The one thing I have always wanted to do is go on a Segway.
I have seen people on them before and they look like so much fun. However, I have been constantly worried about falling on my butt and looking like a fool and embarrassing not only myself but my kids as well.
However, on a recent trip oversees, I vowed that I was going to give it a go.
As you can see from the photo – I DID IT!!
So it got me thinking – what can we actually gain from pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone every single day.
The thing is, if we never make a mistake, isn’t it also the case that we have never pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone.
We never actually put ourselves in the position of learning anything new and as a result we never actually experience any growth.
So, what if we now translate this into our work environments? Are we pushing ourselves enough? Are we learning enough?
If we are going to survive in a fast paced ever changing and dynamic landscape, then we need to be able to be agile and not be constantly plagued by worry over whether we will always get it right the first time.
Developing a growth mindset from an individual, leadership or even organisational perspective takes hard work and dedication.
So what does an individual with a growth mindset look like?
• FIXED MINDSET
Individuals believe that talents are innate gifts. People spend their time documenting their intelligence instead of developing it. They tend to worry about looking smart and are often worried that they might be ‘found out’. They tend to avoid risk, focus on ability rather than effort, consider effort as disagreeable, see success as effortless, feel failure can be attributed to others, and consider setbacks are to be avoided.
• GROWTH MINDSET
Individuals believe their talents can be developed (through dedicated hard work, good strategies and input from others) and therefore they put a lot of effort into learning. They consider their brains are just the starting point. Challenge is seen as a good thing, they have confidence in themselves, they learn from mistakes, hard work is seen as more important than ability, they consider practice develops ability, they recognise people can change and they accept that what one person can learn everyone can learn. This view basically creates a love of learning.
When it comes to our Mental Toughness to manage change and challenges, we do have the ability to change the way we think. We can do this in two ways.
1. Permanent – change our thinking habits – rewire and develop new habits
2. Temporary – flick a switch and behave like a Mentally Tough person – turbo charge your thoughts, focus your mind, think and act confidently and positively.
When I work with individuals to develop their growth mindset, the model of Mental Toughness works really well and although we focus on the 4Cs of Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence, I particularly focus on the Challenge C.
Challenge -Risk Taking – I will push myself. I am driven to succeed
-Learning from experience. Setbacks are chances to learn.
There is one simple way that you can embrace a growth mindset and enhance your ability to manage Challenges every day – You can push yourself outside your comfort zone even in a small way – every single day.
When we don’t know what’s going to happen next it can be pretty stressful. As a result, we tend to want to avoid these situations. We know that our brains fight to keep the status quo and we literally have to train our brains to experience and desensitize to the experience of stepping outside of our comfort zone.
When we feel uncertainty, it signals us that we are unsure of our environment and uncertain of our skills to cope. But what it also does is send a signal to our brain that we have to start learning.
What it means is that some situations might be really uncomfortable, but they are also essential if we are going to make the most out of our brain and see our learning grow.
Your comfort zone is basically a switch off for your brain’s growth.
So, what can we do about this?
We need to make sure we are pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone every single day. It does not have to be a huge push on the first day. We need to recognise that sometimes the aggregation of marginal gains is invaluable in helping us move in the direction we hope to travel and gain momentum.
It could start with just changing the type of coffee you order every day and trying something new. You could try a different way of communicating with an individual that you have struggled to connect with and ask them questions to get to know them better. You could approach your boss about an idea that you’ve had but never been brave enough to discuss. You could speak up in a meeting. You could try going on a Segway (lol)
Whatever you decide to do, do it daily.
You have probably heard of a Gratitude Diary – ie writing 3 things down that you have been grateful for that day.
Well how about adding to this and doing your “Push” for the day – the one thing you have pushed yourself out of your comfort zone to do that day.
What will your “push” be for today?
Want to know more about developing a growth mindset and mental toughness? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing. You can find her at www.bakjacconsulting.com or email@example.com