I’m currently reading Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset. In the book, she discusses two types of mindsets: Fixed and Growth, and their impact on everything from business to relationships to succeeding in school. Simplified, a growth mindset is the belief that you are limited by nothing. You can improve anything about yourself through learning and doing. A fixed mindset will tell you, “You’re not smart enough to do that.”
Obviously, we should all strive to have a growth mindset but this can be challenging. Dweck says that your mindset is influenced by all kinds of things, including how you were raised and your life experiences.
I’m listing the author’s 10 Steps, but with my own commentary and experience.
Be 100% accountable. If you do it, own it. Everyone hates that person that constantly blame shifts. This is true whether you run a Fortune 500 company, or you’re an hourly employee in a warehouse. By taking responsibility for your ideas and actions, those around you will trust you and follow your lead.
Do not be concerned with what others have. See also the Marketing Buzz in this newsletter. As business leaders and entrepreneurs, we have plenty of things to do and worry about to keep us busy. If you spend time worrying about what other companies are doing, you’re stealing time away from growing yourself and your own business.
Become an expert in your field. This one is self-explanatory. If you sell custom orthotics, you should know everything about types, indications, construction, and so on. During this weird time, many of us have found ourselves offering different products and services or trying different marketing methods. No one starts out as an expert. Don’t beat yourself up. Make it a priority to read and learn all you can. Try new things, test ideas, fail and succeed, and move forward. Take it from Sarah and me – we NEVER expected to be doing what we do, but we are constantly adapting to the world around us and what is needed in our industry.
Don’t focus on your failures. Oh, man. Since going out on my own in March 2017, and especially since becoming more visible and vocal in this industry, I have had failures. Many of them. Some so extreme that I was sure it was the end and I asked myself, “Is this worth it?” But then I pour myself a glass of wine, watch a few hours of reality TV, go to sleep, and wake up the next morning ready to move forward. We all have failures. Every “no” a sales rep hears could be considered a failure. The important thing is to not dwell on it, to learn from it, and keep moving forward.
Do the work and put in the time. It’s easy to look at a successful person or business and be jealous of how “lucky” they are. One of my favorite quotes is from TV producer Shonda Rhimes: “I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart. I am talented. I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.” I feel her sentiment in my bones.
Do what you love for the people who love what you do. Everything Sarah and I have done with PodiatryMeetings.com started as a desire to help our friends and colleagues. If you don’t believe in what you are doing and feel a conviction to deliver quality, you will ultimately fail. Always keep the needs of your customers and colleagues in your mind to drive what you do. Find a way to be passionate about what you do.
Don’t focus on money. In Dweck’s book Mindset, she makes an interesting comparison between leaders of two companies. The leader who focused on money ultimately failed while the leader who focused on solving problems and providing service was successful. In the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek, he points out that companies that play the price game limit themselves while companies that focus on the “why” are inspiring leaders. Think Dell compared to Apple.
Achieve your outcomes quickly. This is one that I am currently working on. I get so focused on making sure things are perfect before I put them out into the world that I often miss an opportunity. Don’t worry about being perfect. Just get it done. You can make it perfect later. For example, when we had the idea for a virtual exhibit hall, we wanted it to be perfect, of course; even though we had no idea what a “perfect” version of a virtual exhibit hall even was. No one did. So we did the best we could and we make changes and improvements as we go. Do your best and be prepared to listen to your audience and tweak things as needed. The most dangerous phrase in the world is “We’ve always done it this way.”
Be grateful for what you have. Google “the practice of gratitude journaling”. When you are always looking for things to be thankful for, you end up with an abundance of things to be thankful for. Science.
Become self-aware and understand your purpose. Your company most likely has a mission statement. When you feel like you are floating along and not sure what to do next, go back to your mission statement. Sarah reminds me of ours all the time because I get distracted easily. Want to take this a step further? Create a mission statement for YOU and remind yourself of it daily.