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Charting Confidence and The Growth Mindset

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The thing with confidence is that sometimes it arrives when you don’t need it – and then is nowhere to be found when you do. It’s infuriating! Sometimes you look around and wonder how so many others could possibly be so headstrong – so sure of themselves and their tasks that they MUST have some secret – some way that allows them to take on everything that’s thrown at them. How do they do it? How does internationally renowned singer Adele flawlessly execute her shows, and yet suffers from severe performance anxiety?  Or how Stephen Colbert, talk show host of The Late Show, had massive panic attacks in his 20’s? How did some of the most confident people you may know in your life get that way?

The truth is, most confident people are in what many refer to the “fake it till you make it” mindset. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every confident person is faking it, moreso that becoming confident is a product of practicing confidence. Practicing confidence is an active endeavor, and takes time to hone. In an article by the Harvard Business Review, Tony Schwartz, the president and CEO of The Energy Project, goes on to say:

“‘The best way to build confidence in a given area is to invest energy in it and work hard at it,’ says Schwartz. Many people give up when they think they’re not good at a particular job or task, assuming the exertion is fruitless. But Schwartz argues that ‘deliberate practice will almost always trump natural aptitude.’”

Essentially, practicing active confidence can aid in building passive confidence. It’s kind of like working a muscle – the more you exercise, the stronger that muscle becomes.

Similarly, the growth mindset is also something that we are all capable of building. The basis of this mindset is that we, as humans, have the ability to change the way we think and perceive the world around us. With this in mind, it’s possible for us to develop our thinking in a way that promotes learning, emotional growth and intelligence. A way of thinking that constantly says “we can always become better.”

So what is stopping us from becoming our best selves? In an article on Brainpickings.org, Stanford scientist Carol Dweck goes on in detail about a mindset of wanting to learn more, and the other – which tends towards the mindset of always wanting to be right, or “correct.” Dweck goes on to say:

“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

Once learned, the growth mindset can help in the dissection and solution of problems. It’s not that the individual is not intelligent enough and never will be, it’s quite the opposite. The individual with the growth mindset is able to identify that they cannot solve the problem at the current time, and yet have the tenacity to throw themselves at the problem until it is solved. In this way, practicing confidence and the growth mindset go hand in hand in potentially producing better outlooks, and better results in confidence-building. All you need is practice!

If you’re interested in improving your own growth mindset, taking stock of your strengths, or curious about ways to practice confidence, sign up for our Talent Accelerator Platform (TAP) and learn how to can become your best professional self and to confidently market yourself as such.