What Does A Growth Mindset and Fear Have To Do With Each Other?

THIS WEEK’S BLOG -> What Does A Growth Mindset and Fear Have To Do With Each Other?

READ -> How to learn faster and achieve more. Really good article by Scotty Young

LISTEN -> This podcast dives into leadership and specifically the leadership at Microsft. The guest spent time studying Microsoft and her findings will help any leader.

VERSE -> John 10:10 The thief some only to steal kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

VIDEO-> Click here from my “What I learned This Week” Youtube video. On this weekly (hopefully) video, I am going to share what I learned as I work with some of the best coaches and leaders around. My goal is to add value to coaches and sharing is one key ways to do that.

What Does A Growth Mindset and Fear Have To Do With Each Other?


There is a game-changing by-product of having a growth mindset.

Growth mindset is talked about a lot lately. Carol Dweck wrote her book Mindsetin 1999 and it has gained popularity over time.

A growth mindset is a belief that you and others can get better, and improve your skills and grow your gifts. A coach or leader with a growth mindset looks at their team or organization and is constantly asking “how can we get better?”

First off, I am a huge believer in the growth mindset. Sadly, I see coaches and leaders who say they have a growth mindset but don’t really live that declaration out.

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. This is where you think you are who you are and can’t change, grow or evolve. I have never heard a coach say this but I have seen coaches live this.

One by-product of a growth mindset is a minimization of fear of failure.

When I have a fear of failure, it is a sign that I think that the outcome will tell me who I am.

Or in other words, when I experience failure, “I am a loser.”

A growth mindset doesn’t think this way. A growth mindset thinks “This is an opportunity for me to improve and grow.”

It doesn’t mean failure or setbacks don’t or can’t hurt. It just means that it doesn’t define us… it doesn’t mean we are a loser.

When part of our mindset is always on the search to improve and grow… and we are never at our destination. This will minimize the fear of failure.

When we experience fear, the part of our brain called the amygdala springs into action.

Which is a good thing if we are about to hit by a car or our child is in danger. This amygdala automatically activates a fight, flight, or freeze response when we sense fear.

This is not good when we have fear while in a leadership position. The fight, flight, or freeze doesn’t help us make good, clear, creative decisions.

In fact, our amygdala will often prevent us from doing anything that might bring some tension or potential fear. This fear or tension I am talking about is not about swimming with sharks but simply changing how we have done something for years. (I don’t want to bore you but our wiring actually fights against growth and new ideas.)

When we look through the lens of growth and not fixed, we will, over time, lessen our fear.

A fixed mindset walks away from a loss and has more and more fear of failure. A growth mindset walks away from a loss with great clarity of where they can get better.

A fixed mindset sees themselves as a failure. A growth mindset sees this as an opportunity to reflect and figure out where corrections and improvements can be made.

A fixed mindset just wants to be at the destination. A growth mindset loves the journey of getting better… and they can always get better.

The difference between these two mindsets is big. One is set and the other is constantly growing and improving.

Next time you experience failure or a setback, view it as a great chance to get better. Be thankful that you have feedback that allows you to see where you need to improve. Don’t stress it. Don’t avoid it. Embrace it. Get better.

*There are other things that will help reduce fear. One other key is knowing your true identity.

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Travis Wyckoff

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