Everyone experiences setbacks at work; failing to meet quarterly goals, product failures, or meetings that go off the rails. Yet, people have very different reactions to these setbacks. Some are resilient, learning from their mistake, ready to tackle the next challenge. Others get discouraged and give up, believing they aren’t capable of the task at hand. What is the difference between those who are resilient and those who give up? A growth mindset.
People with a growth mindset view challenges, failures and setbacks as learning opportunities and quickly develop new skills or approaches to problems that will help them succeed in the future. Those who give up after a setback have a fixed mindset and see their strengths and struggles as unchanging, fixed in stone. The difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset lies in a realistic view of a person’s strengths and limitations.
It is challenging to be objective about strengths and struggles, but people with a growth mindset have the courage to look at themselves in the cold, hard light of reality and work on areas where they need to improve. Fixed mindset people ignore their shortcomings or refuse to work on them.
In addition to growing through adversity, resilient people also set the example for others around them. By honestly facing their shortcomings and working to overcome them, they demonstrate the “dust yourself off and try again” attitude. This mindset is contagious, showing the power of resiliency for approaching setbacks as opportunities rather than the end of the story.
If you would like to develop a growth mindset and build resiliency, we suggest the following:
- Take a behavioral assessment. RightPath’s Path4 and Path6 assessment will measure your strengths and struggles, giving you objective feedback on how to apply your strengths to work challenges.
- Solicit feedback. Ask your colleagues to help you learn from your setbacks. Asking, “How can I do it better next time?” is a helpful way to ask for constructive feedback.
- Develop self-compassion by being kind to yourself when you make a mistake. Recognize that everyone fails from time to time and resist dwelling on negative emotions when you stumble or fall short (Chen, 2018).