Very recently I had to sit through the analysis of my workplace annual engagement survey, and whilst that was a bundle of ‘fun’ there was something important I took away from that session.
My Human Resources representative, a lovely and charismatic woman, spoke of one main point, “Mindset.”
There is a woman named Carol Dweck, a Professor at Stamford University, who has done studies around this very point. If you read on, I think you’ll agree that it makes complete sense. So much sense that maybe you’ll start to question how you operate, and how you might be able to improve the way you see yourself.
Professor Dweck speaks of Mindset in the sense of school education however, I believe it can also be applied quite well to each of us in our roller derby lives.
After hearing about Professor Dweck I did some searching online and found a couple of articles that I really liked. Please see the links in the footnotes if you’re interested in reading about this further- whilst somewhat long-winded they’re incredibly insightful.
Professor Dweck talks about Mindset in two ways, those with a “fixed” mindset, and those with a “growth” mindset. The diagram below shows the opposing ways the two mindsets approach common things such as challenges, obstacles, effort, criticism and the success of others.
One thing to note with this, that it’s not about being a positive person or a negative person, but rather someone who is fluid in how they see themselves and how they take on feedback from life, or whether they are rigid in their self-assessment, and are just “this is what I am.” An example of a growth mindset description might be “I try to learn something new every training session I attend.” A fixed mindset might be “As a skater I’m ok.” Both statements are reasonably positive, but the statement which is the most promising is the growth statement.
The next article I found (2) is based on how you can develop a growth mindset, as not everyone has this naturally. The good news is folks; there are 25 ways here that you can help you develop a more growth centric mindset. I have picked out the top 10 in the list that I feel relate the most to those of us playing roller derby.
1. Acknowledge and embrace imperfections. Hiding from your weaknesses means you’ll never overcome them.
2. View challenges as opportunities. Having a growth mindset means relishing opportunities for self-improvement. Learn more about how to fail well.
6. Stop seeking approval. When you prioritise approval over learning, you sacrifice your own potential for growth.
7. Value the process over the end result. Intelligent people enjoy the learning process, and don’t mind when it continues beyond an expected time frame.
15. Provide regular opportunities for reflection. Let students reflect on their learning at least once a day.
16. Place effort before talent. Hard work should always be rewarded before inherent skill.
18. Cultivate grit. Students with that extra bit of determination will be more likely to seek approval from themselves rather than others.
21. Learn from other people’s mistakes. It’s not always wise to compare yourself to others, but it is important to realise that humans share the same weaknesses.
22. Make a new goal for every goal accomplished. You’ll never be done learning. Just because your midterm exam is over doesn’t mean you should stop being interested in a subject. Growth-minded people know how to constantly create new goals to keep themselves stimulated.
25. Take ownership over your attitude. Once you develop a growth mindset, own it. Acknowledge yourself as someone who possesses a growth mentality and be proud to let it guide you throughout your educational career.
I look at these points above and think about how I approach my life:
- Do I recognise my failings, and strive to improve them?
- Do I keep pushing myself further, or seek confirmation that I’ve done all I can do?
- When I finish a training session, do I feel like I have put everything out there – have I done the very best I could do or have I just been present?
- Watching my team mates – when I’ve noticed that there’s a common error being made, am I doing the same thing, or do I learn from this and better myself?
- Do I set goals? Do I push myself further and higher?
- Finally how do I see myself – do I have a growth attitude?
Well I’m going to be honest; I think I’m a little column A and a little column B but I’m going to seriously look at myself and see where I can be better, and do better.
Growth mindset here I come!