Our minds, when in the right state, create so many opportunities for success. As women, we are often buried in societal expectations and limitations, like our success being exclusively defined by marriage and children. I had to reflect on this very expectation and the limitations it put on me. I spent so much time feeling like I was failing, but all that changed when I learned about the power of mindsets, and it transformed my life forever.
A professor at Stanford, Carol Dweck conducted research and found that people have two types of mindsets, growth and fixed. A growth mindset is the belief that your qualities can be changed and nurtured through effort. An individual with a growth mindset believes anything is possible. No matter the environment, available resources, innate abilities, or personalities, everyone has an opportunity to grow into what they want to be.
Conversely, many of us are held hostage by old beliefs, like the ones our parents, pastors and professors have told us. These limiting beliefs have caused many of us to believe our success is defined in a singular way, which is why we can create our own ceilings or why we stop believing there are still opportunities for us to grow. Dweck labeled this belief system as a fixed mindset. In a fixed mindset we do not believe we can grow or develop. With this mindset we often fall victim to perfectionism, stagnation, and insecurities; we become afraid to try anything new or realize our dreams for fear of failure.
As Psychology Today noted, “Even if every external disadvantage to a woman’s rising to the top of an organization is removed…we would still have to deal with the fact that through our mistaken beliefs about our abilities, we may be our own worst enemy.”
Our thoughts affect our success. Manifesting is real. What we think and believe translates into how we live. Your mind will either help or hinder you. When we sit in a fixed space, we avoid engaging in actions where we think we might fail, unlike a growth mindset where we are ready to try everything, without fear or concern of the outcome. Instead, we focus on the process, taking actions that brings us closer to achieving our goals.
Transform the Way You Think, Find Success
Are you your own worst enemy? Have you defined your success by the standard of others? Do you think you are too “old” to fulfill your dreams? I’m here to tell you it’s all nonsense. You can be whatever you want and there is no timeline or social construct that can change that. But first, you must overcome a fixed mindset and change how you think, process information, show gratitude and love ourselves. Once you do that… you will see success beyond our wildest imagination.
Here are five steps to transform the way you think, create more opportunities for success and begin to live a much happier life.
- Be Mindful – Recognize the negative or blaming thoughts and transition them into positive reinforcements towards meeting your goals.
- Avoid Fear – More times than not we fear things that are not real, but instead are made up scenarios aimed at preventing our growth and success.
- Escape the Perfectionism – This one has got to go. It serves zero purpose. You will never find true success and happiness with this albatross hanging around your neck. It doesn’t get you to where you want to be. It limits you from being all you can be. Failure is the ONLY way to learn, get better, and succeed.
- Find Your Purpose – We are driven by our purpose, the thing we are supposed to do and be in this life. We thrive in a space of authenticity when we can truly be ourselves. Find your passion and go!
- Express Gratitude for Everything – Believe it or not the more grateful you are, the freer your mind will be. We give thanks for the blessings, and we give even more for the challenges. In the end, all our experiences are a blessing.
As Dr. Dweck says in her book, “When people hold on to a fixed mindset, it’s often for a reason. At some point in their lives, it served a good purpose for them” and that makes sense because we live in a society that values perfection, even at the expense of people’s mental health. However, when we let perfection go, you will see your greatest potential and live happier.
I often think of pioneers like Mary Jackson, the first black, female engineer at NASA or Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the US to be granted a medical degree and marvel at what an incredible growth mindset they must have had to believe they could overcome centuries of prejudice to do what they loved. It reminds me that there is no reason each one of us cannot do the same.