I’ve written a lot about growth mindset. It was a subject ingrained in my head around the time I was completing the toughest mental and physical test of my life, the Virgin Strive Challenge. The Challenge – which saw us travel the entire length of Italy under human power – was carried out to raise money for my children’s non-profit foundation, Big Change, to invest in initiatives and partner with organisations that help young people to reach their full potential.
The best way to empower young people to truly shine is to encourage them to adopt a growth mindset – a willingness to learn, be happy to make mistakes, and be eager to experiment. But it’s not enough for non-profits to champion the concept alone; it needs to be steadfastly embedded in our schools and education systems.
Inspiring and motivating young people to really strive is not a simple task, however The Guardian recently published an article with some practical tips to help teachers help their students. The piece, Growth mindset: practical tips you may not have tried yet, tells educators to be stealthy, engage parents, and look at their own mindset.
Being dyslexic and often being perceived as an underdog, I’ve had to embrace a growth mindset my whole life – so I have some tips of my own on how we can propel young people to reach their full potential. My top tip, which I’d like to add to those already mentioned in the Guardian, is to admit your own failures.
The best way to get people comfortable with failing is to talk about it openly. We do this at our Virgin offices in London, where we’ve had the founder of the Church of Fail, Matthew Matheson come in and hold sessions with our people, encouraging them to share examples of times when they have screwed up. It’s amazing how getting things out in the open prompts acceptance from others, and from ourselves too.
As Big Change put it: “A growth mindset isn’t simply a positive mindset. This isn’t just about being happy. It is about a fundamental belief that you can grow, learn and change for the better – through failure and success alike. This mindset motivates you to try, to reflect, to get back up, to ask for help and to learn.”
My success in life and in business has been driven be my ability to take calculated risks, talk openly about the times they haven’t paid off, learn from the outcomes, and live with the consequences – both good and bad.
Do you think you have a growth mindset? What helped you to grow it? Get in touch on social and share your story.