I have believed in the power of a growth mindset for a number of years now. Professor Carol Dweck, the renowned psychologist from Stanford University, says “people with a growth mindset... admire effort, for no matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites the ability and turns it into accomplishment.”
Making a career change back in 2008 to come and work at Winning Scotland Foundation was a big step in my life. Where I previously worked at Cairn Energy, employees were always encouraged to develop themselves in different areas and to believe ‘there was no bar in life!’. And although you think you believe it, it is not until you take that scary first step outside your comfort zone that you realise that each and every one of us human beings is born with huge potential… so much potential that we will probably never know quite what we could achieve!
Unfortunately, developing a growth mindset wasn’t something we were encouraged to do at school. Like many others I’m sure, I believed there were people who were just born with academic or sporting talents. I always remember the star athletes at school - Caroline, who was amazing at sprinting and long jump, and Emma and Jill, the gymnasts who just seemed to have fantastic talent. Back then I believed that they were the ‘lucky’ ones… they were the ones to have been gifted with natural athlete genes and I would just have to settle for the run of the mill abilities I had been dealt with. Oh, how wrong I was…
Reading Professor Dweck’s Mindset book this year and listening to her in September when she visited has really refocused my views on growth mindset and how beneficial it can be to your whole life. Just imagine if we could enable every young person in Scotland to see that they had so much potential in them, imagine what their lives would be like if they truly believed in themselves and acted on it… the transformation could be quite special!
So, do I still believe I don’t have a marathon in me because I wasn’t built for it? You’ll have to watch this space!