In the song “Both”, Drake raps, “See, the power of the mind is not a joke.” He clearly recognizes the relationship between mindset and success.
Caroline Crawford, Chief Program Officer of the Girls Empowerment Network, shared her personal experiences in developing a growth mindset with the Young Women’s Alliance. Caroline also referenced research by Dr. Carol Dweck, author of MindSet.
Our mindsets, or attitude and world views, develop early in life. As boys grow up, they are taught to be brave. They’re encouraged to run around, take risks, fall down, and get back up again. Girls, however, are taught to be perfect, which means very little risk-taking and no room for failure.
This pressure to be perfect is apparent throughout girlhood. Only 4% of high school girls nationally are not trying to lose weight. Seven out of ten girls feel like they don’t measure up in terms of looks, grades, and relationships.
These statistics are important because the ideas of our youth follow us into adulthood. There are stories we hear when we are young that shape the way we view ourselves and others. These paradigms, or lenses through which we view the world, exist whether we recognize them or not.
The stories you hear about yourself often become self-fulfilling prophecies if you let them. They affect our self-image and can help or hinder our success in life.
Through Dr. Carol Dweck’s research, she discovered that successful people typically have a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset.
A fixed mindset sounds like:
- I stick to what I know.
- Effort to improve is a waste of time.
- When setbacks happen, it’s easier to give up.
- Successful people were born smart/talented/gifted.
A growth mindset sounds like:
- I am able to learn new things and take risks.
- How can I improve my skills?
- My mistakes help me learn.
- I wonder how people are successful, I bet I can figure it out.
When we have a fixed mindset, we repeat the same stories to ourselves and think we cannot change from that narrative. But when we shift our thinking and focus on what we can learn and change, we empower ourselves to reach our potential.
Caroline is a big fan of the word “yet”. This one word can switch a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Simply add the word “yet” to the end of any negative narratives, and it transforms the thought into a potential change. For example: “I’m not good at fundraising… yet.” “I’m not a runner… yet.” “I’m not CEO material… yet.”
There are several steps you can take to develop a growth mindset:
- Recognize it’s a practice.
- Rewrite your narrative.
- Let go of societal pressures.
- Give and receive feedback genuinely.
- Practice self-compassion.
Both the Young Women’s Alliance and Girls Empowerment Network empower women and girls to identify and grow their own strengths and lift others. The growth mindset is a crucial piece of developing your skills to reach your goals. And if all else fails, turn up some Drake, and get inspired.