What is a growth mindset?

Are you dreading returning to work in the New Year? Worse still have you already returned to work, and feeling like you don’t want to be there? 

If you are feeling a little pessimistic, if the January blues are already starting to creep in, the chances are you don’t have a growth mindset, but what exactly is a growth mindset? 

The term Growth mindset has been around for some time now but is greatly misunderstood. In this article we hope to debunk some of the myths surrounding growth mindsets, starting with the belief that to have a growth mindset you must always be positive! 

A growth mindset is about choosing the lens through which you see life, but it’s not about denial, if you are facing challenges if you are struggling to complete a task, these barriers are real, and no amount of “can-do” attitude will change that. 

However, someone with a growth mindset will relish the opportunity to learn and to develop their skills and abilities so that they can overcome these challenges.

“Those with a growth mindset find success in doing their best, in learning and improving.”

If you are someone with a growth mindset you believe that hard work brings results and growth, therefore you put in the extra time and effort which will lead to higher achievement. 

Individuals with a growth mindset understand that results are just a form of feedback, something we can look upon positively, to take on board the findings and learnings to progress and move forward positively.

Individuals who believe their talents can be developed, through hard work, good strategies, and input from others, tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset, those who believe their talents are innate gifts. 

Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset-updated edition: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential.

growth mindset by Pro-Noctis infographic

So, for those who are sluggishly returning to work this week, as hard as it may be, focus on the positives, and focus on the opportunities that lay ahead. 

The opportunity to earn… let’s be honest Christmas has been expensive! There’s also the opportunity to engage with others, and let’s also not forget the opportunity to learn from others, to feed our development. 

The second myth I would like to challenge is the preconception that you either have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset… I did it myself at the start of this article when I claimed you “the chances are you don’t have a growth mindset.” 

The truth is everyone has a mix between growth and fixed mindset, this mix continually develops and there is a clear link to mindset and success, however, this can be confused between being open-minded or flexible, understanding the difference is key.  

Viewing your failings and setbacks as changeable is crucial for resilience, learning and growth, you believe you are rewarded for effort and willing to embrace challenges, which we all know life is full of. 

However, it is perfectly plausible to have a growth mindset in some aspects of your life, and a fixed mindset in others, there is no right and wrong. What is wrong, however… is believing that our capabilities are fixed and that as individuals and businesses we cannot grow. We cannot develop limitlessly but we can develop.

What I hope to have achieve today is to encourage you to think about your mindset, think about the effects of your mindset, and really start to challenge yourself. 

If something requires effort, instead of thinking about your limitations, think instead about the opportunity to learn and to grow. 

Keen to learn more, keep an eye out for our tips on adopting a Growth Mindset in the New Year.


If you need more reminders like this or would like to learn how our coaching & mentoring courses and services could help you manage work-life balance and maximise energy, check out our ILM accredited courses & wellbeing retreats.