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Developing a Success Mindset

Do you want to succeed? Of course you do! What a ridiculous question, right? A question you probably more often actually ask yourself is “Do I have what it takes to achieve success at what I do?” The answer to that is another question, “Do you have a success mindset?” That’s what most centrally sets the successful person apart from the unsuccessful.


What is a mindset? A mindset is simply a way of thinking and an individual’s thought pattern or mental attitude. Your mindset is your thoughts, your beliefs, and your interpretation of situations around you. It shapes what you do and how you do things. It is absolutely essential that this be the right direction in order for you to achieve your goals.


Several elements make up a successful mindset. A growth mindset is having a thought pattern of self-improvement. It’s having the belief that your abilities and flaws can be improved upon. You see your mistakes and failures as learning opportunities. The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. You see your failures as permanent limitations.


Positive thinking or optimism is seeing the positive side of any given situation. It’s believing in positive possibilities for yourself. This is neither blind nor unrealistic. It is believing that as long as you are willing to take action with wise plans and strategies you can achieve your goals.


Intrinsic motivation is also vital. It means motivation comes from within. You are driven by internal rewards, not external rewards. It means not depending on external rewards or people other than yourself for inspiration to achieve your goals. This is the most powerful and effective form of motivation. It is THE motivation because it leads to great persistence, commitment, determination, and wise sacrifice to achieve your goals.


How rare is it? Well, current stats tell us that organizations worldwide spend $356 billion a year on leadership development, yet 75% of organizations rate their leadership programs as being not very effective. 75% of employees report that their boss is the worst and most stressful part of their job. 65% of employees say they would take a new boss over a pay raise. 60% of employees report that their boss damages their self-esteem. (Ryan Gottfredson, Success Mindsets)


If a leader wants to develop a mindset that does not come naturally to him or her, that person must create habits to activate and exercise their positive mindset on a repeated basis. Admittedly, it is not easy to change a mindset that has been set for some time. But it is definitely doable.


When a leader has a growth mindset, since they believe that people can change, grow, and improve, they are not concerned about looking good. Instead, they are focused on learning and growing. They see challenges, and even failure, as opportunities to develop themselves. Negative mindsets, that will not grow you or make you succeed, are all short-term and self-focused. They are fueled by the desire to…

  • Look good (fixed mindset)

  • Be right (closed mindset)

  • Avoid problems (prevention mindset)

  • Get ahead (inward mindset)

What’s wrong with these desires? No one wants to look bad, be wrong, have problems, or get passed up. The problem is that these are all self-focused desires. Self-focused people have a hard time recognizing the impact of their decisions upon others. Emotionally intelligent leaders are the exact opposite. Self-focused people may think and say they are trying their best, but they leave a trail of emotional litter and damage behind them.

On the other hand, other-focused leaders have positive mindsets:

  • Growth – Desire to learn and grow

  • Open – Desire to find truth and think optimally

  • Promotion – Desire to reach goals

  • Outward – Desire to lift others

These mindsets change the way we do everything.


Regardless of what you want to accomplish or who you want to lead, it begins with the right mindset. Here are a few tips for getting there.


Define what success means for you. When you set goals for yourself it’s easier to come up with a plan of action and maintain the motivation to carry them out. It also gives you a standard against which to measure your progress and adjust your strategy. It helps you make progress and stay on track.


Try setting over-arching goals in each area of life you want to change. Then make short- term goals daily or weekly that keep you on track. Monitor them and see how you grow!

Stay in touch with your intuition. Of course you want to stay on top of facts and data as you proceed. But the data you would like is not always available. You occasionally have to make decisions where there is no definitive answer in the data for you. In this situation, you must be able to listen to your intuition. Though it is not a perfect source of information, our intuitions can often sort out problems more quickly than conscious thought can. Staying in touch with and acknowledging your gut will allow you to make decisive choices in difficult situations.


Always keep a positive attitude. Never underestimate the value of a positive attitude toward achieving your goals. There are always setbacks, obstacles, and failures along the way. But if you choose positive thinking you will reframe those setbacks as learning opportunities. When you do this you can overcome and keep on moving.Positive thinking without arrogance also makes you a more attractive person to be around, and that alone will enable you to contact people who can help you.


Do it. Transfer your thoughts into action. Thinking is not enough. You must translate your thoughts into action. The more readily you can transfer an idea or desire into a practical action, the easier it will be to make progress toward your goals.


Take complete responsibility. You must assume responsibility for all you do, whether it is good or bad. Blaming is not part of your toolbox. When you take complete responsibility, you act quickly to rectify something you know you did wrong, accidentally or intentionally. It allows you to grow your character and preserve your reputation. You can grow by figuring out how to avoid that mistake in the future. Also, you will need to humbly acknowledge your responsibility for the decisions that led to your success.


You can be successful even if your prior record is not at all impressive. It begins with the way you think and the subsequent actions you take.

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