Psychologist Carol Dweck introduced the world to fixed mindsets and growth mindsets through work that began several decades ago. In short, people with fixed mindsets believe their abilities and intelligence are inborn and that hard work will not develop them. However, the growth mindset assumes people can always get better through learning and dedication. Talent and aptitude help, but they’re just starting points.
Whether you are a current or aspiring marketing professional, the growth mindset can assist you in numerous ways. Here are some things that can happen when you actively cultivate a growth mindset.
Many marketing professionals learn to hate feedback because they only hear it after things go wrong. Moreover, people who display a fixed mindset more often than a growth one may end up believing feedback is useless because they can’t accomplish major changes related to themselves anyway. They could also discredit any input received.
Encouraging yourself to have a growth mindset can cause an improvement where you learn to love feedback rather than dreading the day it arrives. It’s often easier to reach that point if your company creates a positive environment. For example, research shows that a 5:1 ratio of positive to critical feedback can help teams perform better.
When receiving feedback, try to avoid catastrophizing. For example, some people start immediately worrying they’ll lose their jobs after hearing one minor tip for improvement from a superior. Aim to look at all feedback in context. Realize that you’ll get more out of the suggestions by not taking them personally and by using them to assess how to improve your output.
Having a growth mindset also makes it easier to keep your motivation high despite encountering obstacles. That’s because you understand that leaving your comfort zone could be an effective way to learn new skills.
The motivation could also occur once you realize it’s possible to gain resourcefulness in ways you never expected.
Consider how COVID-19 gave many marketing professionals no choice but to move product launches, conferences, and promotional events solely online after initially planning for them to occur in physical spaces. People with growth mindsets embrace challenges. Moreover, they don’t see setbacks as failures. Instead, those disappointments are opportunities to learn and grow from mistakes.
The pandemic forced virtually everyone to adopt new behaviors and adjust to different ways of life. Indeed, many people became frustrated by the resulting restrictions and cancellations. However, if you work on your growth mindset as a marketer, it’s easier to stay upbeat about how the difficult circumstances helped you become a more well-equipped professional. Maybe you’re a Zoom expert now, and people see you as the go-to expert on the platform.
People with growth mindsets believe learning happens continuously, and chances to increase knowledge are always visible to those who know where to look.
A long-held — but incorrect — belief is that formal education stops once a person enters the workforce. However, it’s now easier than ever to get educated while remaining in your position, especially due to widely available online programs. Alternatively, you may decide to take a break from work to focus on education.
A growth mindset reinforces the idea that it’s never too late to learn. Such a belief could encourage you to pursue a degree that supports your marketing career, makes you more valuable to your employer, and helps you earn more. For example, research shows that MBA program graduates saw an 80% increase in their salaries once they left jobs that earned $50,000 for full-time education.
Don’t overlook the diversity and accessibility of learning resources. You might take a self-paced course that goes over Google advertising techniques or decide you’ll listen to at least one marketing audiobook each month during your commute. Many organizations offer certificate courses you can take online and later receive a document verifying completion.
Another option is to subscribe to several high-quality marketing blogs and spend time reading them each day.
Marketing is a fast-paced sector. Many people who work in it find that they regularly handle responsibilities they’d not initially assumed fell under their job description.
People with fixed mindsets frequently make quick assumptions about what they can and cannot do. For example, they may assert that they should always take the leadership role on a project team because they are a “natural leader.” Conversely, they may resist trying something new, insisting it’s outside their capabilities.
However, when marketers develop their growth mindsets deliberately, they’ll be better able to see their potential as something fluid and changeable — especially when they take time to work on personal development. Having a growth mindset does not mean you excel at everything. But, you’re willing to put in the work to get better and perhaps master an entirely new skill.
Consider a marketer with a fixed mindset who says, “I’ve always struggled with search engine optimization” and decided that meant they could never improve their skills in that area. In contrast, a marketing professional with a growth mindset reframes an ongoing challenge into a chance to improve. They might say, “Search engine optimization doesn’t come easily to me, but I can expand my skill set!”
Since the growth mindset emphasizes that anyone can learn and develop new traits at any time, it helps marketers who want to make slow, steady progress towards becoming a reputable expert. Strive to put in the effort to grow your expertise. It’ll become clear that hard work is often as important as or more important than talent.
