You may have heard the term growth mindset before, but do you really know what it means? It is often interpreted as people willing to learn, change or grow. This is true, but it is actually much more than that. Someone with a growth mindset believes that they can improve their knowledge and skills, and by proxy their professional performance, through personal effort and action.
Carol Dweck of Stanford University was the first to coin the term ‘growth mindset’. In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she showed how an individual’s mindset is related to where they think ability comes from. Growth mindset people believe people can change. They are also the person who sees a setback as an opportunity; that through failure we can learn and improve.
A ‘fixed mindset’ person on the other hand believes your ability to succeed is fixed, that you are born with innate intelligence, skills or talents, and you cannot improve on it through hard work. A fixed mindset person struggles to grow and improve because they think they inherently cannot be more of the person they want to be – and they may find themselves intimidated and defensive around those who are.
The defining factors of growth mindset
The good news is that, because of brain plasticity, you can teach yourself to adopt a growth mindset at any time of your life which is particularly important for building the resilience and skills needed for sales success – here’s why:
- Challenges help me grow
New clients offer up not just new problems, but an opportunity to develop a new solution. Get into your client’s shoes, think about your products differently, understand what it is you can really offer.
- Feedback is useful
It is easy to assume feedback, from a client or a colleague, is criticism. But ask yourself, what can I learn from what others tell me? This sort of thinking is key to understanding why a sales pitch is successful, and how you can improve.
- Failure is temporary
A dry patch can lead even the most seasoned sales person to question their ability. But instead of getting stuck in this rut, remind yourself this situation is temporary and ask yourself what lessons you can learn and how they can boost you out of this negative groove.
- Be inspired by others’ success
Sales is often very competitive, but you don’t need to feel threatened by others. You truly know you have a growth mindset when you can look at another successful individual without an ounce of jealously and ask, ‘what can I learn from this person?’
- Effort leads to mastery
Enjoy sales but worried you’re not a natural? The truth is, nobody is. If you put in the effort to learn then you will improve – that is the secret.
Exercise your growth mindset with a course from David Forman.