How a Growth Mindset Can Make You a Better Coach, Parent, and Leader

Posted on 01. May, 2017 by in Get Motivated, Lifestyle

Every so often I come across a book that makes such an impact in my life that I buy a bunch for my coaches. This most recent book was “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.

Zeroing in on the “Growth versus Fixed Mindset” in my own life, it has opened so many new doors and has helped our CrossFit gym grow to become a success. The quality of my life is the best it’s ever been.

Maybe it’s actually changed, or maybe it’s just my perspective on it. Either way, this is some powerful sh*t.

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This next excerpt is from the book “Mindset”.
“In the past, I had assigned a paper that asked students to reflect on their mindsets, and I’d always had a few of them laying claim to a long-standing and total growth mindset. But this year I asked them to identify their fixed-mindset triggers and to give their fixed-mindset persona a name. It was fascinating. Not one student claimed to have no triggers or persona.” -Carol Dweck

Here the author is encouraging you to identify your fixed mindset triggers so that you can recognize them and minimize their effect. As I learned in the book, identifying your fixed mindset faults first, allows you to paint a much clearer picture of your growth mindset.

Instead of going into detail of the definitions of the two mindsets, you will learn a lot about them through this painting of my own mindset picture.

I’ve had a fixed mindset my whole life (until recently).

When I look back at my childhood, I was deathly afraid to make mistakes and even more afraid to admit them. I was a shy kid growing up. As Dweck states in her book, “The fixed mindset makes you concerned about judgment, and this can make you more self-conscious and anxious.”

My fear of saying the wrong thing often paralyzed me from talking at all. The only place I felt comfortable or free was on a sports field or court.

In sports, I knew I could work hard to improve my abilities to become a better athlete. But no matter how good I got at a sport, I never thought of myself as one of the best athletes. I believed that was reserved for the players who were born to be the best. Similarly, in the classroom I thought I’d never be as smart as the kids who were born with more brain cells.

I fell into a trap that is outlined in “Mindset”, about how we believe everyone is given their abilities at birth and we can’t do much more than what we are given.

This is an awful mindset to have, especially when you are a coach or parent.

When I was young, our dad taught us an important lesson about “always being a student and to never stop learning,” because after all, he was showing us new things he had learned every day. This is also a lesson explicitly explained by Dweck when talking about a growth mindset.

Somewhere along the way, around high school, where learning was really boring and forced upon me, I lost ways with this growth mindset approach to learning.

It wasn’t until we opened our gym that I really got down what a growth mindset was. And after reading “Mindset”, it gave me the context behind all the mindset changes I was already going through as I became a business owner, coach, and parent all at once.

My growth mindset was galvanized into me as an evolution of my life experiences over these past four years.

The greatest change came from experiencing the changes in my athletes. Now that I was on the coaching side of the sport of CrossFit, I could see athletes succeed or fail simply due to their psyche. I was also witnessing growth in people I didn’t even know was possible.

I’ve learned that physical ability has nothing to do with a person’s success in having a long, abundant career in CrossFit; It has everything to do with mindset and that athlete’s mental approach to each day.

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The athletes with the growth mindset have the greatest potential for success. They believe anything is possible if they work at it. They look forward to learning new things and aren’t afraid to let go of previous biases. They have faults, gladly admit them, and then try their best to move past them. Faults and self doubt is never a limiting factor. They have their doubts but they push them aside in order to perform.

Every aspect of CrossFit has become much more fun for me as I’ve cast my fixed mindset aside. I’ve learned that if I have any kind of limiting thought towards my athletes, it’s only a reflection of what I believe I can do as a coach.

As a CrossFit athlete, my workouts are a lot more fun with a growth mindset. Every day is an experience for me. It’s not just a means to an end. Each workout is a chance to hang out with my friends, it’s pushing my body to new limits, strengthening my mind, and learning more about myself and about CrossFit.

I’ve learned that CrossFit, business, parenting, life, etc., etc. all have to be hard at times if you want it to be worth it. And once you start viewing obstacles and conflicts as “fun”, there are endless possibilities for your success.

Dweck writes in her book, “I’ll never forget the first time I heard myself say, ‘This is hard. This is fun.’ That’s the moment I knew I was changing mindsets.”

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In my life, I’ve recognized my fixed mindset causing more problems than just shyness or an invisible ceiling on my greatness. At times it has caused me anxiety. It has created conflict where there wasn’t any, and enlarged some to stupid proportions.

My fixed mindset keeps me on the defense and reactive to situations out of my control. It sometimes sees the worst in people, when my growth mindset does the opposite. My growth mindset knows that everything and everyone is entitled to their own perspective. Most problems of our society today vary in magnitude by way of the lenses that they are being viewed through. Some with growth mindsets wouldn’t see them as problems at all.

I love my growth mindset.

I can hit resistance and know how to move past it. I can enter a conflict and know how to amicably resolve it. I can have feelings of anxiety and stress, and know exactly how to bring my body and mind back to my center. I know there are endless possibilities for growth for myself and everyone around me. As I’ve seen many times over in my gym, anyone and anything can be improved with endless limitations.

My growth mindset has taught me to be happy with myself and confident in my current abilities. No matter if I want to be stronger or faster or smarter or whatever, I have to be happy with how far I’ve already gotten to be where I am today. There is no limit to my potential, and any thought that contradicts that will be quickly forgotten.

I’m no longer afraid to fail, and failure has a much different definition than it use to.

If any time I fail, but learn from my mistakes, it’s not a failure in my book. Thus failure is as much in the mind as everything else. It’s up to me how I perceive an event, how I react, and what that outcome is.

Success in any field is hard to define what it actually is. I have to remember success is learning. Success is growth. That’s all it is.

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