Rose MacCullagh

“Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset”  

This was not a phrase I’d ever heard before coming to Baringa.  

There are two mindsets, fixed and growth, that guide your behaviour. The fixed mindset is that you are born with your talents and that intelligence is static, problems are blockers, and you focus on the things you can do. The growth mindset lets you see problems as challenges rather than obstacles, that success isn’t just based on talent and that new abilities can be developed through practice. Any aspect of performance that you experience in life, you’ll likely have these two different basic responses, it’s which you choose to apply that matters.  

It’s very easy to look at the day-to-day role of being an EA with a fixed mindset and I’m guilty of this myself. A problem arises and it ruins your day, or you’ve made a mistake and have to frantically correct it! The important thing is learning to deal with a difficult experience, but in a positive way. You’ve made a mistake, your core intelligence has been tested and failed – that view is stuck in the now, the fixed mindset. Whereas you could look at this mistake as a learning opportunity, something that you’ll learn from and correct in the future. While this might not be your instant response, learning to train your view and reflect takes time, but it starts with self-awareness.  

Especially when in your past experiences, there hasn’t been the opportunity, or you haven’t felt empowered to develop and grow. At Baringa, we’re actively motivated to invest in ourselves as individuals and our personal development. We’re encouraged to take courses, join seminars, get involved with other areas of the business and become experts in our sectors. Being introduced to the growth mindset has transformed my progress and self-belief. Applying it to the everyday, whether it’s how you broach a tricky topic with a team member, learning a new piece of software or even developing a deeper understanding of your Partner’s current project. Once you start looking at everything with a growth mindset, your role becomes more dynamic, and enjoyable. You have the ability to constantly grow and improve your knowledge base and personal leadership skills, just by living your everyday work experience.  

The Growth mindset helps you see every single experience as a potential learning opportunity – what did the day you just lived through teach you? What’s the one thing you learnt that will have a positive impact on the way you approach your next challenge, whether that’s tomorrow, or in the future. Challenge yourself when you notice you’re reacting with a negative fixed response to a problem or set-back that arises in your day. Make a comparison between the two different responses and give yourself time to reflect on your behaviour and challenge that negative inner dialogue. 

Growth mindset can be learnt, try adopting “yet” – Rather than the fixed mindset of “I can’t.” Understanding that we can grow and develop, we can start to tell ourselves, “I can’t… yet.” This gives us the potential to recognise we can get to where we want to be, if we empower ourselves to grow.  

Here at Baringa, 360 feedback is key to development and feeds into the growth mindset. By allowing yourself to embrace feedback, even from a point of constructive criticism, this helps you grow and develop. I have personally found that the growth mindset has helped me develop my confidence both in my working and personal life. It ultimately helps you Be kind, Be curious and Be great at work.  

For further reading to change your mindset, look to Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The new psychology of success. 

About the author and this series:

Rose is an EA, supporting 4 partners across 2 Business Units. She's been an EA for 3 years. She has an interest in learning & development and supports recruitment in the EA team.

This is the second article in a series about EA things: tips and tricks on how to manage your work life balance, networking opportunities throughout the year, and insights into the importance and value the modern EA can provide.

Follow Baringa to make sure you don’t miss the next article, where we’ll talk about mental health awareness.

Contact us

Find out what we can do for you...

Get in touch