High achievers tend to always be people who strongly believe they are able to improve and succeed in life. They believe they have the capacity for growth – which is called a growth mindset. Those who believe the odds are against them, who are frustrated by their lack of ability to achieve and believe they cannot improve anymore have a fixed mindset.
As a project manager, you will already have a strong mind. Why? Because those who work their way through tough project management training and win jobs against truly fantastic competition simply cannot be weak – you’re in the job, you are already strong. However, it may be the case you have found there is something stopping you getting the positions you apply for, getting the promotions you want or simply being successful as a project manager. If that’s the case, and you feel you are failing to realise your ambitions, you need to first consider whether you have the best professional project management qualifications at the highest levels (such as the APM Registered Project Professional – RPP) but it could also be that you simply need to get your mindset in order.
Do you have a fixed mindset? Do you find yourself angry and stressed at your lack of ability to progress? If this is you, it’s time for a change.
Here are a few tips to help you:
Recognise Your Mindset
Be honest with yourself and do some self reflection. How does your mindset manifest itself in your mind? Your mindset is basically in control of how you think and feel about yourself and what you do, inside your head. Once you recognise that, you’re already halfway to improving. When a stressful or challenging situation arises you may get a thought or feeling that is negative, that gives you doubt about your ability to get through the situation. A challenging project may come up and you may hear ‘Are you good enough to do this?’, ‘Are you clever enough to succeed?’, ‘If you fail the project, you’re essentially a failure’. You may also get thoughts like ‘You could have done really well at this if you were a better project manager’. Try to recognise when thoughts like this happen – if they do you’re definitely suffering from a fixed mindset which is stopping you reaching your potential.
Let Yourself Grow
Once you have recognised your mindset issues, you can then accept that you do not have to stay this way. Remember that you choose how to see the challenges in your life – nobody else can make this choice for you. You can choose to see them as roadblocks that you can’t get past because you’re not good enough, or because you haven’t had enough project management training. Or you can switch to a growth mindset and see challenges as opportunities, or indications that you need to push yourself to learn more or take more risks.
Respond To Your Mindset
Talking to yourself in your own head isn’t as barmy as it sounds, in fact it can be really useful and help you feel like you’re in control. Many people use positive affirmations to improve their outlook, and responding to your negative mindset is really no different. When you get a thought or feeling that is negative, that tells you you’re not good enough, respond to it with positivity. So your negative mindset might say ‘Do you really think you’re good enough to achieve this?’ and your positive mindset would respond with ‘Perhaps I can’t do it right now, but with determination and a little more training I know I can’. By doing this you will find it becomes habit to respond positively to any negative thoughts and eventually, you should automatically think positively and find you have a growth mindset.
Whilst it is important to address the way you are thinking and feeling, it’s also important to practise what you preach and ‘be’ the positive mindset. Learn to take more risks, challenge yourself and put more into the you that you deserve to be. When bad thoughts happen, address them, but otherwise try to practise mindfulness and don’t fall into the trap of overthinking everything. Remember a positive growth mindset won’t make a difference to your life if you don’t get out there and choose life, choose positivity and choose growth.