Maybe you have an insatiable curiosity about all things related to your specialty. As a result, you spend almost every available moment sharpening your skills and staying abreast of recent developments. In that case, you probably have a growth mindset and are well-positioned to eventually become an expert if you remain committed to the goal.
Don’t let your background stop you from learning. Maybe you didn’t attend one of the country’s top colleges, and you don’t work for one of the most prestigious marketing firms. Even so, staying dedicated to learning everything you can and building your network of peers will help you stand out from others.
There’s no guaranteed path to becoming an expert, but having a growth mindset undoubtedly helps.
Although thought leadership is a significant part of what makes you successful as a marketer, there’s something to be said for expanding your horizons and potential through others.
Hiring freelancers and contractors to help you out in a crunch, add another perspective, or even organize your schedule, is eminently compatible with maintaining a growth mindset. Nobody can be a jack or jill of all trades. Therefore, when you need a fresh set of eyes, find somebody on a relevant job or task board who can help you finish what you’ve got on your docket with style, confidence, and time to spare.
Expect to be surprised by what happens when you invite others into your creative and productive workflows and ask others to weigh in on the work you’ve already done. All of this can help you retain the customers you’ve got as well as earn new ones.
Some people with fixed mindsets mainly get enjoyment from doing things that almost instantly come easily to them. Relatedly, they often give up if they can’t get the hang of things fast enough. The fixed mindset may also cause people to place too much of their self-worth in quick excellence. If their talent helps them with a skill, they feel great, only to become deflated when they don’t excel at something right away.
Individuals with a growth mindset understand that putting in hard work is often necessary, and they find satisfaction through gradual improvement. This perspective suits a marketing career well, especially since the industry can be so competitive. Rather than viewing lack or inability as disadvantages, a person with a growth mindset sees those things as chances for change. Staying disciplined and diligent can help them get noticed.
No hiring manager expects a candidate for a marketing position to know everything on their first day at a company. However, they do anticipate that the person will get progressively more knowledgeable, competent, and confident. Someone with a growth mindset is less likely to become overwhelmed by what they don’t know yet. Instead, they feel excited about progressively getting better.
The fixed mindset focuses on characteristics a person has at birth, meaning it discourages people from taking responsibility for their actions and outcomes. The marketing industry has many elements outside someone’s direct control. You can’t guarantee a client will love your pitch or that a campaign will boost sales as much as expected.
However, you can improve the probability of success with hard work, adherence to best practices, and thinking carefully about the options before making decisions. Similarly, avoiding tempting but unhelpful behaviors — such as procrastination — can help you achieve your best work.
Some people who can trace their fixed mindsets back to childhood can recall expecting perpetually excellent grades due to their natural talent in a subject. They then feel shocked when they fail to put in enough work and don’t get such good results. Growth mindsets encourage people to stay accountable and engage in self-reflection as necessary.
These characteristics prove advantageous in marketing careers by making people continually question and explore how to improve.
Today’s marketing industry is different than it was even fairly recently. One of the ways it has changed is through the introduction of emerging technologies, such as machine learning. Similarly, modern marketing teams are more likely to deploy data-driven decision-making rather than relying on instinct.
A study looked at the difference between marketing leaders and laggards. Those in the first group achieved at least a 15% increase in market share or revenue in two years. The results showed that leaders were 60% more likely than laggards to own data-driven customer strategies.
Moreover, 73% of the marketing leaders polled said machine learning let them shift at least 10% of their work from manual duties to generating strategic insights.
New marketing technologies change how people work. Professionals with growth mindsets are more likely to feel eager about such prospects and realize that getting the hang of new technology is within their skill set.
Conversely, someone with a fixed mindset is more likely to resist learning it or believe they cannot because they weren’t born with such abilities. Then, they may fall behind colleagues who are more open to expanding what they can do.
Most marketers can see the value of making ongoing progress to stay competitive. The characteristics of a growth mindset prepare professionals to have fruitful, more rewarding careers. That doesn’t mean they never fail, but these individuals understand that failure brings opportunities to learn.
Most people do not solely show a growth or a fixed mindset at all times. For example, they might primarily display one’s traits but sometimes change to the other depending on the situation.
If you often have a fixed mindset but want to pursue a growth mindset more often, now is a great time to start. Treat it as a lifetime exercise, and you’ll see rewarding outcomes.
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