Spark #

(Mind) Set for Success

In this spark, you’ll learn about identifying the things that might make your fixed mindset show up. “When you hit a setback, the chances are excellent [your fixed mindset] is going to show up to it about how you plan to learn from the setback and go forward."

Spark #
(Mind) Set for Success
What We're Talking About

The principle we're discussing

We must be aware of the fixed mindset “triggers”: what we are doing, saying, or listening to that currently keeps us in a fixed mindset.

Just like anything else from your past, you might develop “triggers” related to your fixed mindset—phrases, songs, maybe even certain people who send your brain back to that fixed mindset space. 

It happens to everyone, but it’s easy to combat if you’ve taken the time to set yourself up with tools that can help you respond to those “trigger” moments.

Why it Matters

Why this principle is important and matters to you

Knowing when your fixed mindset might show up doesn’t prevent it from showing up (sorry!), but it does mean you can set yourself up with the tools you need to return to your growth mindset when it does. 

Here’s a quote from one of the leaders Dr. Carol Dweck interviewed about how looming deadlines can be a trigger:

“When we have a work deadline and my team is under the gun, my fixed-mindset persona sits in judgment. Instead of empowering my team, I become a harping perfectionist—no one is doing it right, no one is working fast enough. Where are all those breakthrough ideas? We’ll never make it. As a result, I often just take over and do a lot of the work myself. Needless to say, it doesn’t do wonders for team morale.”

Knowing that their fixed-mindset persona shows up when their team is on deadline means that this leader can pay attention to what’s happening with their team in a way that helps them prevent this in the future. Do they work to make sure their team doesn’t end up on tight deadlines? Do they make a point of stepping back to let others lead when there is a tight deadline? Do they offer support without taking on all the work? Whatever their answers might be, knowing that this fixed-mindset moment might be coming gives them the opportunity to handle it differently.

How You Can Use It

This provides practical ways to apply learnings from this Spark

Remember how we told you it was important to identify your fixed mindset? This is part of the reason why.

In order to find your “triggers,” you first need to acknowledge that the fixed mindset exists so you can see when it shows up. Try answering some of these questions to identify your “triggers”:

  • The last time I struggled with or failed at something, what did my fixed mindset sound like? Was it loud? Subtle? Am I even able to notice it? 
  • What things do I tell myself when a project or task I’m working on fails?
  • What things do I tell myself when I’m struggling to complete a project or task because it’s harder than I thought it would be?
  • What things do I tell myself when I run into someone who is much better than me at a task I excel at? What about someone who is good at a task I’m not good at?
  • When a project or task that I am not involved in is unsuccessful, what do I think about the people involved? Do I judge those people (be it my colleagues, employees, or children)?

Once you’ve answered these questions, take time to notice where your fixed mindset very clearly stands out. Is it when you fail? Is it only when thinking about something you’ve worked on? Write down some of the moments where you noticed your fixed mindset is the loudest, and then think about how often you run into those types of moments. How can you set yourself up to return to your growth mindset the next time a moment like that comes up?


An opportunity to reflect on yourself and/or your team and how you can apply these insights

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