By very nature of being in the medical field, each one of you is at a high level of achievement. Many of you might even be perfectionists. You didn’t get to where you are today by sluffing off the difficult. In fact, you most likely sought it out. This is commendable. It’s also a leading cause of stress and anxiety in our society today…the need for constant perfection.
But listen to this: Carol Dweck, author of the ground-breaking book, “Mindset” presented puzzles of varying difficulty to ten year-olds across the United States. She found that majority of children would find themselves overwhelmed and anxious while trying to solve the test. Leaving a purposefully unsolvable test with feelings of dejection and failure. This was common and expected. What she didn’t expect, however, was a small number of ten year-olds who expressed excitement and focused determination when faced with the nearly unsolvable puzzle…feeling elated by the challenge, not deflated by it.
Dweck began to study this strange little sub-group of children, deeming their mindset a “growth mindset”. It was at that point that she realized that our mindsets are either fixed, growth, or somewhere in between.
What is a fixed mindset?
In leadership it looks something like this: you make a point to be surrounded by people that give the right answers. Less skilled managers who seek to please over weighing in on actual problems. Giving the leader an elevated status in the fact that he or she finds validation in being the smartest one on his or her team. Fixed mindset is terrified of growth because it doesn’t think such growth is likely.
Conversely a growth mindset seeks out differences in opinion and looks for those with strengths where the leader knows they have weaknesses. In the words of Carol Dweck, “Growth mindsets are steeped in the words, “not yet”.
Your challenge this week is to identify your mindset – is it founded in validation of now? Or in the potential growth of the future?
This is a penetrating question. It goes into the very fabric of your character. We will discuss what it means for you now and in the future to be one mindset or the other. Possibly somewhere in between.
Be observant of how you approach a challenge this week, and let yourself be honest. You’re the only one keeping score on this.