A growth mindset doesn’t necessarily come naturally, even if you have a curious bent. One reason is that social reward systems, including the workplace, tend to cater to what’s known as a fixed mindset. With a fixed mindset, you must have all the answers now. It’s your innate talent, personality, and intelligence that drive your success.
In other words, there’s no work for you to do. You have it, or you don’t. In contrast, a growth mindset says you can start from a baseline and improve over time. You can rely on your strengths while making strides in other areas.
Improving yourself is personally rewarding, but those benefits can also extend into your career. Want to learn how to leverage personal growth for professional success? Here are three ways.
1. Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress comes from feeling you don’t have the resources or the abilities to tackle what’s in front of you. Stress can come from your personal and professional responsibilities, but most people experience an overlap. Anxieties from what’s happening at home will impact how you handle your workday and vice versa.
Learning how to manage your stress levels means knowing what your triggers are. It also entails knowing what’s too much and setting boundaries. Yes, the thresholds for “too much” can vary from person to person. You may also find your stress tolerance changes based on your accumulated experiences, physical conditions, and environments.
Say fast-paced workplaces with lots of noise never used to bother you. But you’ve noticed your sensitivity to stimulation has increased after sustaining a concussion in a car accident. Managing your stress levels could mean taking more frequent breaks and giving yourself enough downtime at home. You could also seek out less stimulating work environments so you don’t encounter as many triggers.
At the same time, symptoms of stress could indicate something more serious. They might be a sign of depression, which impacts everything from your job to how you feel about yourself. Speaking to a mental health rehab advisor can help you diagnose and address underlying conditions. Taking time out could be what you need to move forward.
2. Explore Your Interests
You hear stories of people turning their passions into profitable businesses. Their pursuits may have started as a side hustle, but they eventually grow into a full-time career. These stories are inspiring, but entrepreneurship isn’t the road everyone wants to take. You might prefer to work in a team for a traditional employer with a mission that resonates with you. Nevertheless, you can still use your side interests to develop your career.
Take the technology industry, for instance. You might start in a support role, helping end users troubleshoot hardware and software problems. While you enjoy solving complex technical issues, you also like writing. You notice your department needs better documentation, including software installation guides. Combining your interests could mean learning the ins and outs of technical writing. You could take an online course, check out how-to books from the library, and explore the technique through experiential learning.
With experiential learning, you gain knowledge through real-world situations. In the above scenario, you could ask your employer to let you write technical documents on a trial basis. Communicate the need you see and the solution you’re willing to provide. It doesn’t mean you’ll leave behind your role in technical support. However, you’ll broaden your professional experience and skill set for future opportunities.
3. Establish Habits Aligned With Your Goals
Everything about your well-being influences your work performance. You’re more than your job title and what you do for a living. But you bring who you are as a person to the work you do each day. If your personal habits are holding you back, it’s probably time to realign them with your professional aspirations.
For example, perhaps you don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. You have a habit of watching TV too late and leaving it on overnight. A lack of rest means you can’t concentrate and are quick to anger. You’re more susceptible to road rage during your commute and prone to forgetfulness at work. Establishing a hard stop for turning off the TV can improve your rest and ability to tackle the day’s challenges.
It may take time to develop new habits, but sticking with them and giving yourself grace is key. There’s no set time frame, as some routines take longer than others to set in. For instance, going from no exercise to regular physical activity usually takes six months. Simpler habits may only take a few weeks of practice before they become routine. As long as you keep trying and realize that setbacks are likely but temporary, you can eventually develop the desired behaviors.
If you’re not sure what practices can help you meet your professional goals, you could turn to a mentor. See what daily routines they recommend to boost work performance and general well-being. If you have specific objectives, such as becoming a better communicator, express those goals. You can also seek out mentors virtually through social media groups, online content, and digital networking.
Achieving Professional Success Through Personal Growth
Meeting your career goals can be a challenging and life-long pursuit. It requires overcoming adversity, pivoting when necessary, and developing a growth mindset. If you’re not taking care of yourself as a whole person, achieving professional success becomes even more difficult. Career accomplishment begins by checking in with yourself. Assess what you can (and want) to handle, pursue it, and form the habits that will get you there.