Y is for …

Well hello!  Perhaps I should just make this newsletter Y is for Yikes.  How can it possibly be 1st February already?  Where did the month of January go? Perhaps it’s just because I’m in that over 50 bracket that time is flying at such a rate or do you think it’s always been this way?

One word that I have come to love beginning with the letter Y is ‘yet’.  You might think that’s a weird word, but I’ve been using it ever since I became hooked on the work of Carol Dweck.  She is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers in fields of personality, social psychology and development psychology.  She studies at Stanford University on what enables people to achieve and become successful and came up with the phrase ‘fixed and growth’ mindsets.  She works from the premise that expectations of our capability change our neurology.  (Something that I was also learning from Professor Patricia Riddell last weekend, but that’s a story for another time!)  People who work from a fixed mindset perspective lose interest as soon as effort is required.  They think:

  • Managers are born
  • They’ll be laughed at if they fail
  • Avoid feedback and/or take it personally
  • Feel threatened by other people or their success

When we focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t do it starts to open up so many more opportunities for us.  A growth mindset helps us become more successful and you will recognise it from some of the language below:

  • I want to challenge myself
  • When I fail, I learn
  • Tell me and I try hard
  • If you succeed, I’m inspired
  • My effort and attitude determine everything
  • I can learn anything I want to

When we work from a growth mindset, we understand that success equals 99% hard work.  It’s about putting the effort and energy into a task to make it work.   Not coming from a perspective that we are talented so success will just come to us.  When we read about amazing sports people, we learn how much effort they
put into it daily, weekly, monthly to make it happen.  The same with inventors, they didn’t give up at the first hurdle, they continued learning from the previous prototype.

So to help us we need to have stretch goals, rather than ones we can easily achieve it.    As someone giving and receiving praise, we should do it based on effort and choosing the challenge rather than for being a genius!  Let’s learn from when something goes wrong and move on rather than dwell on it.  And if we receive poor feedback that we recognise it’s not about us in general.  It’s about the particular project or task and how we can improve upon it for next time.

Whether we’re doing it for ourselves or others, working from a growth mindset creates so many additional benefits such as making us more resilient, getting us to think differently, making us challenge the way we do things and helping us to improve our intelligence.


So, how does that all link to the word ‘yet’, I hear you ask yourself.  The next time you hear yourself saying that you can’t do something, change the ending by adding ‘yet’.  This small word will open up so many more opportunities for you.  By just adding that little word, it will give you a sense of optimism and help you to find ways in which you can succeed!

Don’t just keep this little word as a secret for yourself – share it with your team, children and friends and you will be helping them to develop their growth mindset.

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