Why You Should Focus on Growth in Your Career
Learning to recognize one’s mistakes is one of the most overlooked keys to success in the workplace. This characteristic, often called the “growth mindset,” is a significant difference from “fixed mindset” approaches like “fixed attention,” which means that both are equally important, but in different ways. A fixed mindset is more about internal reflection, whereas a growth mindset focuses on improving the results rather than the process.
And that’s certainly a good thing.
Having a growth mindset is important, not only in the workplace, but in everyday life. When we’re focused on the self-improvement process, we’re not as likely to suffer bad consequences for a mistake.
There are three types of mistakes:
Anachronistic, or well-intentioned but inaccurate info: When you get a memo that says, “new positions can only be filled by those with academic degrees in a preferred major,” the memo is bound to lead to mistakes. Don’t trust the assumption that someone has proper information when they give you a hard time. That person probably thinks a different person from you at the company has the correct information. Always think for yourself.
Unintended consequence: The experiment you’re about to do with your experiment product may not even occur. Maybe your hands will water themselves. Maybe you’ll get sick. Maybe you’ll run out of paper towels. These are all things that may be unintended consequences to your initiative. Let go of the expectation that your experiment will work out exactly as planned.
Poor implementation: If your idea for a new product doesn’t work, or you get annoyed at work or at home, that can be considered a mistake. You might not have followed the plan, and you might not have had an adequate communications plan.
A growth mindset doesn’t mean that you aren’t aware of your mistakes. It means that you take accountability for them, and recognize that this is a learning experience. The consequences are still there. You can still fritter away time or energy while trying to find a solution to your mistake.
If you realize that, even though you tried hard to fix your mistake, it didn’t work, you’ll probably notice the first few hours after you start making that mistake. Focus on the little success you have in the midst of the challenges. Remember that every mistake you make has its own little lessons to learn and be grateful for.