As I paged through books, old and new, to write my December Legendary List of Leadership Books, I rediscovered the wisdom of Carol Dweck and the concept of a Growth Mindset. In The New Psychology of Success, she writes:
When people…change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework. Their commitment is to growth, and growth takes plenty of time, effort, and mutual support.
As I read page after page, it struck me that much of what happens in the beginning of a new year in relationship to resolutions would be much more successful with a growth mindset. This thought led me to the work of Ash Buchanan in what he has termed the Benefit Mindset . He takes Dweck’s work a step further in an effort to promote growth on both an individual and collective level:
The absence of psychological issues is not the same as the presence of psychological wellbeing and resilience. It (positive psychology) seeks to explore what’s right with people … and to understand what constitutes the optimal functioning of individuals, groups and institutions.
I love the idea of “seeking to explore what is right with people,” and it is a powerful shift for leaders as depicted by this summary chart from Cohere.com:
When you read over this chart, which mindset best describes where you spend most of your time? What factors do you believe contribute to the reasons why you have your current mindset?
Instead of resolutions this year, spend some time doing important inner-work. By developing our ability to be self-aware we learn not just who we are as individuals but how we contribute to the whole. It is not about calling out shortcomings and setting goals to shore up the ways we are not enough. This work is dedicated to revealing what is already working and connecting with that in ourselves. We can then gain momentum in a positive direction when we gather to work collectively.
Take a few moments to answer the following question. If you are struggling to generate answers, ask someone you know and trust to help you. This is a stream of consciousness exercise and there is no right or wrong answer. Add to this list whenever you think of something and watch how momentum builds naturally and easily with this practice:
What is working well in your life now?
There are so many good links in this article describing organizations and institutions that are working every day to enhance mindfulness and human connection. Having experienced some of these communities first hand over the course of my career, the following quote resonated with me:
Everyday leaders recognize that to genuinely contribute, we need to cultivate a mindful awareness of how our inner lives and the world out there can become partners in each other’s flourishing. -Ash Buchanan
A commitment to learn and help learn while seeking to find what is right with people by coming together collectively to better ourselves, our communities, and our world … Now that is an exciting perspective from which to welcome 2018. Happy New Year indeed!