A chained baby elephant will try to break the tether around its leg but soon gives up – to the extent that even when full sized, it lets the weak rope keep him tied to the spot. WHY? Because it doesn’t believe it can break the rope, according to @MindFitCoaching.
Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. (Anthony Robbins) The elephant’s “fixed” mindset allows him to believe that initial failure is proof that the rope is unbreakable. A “growth” mindset says, “I haven’t broken this rope yet.”
Are our beliefs about ourselves and our clients holding us in the same place? They might be if we subscribe to the “fixed” mindset.
Dr. Carol Dweck (2006) who is a leading authority in motivation and personality, has discovered that our mindset is not a trivial oddity of our character, it creates our entire perception of attainable opportunities. According to Reza Zolfagharifard (@PractisePPsych), Carol Dweck’s work is about the power of beliefs. The beliefs we may or may not be aware of having, nonetheless they strongly affect our success. You can find out more about her book at MindsetOnline.
If you find yourself getting discouraged because Participants don’t engage, don’t attend meetings and classes, don’t fill-in-the-blank; then you might be focusing a little too much on the task. Watch out for this: keeping score can be downright discouraging. With the growth mindset, you soon learn to love the process, the growth. With a fixed mindset, it becomes easy to think in terms of the task, and whether or not it was completed. In other words, unless Participants comply, you could feel like you and they are losing. But with the growth mindset, the journey is the reward, because you and the Participant are picking up new skills and habits even when things don’t go as planned.
So what are your beliefs about the people you serve?
- Are they not good at budgeting personal or household income?
- Are they reluctant to enroll in classes?
- Are they exhibiting poor work habits?
There is a way to help people embrace the stretch in order to learn a new habit or skill. It’s all about encouraging them to master the learning, not the task. And we only need to add one little three-letter word to the sentence. Try this:
- She is not good at budgeting personal or household income – YET.
- He has not YET decided to enroll in classes.
- She is working on her attendance issues. She hasn’t been able to work a full month – YET.
As an authority figure in their lives, we shape mindsets through our actions and words. Every word and action can send a message. It tells your participants how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed-mindset message that implies your residents have permanent traits, or it can be a growth-mindset message that says: you are a developing person and I am interested.
Subscribing to the fixed mindset has pitfalls even when things are going well. If you believe that your Participants are successful due to some inherent trait like intelligence or talent, then you could be setting people up for failure. Why? Because if success at a thing depends upon talent, then people might give up at the first sign of failure. They fall prey to thinking, with a fixed mindset, that initial failure means they don’t really possess the ability. The growth mindset recognizes success but subscribes it to effort, persistence, or application of a previously-learned skill – anything but talent or natural ability.
Do the opposite and the unspoken judgment will discourage enrollment, engagement, and progress.