Why Career Growth depends on our mindset

At some stage in our careers many of us will feel unsure about the direction we are going. Perhaps we might not envisage a long term future with our current employer. Maybe we have not spent enough time on creating the right development plan to achieve our goals. But, above all, the biggest obstacle to our career could be our own mindset.

Carol Dweck of Stanford University identified two mindsets people can have about their talents and abilities – growth mindsets or fixed mindsets.

Fixed mindset: People believe their abilities and intelligence are static and feel they need to prove themselves over and over.  They may tend to avoid challenges, give up easily, and sometimes ignore helpful, constructive feedback.

Growth mindset: People believe they have the ability to learn and grow through effort and practice  and as they are more inclined to embrace challenges, stay persistent in the face of setbacks, and welcome constructive feedback.

The difference between the two mindsets is that one creates a need for approval, while the other builds a passion for continuous learning and growth.

Having a growth career mindset can help us to think differently about our career route. Traditionally, when we think about career growth, we envision climbing the corporate ladder however career growth doesn’t always involve a promotion.  Growth is making a decision on what your career goals are and how you’re going to achieve them. It’s about taking the best next step towards being great at what you do.

It could be as simple as building relationships with your manager, colleagues, or considering a specialist role rather than the traditional next level leadership role. It may be doing some work on building your communication skills. It may be deciding to acquire a role that fits better with your lifestyle and values.

The key takeaways here are:


  • Whatever you feel like you could do better, focus on developing that skill and developing a realistic plan to succeed
  • Be open to routes that fall outside of the traditional career path.
  • Consider that  “up” isn’t the only direction that can help you achieve your goals and bring career satisfaction

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