A successful mindset – what that really means

I enjoyed reading a recent blog by Inc. writer Jeff Haden, “9 Signs You’re Going to Be Successful in Whatever You Do”. In a post shared with TheMuse, he outlined his ideas of a key mindset for success on your terms. Here’s a brief overview, but do yourself a favor and read the entire blog:

  • You enjoy others’ successes
  • You create (rather than “make”) choices
  • Your internal voice is louder/stronger than external voices
  • You define the rules of the game you want to play and/or win
  • Forget “discipline” – you’re motivated because you love what you’re doing
  • You acquire new skills as stepping stones to even greater personal development
  • Your role models are other successful people
  • You’re willing to start a movement of one
  • Your approach to a challenge or opportunity is “Why NOT me?”

This really underscores the importance of owning your career, your time, your output and success. While reading the post, I immediately thought of Oprah Winfrey as one who exemplifies these qualities. She was determined to own her brand, and she is a great example of how this mindset really pays off.

Michael Simmons, co-founder of Empact, adds “learning for learning’s sake” to that list.  In a 2016 Inc. post, he says he feels entrepreneurs who are laser-focused on immediate goals have forgotten the importance of being a life-long learner and the impact that purposeful mind expansion can have on productivity. He suggests revising the Ben Franklin habit of spending seven hours a week, however you want to spread that out, focused on learning.

Carol Dweck, author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” is a professor at Stanford University. During an interview for Harvard Business Review, she contrasted a fixed mindset with a growth mindset. In a fixed mindset, the CEO is always the smartest person in the room who knows all the answers. In the growth mindset, the CEO isn’t afraid to say, “Gee, I don’t know, let’s think about it.” To strengthen a more flexible mindset, Dweck suggests, focus on the processes that brought you success or failures and adapt accordingly. Rather than praising innate talent or ability, she feels it is important to praise someone’s use of process. This, she feels, helps people become more comfortable working outside of their talent comfort zone.

To all of these, I would add “live in the moment”, which is a kinder way of saying “stop procrastinating.” I’ve known many capable, bright people who talk, talk, talk about what they imagine doing or plan to do. The only thing separating them from dreaming and doing seems to be the long wait for the perfect alignment of moon, star and money. A perfect storm occurs with more predictability than a perfect opportunity, which is why the art of taking calculated risks is a skill worth cultivating.

And the ultimate litmus test:

Are you prepared to be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire?

About Jody Glynn Patrick

Jody is President of Glynn Patrick & Associates, which provides management consulting, executive coaching and strategic planning services. She is Publisher Emeritus of In Business magazine, which she published for 17 years. Selected as the “U.S. Business Journalist of the Year” in 2007 in Washington, DC, by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Jody has been a business reporter, editor, radio talk show host , and has won other state and national journalism awards. At the same time, she has helped corporate clients grow their businesses -- the basis for her practical coaching advice here. She also was the 2005 Athena Award recipient for her leadership role in mentoring other professional women. Jody will be talking with you weekly on TDS’ blog to share her insights and tips from the C-Suite perspective. Follow on G+.

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