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Is your Mindset a Driver or a Killer of your Improvement?

Throughout my career I have received constant feedback. Even though plenty has been positive, words that encourage me to move forward and validate my actions and decisions, the feedback I remember the most is the one focused on improvement.

I picked up the book "Mindset" from Carol Dweck and I’m so glad I did. I find myself in a constant mindset of discipline and self-improvement and still, this book provided a greater sense of self-understanding and awareness. One of the questions I found to be very powerful was:

“Is success about learning or proving you’re smart?”

The two types of Mindset:

  1. Fixed Mindset: the belief that you are either “good” or “bad” at something. This is what I refer to as the "killer" mindset because it cautions you to stay in your "safe zone", to avoid mistakes, always place yourself in situations you know you are "good" at.

Growth Mindset: the belief that you can always get better. This is what I call the "driver" mindset. Where we thrive through challenges and we recognize that the only way to get better, smarter, stronger is by making ourselves uncomfortable.

Dweck also talks about having a choice when it comes to mindsets. She says “Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re something in your mind, and you can change your mind.”

How my Mindset Changed (A High Five to my Dad!)

Growing up, sitting down in front of a book to study was not something I loved to do. Specially Math in high school. If my dad hadn’t pressed for me to spend more time studying and practicing exercises, maybe I would have gone through life thinking “I’m just not good at math!”. But that didn’t happen. He would encourage me (or make me, to be completely honest) to study with him every night after he came back from work, and this is what happened: The more I studied, the easier it got and my grades showed it. I started getting straight As.

At work, even though my training was “learn as you go” (which in my case is the best way I learn) I received tons of feedback. I made many mistakes, but as I became aware of them, I shook off the uncomfortable feeling that came with tough feedback and used the new-found knowledge to my advantage and growth.

I can tell you, I loved getting great feedback, but the honest, tough feedback made me who I am today.

How well do you know yourself?

If I were to ask you what are you great at, what would you say?

What if I asked you where you need to get better, would you be able to tell me about it?

How about the steps you have taken to improve in those areas? Have you done anything about that? Have you seen progress or have they stayed on your “improvement” bucket for years?

To be a Good Leader of people, you have to be a Great Leader of Yourself.

One of the most important keys for self-growth is knowing what you are good at and where you need improvement. What makes great leaders in this world is not how prestigious is the school they graduated from, but how self-aware they are.

Being self-aware and intentional about your development is something to aim for, not for a week or a month, but for life. This is a process, a continuous mindset of improvement.

Keep this in mind “People in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it.”

Make it your challenge to be the best you can be. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or "failing". Stay on an mindset of continuous improvement and move closer to your goals through intentional actions that only make you better.

Where would "being safe" take you? Face challenges. And BIG ones. You'll be amazed of where your potential can take you.

Mariana Jaeger is a Leadership Development and Performance Success expert and has successfully trained, mentored and coached hundreds of people in her career. To learn more about Mariana, click here

Mariana Jaeger


Austin, Texas based, serving clients globally.

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