What is a growth mindset?

What is a growth mindset?

If there’s one thing most (or all) creators and entrepreneurs can agree on, it’s that building a business from scratch is no easy task. However, along the way, successful entrepreneurs find tactics that help them face and overcome challenges.

Research shows that your mindset, including how you talk to and view yourself, can have a massive impact on your success or failure. For example, business affirmations—positive statements about yourself—can reinforce positive thinking, boost your confidence, and motivate you to achieve your goals.

According to experts, developing a growth mindset can also help you reach your fullest potential. It can help you overcome a range of challenges from overcoming imposter syndrome to bouncing back from failure.

What is a growth mindset? We’ll dive into what a growth mindset means and share actionable tips you can use to develop one.

What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is a belief that with dedication and hard work, you can develop and improve your abilities. By learning and growing, you can become smarter and more successful.

Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor and author of Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success, coined the term over 30 years ago.

In her research, Dweck explores how a person’s mindset influences their behaviors and impacts their success. Based on her findings, Dweck proposes that there are two mindsets—fixed and growth.

Growth mindset vs fixed mindset

When Dweck first coined the term “growth mindset”, she was curious about how students react to failure.

She found that those with a growth mindset see failure as a challenge that they can overcome with more effort. Someone with a fixed mindset sees failure as inevitable—their abilities and intelligence are fixed and won’t improve.

Those with a growth mindset remain optimistic about their ability to achieve success. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset believe that they either have the skills now or never will.

A fixed mindset can get in the way of your success, but how can you identify it? The comparison chart of fixed vs. growth mindset below can help.

Fixed mindset Growth mindset
Avoids challenges Seeks out challenges
Thinks success comes purely from talent, without effort Believes that you can develop talent to achieve success
Ignores constructive criticism Listens to criticism and makes changes
Compares themselves and often envies the success of others Celebrates and gets inspiration from others’ success
Believes they don’t need to or can’t improve skills Believes they can always grow and improve with effort and dedication

How can a growth mindset help you scale your business?

The most successful creators and entrepreneurs have a growth mindset. They accept that they don’t have all the answers and skills now. However, they are confident that with hard work and persistence, they’ll be able to in the future (which will lead to success).

Developing your own growth mindset can help you scale your business. A growth mindset is an optimistic outlook that will push you to jump through hurdles that may be stunting your business growth.

Think of it as you acting as your cheerleader, whether things are smooth sailing or a bit bumpy. Instead of giving up, shifting your mindset will help you identify areas of improvement and build your skillset.

Growth mindset examples

There are many ways that you can use a growth mindset in your daily life, as well as in your business. Here are a few examples of situations where you can apply a growth mindset.

Losing a potential course or coaching client

Let’s say you host a discovery call with a potential, high-paying client for your courses or coaching services. Instead of landing the sale, the prospect emails you to let you know that they are not interested at that time.

A person with a fixed mindset views this as an absolute failure. If this happens several times, they may start to believe that their entire business is a failure and there is nothing they can do to improve it. Eventually, this can lead to them getting so discouraged that they quit altogether.

Someone with a growth mindset would view it as a learning opportunity. They will be curious about why the potential client didn’t convert this time.

  • Was the pricing outside of their budget? Offer a payment installment plan or ask if their company has a professional development budget.
  • Are there skills that several customers have asked about? If it makes sense, add a lesson that covers in-demand skills that are missing from your course.
  • Did they hesitate because of a lack of social proof? Ask current students if they’ll share customer testimonials to add to your website.

How to develop a growth mindset

Now that you better understand what is a growth mindset, you can develop your own. Developing a growth mindset is easier than you might think. Keep reading to learn more about how to make the shift so you can live out your best life as a creator.

1. Get comfortable with not having all of the answers

The creator economy is only about a decade old. So many things have yet to be discovered. From new tools to marketing tactics, every day brings challenges and opportunities to grow.

You don’t need to have the answers to everything right away. View it as a learning experience. Remain a student and continue to educate yourself. You can do this by finding online communities or platforms such as the Teachable blog that offers free content to help you put your best creative foot forward.

2. Connect with other creators

The journey of becoming a creator and entrepreneur can feel lonely. Being a part of an online community with other creators to share resources and advice can make the journey feel less lonely.

Look for communities where you can add value by sharing some of your personal experiences while taking full advantage of learning from your peers. If you’re a member on a paid plan, you can unlock the exclusive teachable:hq community.

3. Be mindful of negative self-talk

Words are powerful. The saying “you are your own worst critic” is true. Most people experience negative self-talk at some point in their lives. It is any self-deprecating, negative thought you have about yourself. An example of negative self-talk is when you think that you are a failure or that you will never be good enough.

If left unchecked, you’ll start believing your negative thoughts, even though they aren’t true. In other words, you’ll speak them into existence. You can’t stop your thoughts but you can develop positive thinking. Like negative thinking, you can speak positive thoughts so often that you believe them.

Learn how to recognize negative thoughts. When they happen, stop and shift to positive words and a growth mindset. For example, replace “I can’t do BLANK” with “I don’t know how to do BLANK, but I’m willing to learn.”

4. Respect the process and stop comparing your journey to your peers

We get it—it’s hard not to compare yourself to your peers. We live in a world where everyone is constantly posting their wins on social media.

However, you don’t see the obstacles and losses that your peers experience along the way (because who wants to struggle for the world to see). Instead, hyper-focus on how far along you’ve come.

5. Take the not yet approach

Dweck also says that taking a not yet approach can help you develop a growth mindset. Instead of thinking that a problem is too hard to solve or a goal is too big to achieve, you think that you just haven’t done it yet.

It is not that you are not smart or talented enough to accomplish it. You only need to develop your abilities so that you can accomplish your goals eventually. When you think in terms of not yet, you create a path for the future.

For example, if you haven’t hit $100,000 in annual sales yet, then you start thinking about ways that you can do it in the future. It becomes actionable and you start asking questions like:

  • How can I add more value for my students?
  • What marketing or pricing strategies can I use to increase sales?
  • How can I gather customer feedback and research to improve my products?

Taking a not yet approach can help you view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. Ultimately, it will help you improve your business and get closer to reaching your goals. Whether you want to increase your course sales or get more coaching clients, developing a growth mindset can help you achieve your goals.

Teachable Updates

Your weekly dose of creative chat and Teachable updates. Get our weekly newsletter.