I recently asked someone about where they fell on the mindset continuum, and they looked at me with a blank look on their face. I realized that this might be something that not everyone knows about, and hence, a great Teaching Tuesday topic. 

What is a mindset? 

A person’s mindset is their beliefs and attitudes about themselves, their culture, their values, and their general way of looking at and being in the world. Our mindset is important because it can significantly impact our choices, the things we pursue, and how we respond to things that happen in our lives. 

What are the 2 ends of the mindset continuum? 

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, there are two ends to the mindset continuum: Fixed mindset at one end and Growth mindset at the other. It is important to note that most people fall somewhere along this spectrum. They may have a fixed mindset about some things and a growth mindset about others. 

What is a fixed mindset? 

People with a fixed mindset believe that they are born with a particular set of skills, features, or attributes and that they can do nothing to change them. 

What is a growth mindset? 

People with a growth mindset believe they can impact their skills, features, or attributes with additional learning, training, work, and effort. 

Why does this matter? 

Anyone who’s been a part of my Communities of Practice knows that I am the first to say I was an awful, truly terrible leader with low EQ and probably even lower peopling abilities. I could have left it at that and decided that this was simply my personality and that there was nothing I could do to change the situation because it was innate to who I was. Here’s the thing, though, while I might have actually believed that at the time (I quite honestly had to retake the same leadership course three times!!), I have come to realize that I CAN impact how I show up in the world.  

I have been learning and growing my leadership skills and abilities for well over a decade now, and it is something that I will continue to nurture and develop for the rest of my life. I believe that with this work, I have improved my ability to support my team and be a better leader for them. I also think that with this work, I have improved my emotional intelligence abilities and people skills.  

While I am an introvert by nature, I have even been able to develop my peopling abilities and tolerance further. It still drains my social battery, but I’ve learned to manage it better. I’m not a social butterfly (yet), but I have learned the skills necessary to improve how I show up for others.  

I used to believe that analytical skills and knowledge were more valuable than ‘soft skills’ because ‘soft skills’ didn’t come to me naturally, and it wasn’t my style. The growth mindset taught me that I can decide my style if I am willing to learn, grow, and put in the work. 


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