Why are some entrepreneurs successful, while others aren’t?

The main difference between successful and struggling entrepreneurs with the same amount of capital, intelligence and talent is that the first has a growth mindset while the second has very likely a fixed mindset.

Of course, there are several other factors that play a role in reaching your full potential, but a growth mindset is one of the fundamental elements that contribute to your success.

In today´s blog post, I will define a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. I will also share a personal story that illustrates the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset, and at the end of this article, I will show how you can develop a growth mindset in 5 steps.

Overview

  • What is a fixed mindset?
  • What is a growth mindset?
  • Personal Story
  • Develop a growth mindset with the following 5 elements
    • Element 1: Be open to learn, improve, and grow
    • Element 2: Be motivated by setbacks
    • Element 3: Embrace a culture of growth and teamwork
    • Element 4: Be self-confident and inspire
    • Element 5: Embrace self-transformation
  • Summary

What is a fixed mindset?

According to Stanford social psychology professor Carol Dweck[1], who specializes in mindset psychology, a fixed mindset is when people believe their basic qualities, intelligence, talents, and abilities are fixed traits. They believe that they have a certain amount of these traits and can´t change that.

People with a fixed mindset measure their self-worth by how many talents they have and what is easy for them to handle. Dweck summarizes this as follows:

  • “These people think things like ‘Better do not make any mistakes, what will others think of me?’
  • Failures deeply unsettle them because the image of their personality begins to falter:
  • ‘Don’t I have this talent?’ Since they don’t have a strategy to grow with challenges, they try to avoid them.”

What is a growth mindset?

But people with a growth mindset believe that even basic talents and abilities can be developed over time through effort, experience, and mentorship.

  • Initial talents, aptitudes, interests or temperaments can be changed and grown through application and experience. These are the people who really go for it in life.
  • They’re not worried about how smart they are, how they’ll look, what a mistake will mean.
  • They challenge themselves constantly to grow and assume that they can always develop and learn everything.
  • They tend to think, “Hey, this is a great opportunity, I can learn something new. I feel good when I try something difficult.”

And if something does go wrong, people with a growth mindset wonder what they could do better next time. People with this inner conviction love challenges and see failures as steps on their way to success.

Personal Story

When I was in grade school in Germany, one day my teacher asked my parents and me to come to his office. After the usual pleasantries, he said that he doesn´t believe that I have the talent to go to high school and college (vs entering the German system of vocational apprenticeship). He believed that my talents and abilities were fixed traits and I was not able to develop them. I experienced firsthand a fixed mindset mentality at school, as it was all about whether I was talented or not.  

However, I was lucky: my father challenged the belief that my talents and abilities were fixed and helped me to develop them instead. His attitude was that I could learn anything I put my mind to and he modeled this mindset for me. Most importantly, I learned from my mistakes and sought to do better next time. This empowering mindset proved my teacher wrong and led me on a journey of self-discovery and the development of most of my talents and skills.

Develop a growth mindset with the following five elements:

⇒ Element 1: Be open to learn, improve, and grow

Successful entrepreneurs with a growth mindset:

  • Are willing to learn, improve constantly, and give their best.
  • Surround themselves with talented people.
  • Believe in human potential and personal development.
  • Create a new compelling belief in themself and in their skills and abilities.
  • Believe in their capacity for positive change.
  • Are willing to look at their own mistakes and not blame others.
  • Ask what skills they and their employees will need in order to be successful.
  • Entrepreneurs with a growth mindset take calculated risks and the right action.
  • They take charge and go beyond their comfort zone.

⇒ Element 2: Be motivated by setbacks

  • If you have a growth mindset, it doesn´t mean you won’t encounter failure and setbacks.
  • Prepare yourself for facing these challenges and for failing sometimes.
  • The difference between entrepreneurs who have a fixed mindset and those who embrace a growth mindset is that the latter perceive a setback as a wake-up call and feedback as to how they can do better next time. 
  • Failure is an opportunity to learn from experiences and apply what they have learned next time. Setbacks are motivating for them and don´t bring them down.

⇒ Element 3: Embrace a culture of growth and teamwork

  • If you enter the world of growth mindset entrepreneurs, you will see a world that expands and is filled with energy and possibilities.
  • It is important to do what you love and passionate about, because it’s much easier to succeed.
  • Growth mindset entrepreneurs embrace a culture of growth and teamwork in their company.
  • A good example is Elon Musk. He has grown several businesses to great success. For more inspiration, I recommend reading his interesting biography.2

⇒ Element 4: Be self-confident and inspire

  • True self-confidence means that one has the courage to be open to change and new ideas regardless of their origin. It is reflected in your mindset and willingness to grow.
  • Commit to being an inspiration to others and use the success of others to get inspiration as well.

⇒ Element 5: Embrace self-transformation

  • An entrepreneur who embraces self-transformation will lead the company to sustainable growth and success. He/ she will be a true leader.
  • Cultivate and work on becoming more aware of your talents, strengths, and weaknesses.

Ponder the following questions:

  • Does your company embrace a fixed or a growth mindset?
  • How could you profit from the feedback you get from your employees and customers?
  • Are there ways you could create more learning experiences for yourself?

Summary

  • Key Point #1: A growth mindset is one of the fundamental elements that contribute to your business success.
  • Key Point #2: A fixed mindset is when people believe their basic qualities, intelligence, talents, and abilities are fixed traits.
  • Key Point #3: People with a growth mindset believe that even basic talents and abilities can be developed over time through effort, experience, and mentorship.
  • Key Point #4: You can develop a growth mindset and change your fixed mindset.

Supporting you

Are you interested in developing a growth mindset culture in your company?

If so, contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation https://nextlevelcoach.as.me/schedule.php

Coming up next month…

In my next blog post, I’ll shed more light on how to handle setbacks positively (element #2) so you can be successful again.

Stay tuned!


[1] Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. (2006), The New Psychology of Success, P.11ff.

[2] Anna C. Redding “Elon Musk: A Mission to Save the World”

Hashtags: #Mindset #GrowthMindset #FixedMindset #Entrepreneur  #Success #Potential #CarolDweck #PersonalStory #EntrepreneuralGrowthMindset #UncontestedMarkets #BlueOceanStrategy #ElonMusk #ChanKim #RenèeMauborgne #AnnaRedding #mariusbill 

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