Last week, I wrote about how one needs to be on top of their game if they want to endure unexpected surprises in business. Such ideas have remained in my mind since that time as I have heard many references to a “growth mindset,” and they go well together.
First, I want to acknowledge that these aren’t concepts that will apply to everybody. There are many out there who run a small business more as a side gig, are happy where it stands, and aren’t looking for it to change in any way. Many of those people would even be satisfied if situations change and that business reaches its end. If that is you and the loss of that business will not put you and your family in a difficult position, then yes, there is no need to push further than you’re comfortable.
For most, however, the ideas of growing bigger and increasing revenue are endlessly enticing. Some expansion can be possible by standing pat and continue to just do what you do, but eventually an endpoint will be reached. At some point you’ll exhaust a potential customer base if you don’t keep doing different things. So, in the interests of getting there, just what is in a growth mindset?
The biggest thing that I find necessary for one is the ability to believe that you can do more. If you think you only have so much ability, so much intelligence, so much talent and that they are finite resources, well I daresay you’ve already used them all up. If you believe that you can learn to do new things, branch out into new areas, and continue to improve in those areas in which you have yet to travel, then you have a chance for growth. You must be willing to expand as well as your business.
One of the biggest hurdles in getting into that mindset is a fear of failure. When you think about the things you already know how to do, you think of how you already succeed at them. That familiarity breeds comfort. You are not guaranteed that same level of success when trying new things. In fact, it is much more guaranteed that you will not succeed at all of them right away. Failure, though, does not mean something will never work, it means something has not worked yet. And when it doesn’t work to start, that’s just a learning opportunity.
So set a vision of where you want to go. Don’t be afraid if the path isn’t clear but have a destination. Then take a step back from that goal and think about what things look like from that point. Then take another step back and so on, and you can start to map the entire path. Looking at each step can feel huge. These things may be way outside of what you know how to do, but it’s the way to get to where you want to be. And as always, don’t be afraid to take help along the way. There are people out there who have traveled similar paths and there are people out there who have gained the skills that you need. Do not be afraid to have them along as part of your journey.
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