Fixed vs. Growth Mindset: What’s the Difference and How Do We Know When it’s Time for a Shift?

When I think of mindset, I can’t help but think of a famous Henry Ford quote that states, “Whether you think you can, or you think you cant’ you’re right.” So good and so true! This statement to me indicates that what we believe to be true about ourselves will show in the outcomes or lack thereof when it comes to our success in our personal or professional lives, and in every aspect of our life. 

I enjoy talking about mindset because once we understand how powerful it is, it can lead us to positive growth. For anyone looking to grow personally or professionally, it’s crucial we know the difference between a fixed and growth mindset, and I am here to share some examples and offer some questions to ask ourselves that can help determine if it’s time for a mindset shift. Here we go! 

Fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe their intelligence, talents and basic abilities are traits that are fixed. They believe they possess a certain amount of these traits and leave it at that. They strive to look smart and have a real fear of seeming like they lack intelligence. 

Growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset believe and understand that their traits and abilities can be developed through the amount of effort they apply in what they do. They believe they can learn and acquire new skills and get smarter by working toward it. 

Do you resonate with either of these? Maybe a mix of both? Good news is there’s room for growth in both categories! We can shift our thoughts and we can always learn and develop more which in turn will expand us and our opportunities. So, when is it time for a mindset shift? Well, when we take a moment and become aware of how we are feeling and what we are feeling isn’t sittin’ right with us, it’s time. Time to start making some positive changes. That’s only one indicator, there are many others. Today, what I want to do is provide you with the questions below,  if answered very honestly, this can also lead you to determine if it’s time for a shift. 

  • Do you put a lot of focus on what goes wrong in your life? 
  • Do you feel like you’re drowning in failure? 
  • Do you constantly feel disappointed by the expectations you set for yourself or others?
  • Do you feel like life is extremely stressful a lot of the time? 

Now that you’ve answered, and if you answered “yes” to any of the above questions…keep reading! I encourage you to keep reading with an open mind. Before I go on, I want to make very clear that making a shift in what our minds are set on is not easy nor will it miraculously make life easier tomorrow or make our worries disappear. Making shifts can take time and it takes practice. Mucho practice!

Okay, let’s keep going. Let’s start getting a little more comfortable with the idea that shifting to a growth mindset is good practice for us. There are many benefits to making these shifts. For example, doing so can help you take in feedback better (your colleagues, friends and family will love you for this!) You will start showing up determined to tackle tasks. Shifts can keep you in a positive state looking for ways to continually improve and learn new abilities. New and improved abilities can lead to advancement and can make you a more interesting human being. Not that’s pretty cool! What’s even cooler? We are not stuck with our current thoughts and mindset forever. As we learn to shift our thinking and what our mind is set on, we literally have the power to retrain our brain, creating new neural pathways. We have the power to change, for the better, and that my friends is very cool in my book. 

Here is a diagram to help differentiate between fixed vs. growth mindset and below are some tips to START making the shifts.

Tips to START making these shifts:

  1. We must first acknowledge and accept we want to make shifts.
  2. Begin to pay attention to the fixed mindset voice in your head, when you catch it, know that you have a choice, a NEW choice to make. 
  3. Practice, practice, practice! Speak to yourself using growth mindset language (see diagram) “my creativity can improve” “I learn through failure” “I will embrace this challenge.” etc. and be persistent with yourself and the action you take. This takes time.
  4. Totally natural that fear will kick in. Do your best to welcome it. Fear lives in ALL of us, the sooner we welcome it, the sooner we learn to live with it, without it dominating our life.
  5. Celebrate the little wins! If you have setbacks, that’s okay. Start again, start messy, start over, you don’t lose, you learn.

If you are up for making some shifts…you’ve got this! You are powerful and capable. 

Cheering you on!


Tu amiga,