team will see this and follow your lead. You get the chance to lead by example.
21. Replace “failure” with “learning opportunity”
Which entrepreneur or business owner out there hasn’t made a mistake or hasn’t fallen short of a goal?
So don’t be afraid of it.
Instead, see these shortcomings as opportunities to become better.
Remember, developing a growth mindset means seeking to continuously improve in your business endeavors despite the many challenges you may encounter.
Take that step back and look at the situation thoroughly. Identify gaps and areas of errors and uncertainty.
- What did I do that led to this?
- What can I do next to make it better?
- Can I tackle this from another angle to better leverage my strengths and my team’s?
With the above, you continue to push through and become better equipped to address similar hurdles in the future.
22. Love what you do
When you are passionate about what you do, you find it easier to persevere and rise. Loving what you do propels you to become a better business leader.
Also, as you work hard, you may develop a more profound sense of faith and love in what you do, and this will propel you forward.
23. Set the example for others
Developing a growth mindset also means understanding the value of others. Then, you can share your progress with others too.
You set an example for others by being mindful of:
- The attitude, behavior, and language you want your business would portray.
- How you treat others.
- The way you react when during times of crisis.
24. Know when to cut your losses
Reality check: Not all business ideas will be successful.
And if you find yourself in that situation, you need to be humble enough to recognize this, cut your losses, and walk away.
A few ways to determine when it’s time to call it quits:
- You’ve lost focus or interest in what you’re doing
- Short term fixes are leading to long-term problems
- You’re no longer getting any sense of pleasure from the process or the result
- Extra effort doesn’t bring positive change.
25. Be willing to try new things
Now, more than ever, you need to be learning and trying new things continuously.
Don’t be afraid.
Anything new you open your mind will help you now or in the future.
26. Accept suggestions from your employees
Your employees are the backbone of your business. Without them, you can’t do it.
They’re there because you believed in their capabilities, skills, and knowledge. So, give them a stage to voice their opinions, thoughts, and suggestions freely.
Receiving feedback and suggestions from your team develops your leadership skills and image and helps you become a better version of yourself (maybe even without you realizing it).
- Keep an open mind when you listen to others, even your employees
- Remember you hired your team because you believe in their skills, so give them a platform to voice out opinions
- Each team member contributes to the success of your business
27. Practice the habit of “morning pages”
Morning pages is a type of journaling started by Julia Cameron.
As its name suggests, you write this first thing in the morning, preferably after waking up.
What makes this different from other journaling techniques is that you write your thoughts in long-hand as they come until you fill up three pages.
By doing this, you’re able to clear your mind of those nagging thoughts that are preventing you from focusing on the tasks you need to do. At the same time, it frees your mind, allowing you to get creative and think of fresh ideas for your business.
28. Go beyond your limits
If your goal isn’t scaring or challenging you, that means it’s not big enough. You have to be willing to go out of your comfort zone to achieve them.
Here are some tips that will help you:
- Adjust your mindset to embrace challenges and fears
- Find a strong team for constant encouragement and push
- Visualize the next level and establish clear steps
- Celebrate your successes but don’t stay there
- Utilize information before you and use it as a stepping stone to move forward
29. Place effort above talent
Talent is only a part of why people achieve success. Without energy, it won’t be enough to reach your potential. Talent is nurtured with an effort to turn it into a skill and an achievement.
People with talent may be one step ahead at the starting line. But they can quickly be overtaken by someone willing to put in the work.
30. Ask the right questions
You learn when you ask. Remain curious and ask questions to know better, and to know more.
Questions are also appreciated by people answering them. This could be a conversation starter and maybe, just maybe, a new business relationship or collaboration.
You can try the following questions:
- What do you do to challenge yourself to become better?
- How do you encourage innovative ideas?
- How did you learn to embrace the risks involved in running a business?
- What do you think we can do to motivate team members?
Developing a growth mindset is a process.
As a business owner, having a growth mindset is essential in scaling your business and ensuring sustainable growth.
The strategies shared here will help you develop a growth mindset, but it won’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process that requires your commitment.
Now, I’d like to know…
What’s one strategy here that you’ll start doing to begin your journey in developing a growth mindset? Share it in the comments below.