How to cultivate a growth mindset, to move away from burnout and create what you want. When you understand the difference between fixed and growth mindset, you can invest more belief in yourself. Becoming unlimited is the secret to letting your brain learn and grow. You can find new ways to BE in the world; to develop curiosity and be inquisitive about how to expand your capacity and intelligence.
See Mindset - Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential by Dr Carol Dweck
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Hi everyone, my name is Dex Randall, and this is the Burnout to Leadership podcast where I teach professional men to recover from burnout and get back to passion and reward at work. Hello my friends, this is Dex, and I'm very glad you could join us for this week's episode on fixed versus growth mindset. I think you're gonna like it to be honest, 'cause it's full of hope for anyone in burnout, so take heart and really do listen right through to the end for the good news. I've saved the best bit to the last. But let me start here. I had a coaching consult just recently with a senior medical consultant who told me he's been in burnout, been in burnout for about 10 to 15 years, and he was in such despair about it that it was really quite difficult for him to believe that there was a cure for burnout, and that he personally would be able to achieve any kind of recovery, and I fully understand that. This is typical of people when they come to speak to me, when they have lost their mojo and work having gone way beyond drudgery more towards torment, many people can't imagine a better life in their job. And almost everyone who comes to me wants to change their job or their career, or their boss as a matter of some urgency. Now, I think it's a real shame because these are skilled, powerful, wonderful people who often got into a service job for altruistic reasons, as well as to provide, of course, financially secure futures for themselves and their families, but as I see it, the feelings of grief, sadness, disappointment, failure, exhaustion and despair that they kind of show me when they come on a call with me, they're really poignant, and frankly, it really breaks my heart to see. It was often a pretty bad tale of woe in their family by this point as well with relationships typically strained to break point. It's really quite horrible. And if that's happening for you, I feel sad even thinking about it. Anyway, the guy I mentioned just now, he did sign up to be a client with me, but he wanted to cancel even before our first appointment, such was his level of self doubt and you know he could do that, he could cancel. I asked him how many more years he wanted to spend in burnout and what would happen to him if he did cancel, because in my experience, most of us can't solve burnout ourselves, and to be fair, the skill of decision making is often a little bit broken too, in people who come to me. They don't know what to do, but they absolutely can't face another failure or embarrassment or let down. So basically wanting to back out of coaching after they've signed up with me is also very common at the beginning, in fact, the solution I offer is very dependable, it brings clients to a place they really haven't dared dream about in a long time, and I didn't want this guy to miss out on that because no one should suffer from burnout, and in case you're asking, in case you wondered, he is still onboard and it's gonna work out for him. Okay, so that brings me to this week's topic. I've been reading Carol Dweck's book on fixed versus growth mindset in this last week or two, and fixed mindset, if you don't know, is where people believe that they are born with a certain amount of talent, particularly intellectual talent, and it can't be further developed, it's a bit like an IQ, so if they start out brainy, that's great, if not, no point trying. Naturally then in a fixed mindset, failure is very painful, it's terminal, the lack of immediate success at solving a problem or passing a test is pretty much the end of the whole business. Growth mindset, on the other hand, those people believe that they can always learn and improve on their talents and skills, so if they fail at a test or can't solve a problem today, then they are simply better informed for the next try. Growth mindset allows them to see challenges as exciting, even when they don't initially succeed, they still basically believe in themselves. Of course as Carol points out, we're each on a spectrum of fixed versus growth mindset, and we also fluctuate with context and time. She also says about a fixed mindset, it deepens and lengthens a person's experience of depression if they get depression and it increases their suffering within the depression. And I thought that was very interesting. And it would really... Because depression itself tells us there's no fix, is an experience leading to despair, so if you add on fixed mindset, endorsing that idea, no wonder it becomes more entrenched. Many people with depression and a fixed mindset simply give up on doing the daily tasks to support well being, being unable to raise sufficient motivation in the face of this apparent futility, but that means that when they do come out of depression, the fabric of their lives has rather fallen apart, and they're still in worst shape than they might wish. Growth mindset on the other hand, use even depression as temporary and survivable or solvable. People in Growth Mindset suffer less in depression and it finishes more quickly. They continue during the depression to discipline themselves to get up, wash, dress, and go about doing all those life affirming tasks they would normally do on the basis that depression will pass, and so that when they emerge from that depression, their life pretty much functions as before, it's still running. And the reason I'm saying all of this is that how it reflects on burnout. People in burnout tend to recognize that they can't fix the problem, that by demonstration, the problem has been going on a long time, and is that because they usually are problem solving, they couldn't solve this one. And still they have no idea if or how that could happen. It's kind of off the charts demoralizing to their self esteem, to their work centric or performance centric self image, it's depressing of itself, not to know how to solve it and get back to power, to passion to enjoyment and engagement at work. So I often see in burnt out people this hangdog loss of motivation and despair, and that tears at me every time I see it, because they're terrific people, right, brought to their knees, just not wanting to get up in the morning anxious and haggard, not enjoying time with their loved ones, not really kind of switched on about anything. So when I read this about fixed versus growth mindset, it really made sense to me to apply Carol's findings about depression to burnout, I can see the similarities. Burnt out people simply can't access the idea of personal power and efficacy anymore. And so they dread waking up in the morning to that torrent of anxious thoughts that routinely descends, and personally, in my case, I found the despair of burnout to be both crushing and shaming. I mean I was a type A personality, high achiever, so I thought, smart brilliant at producing results. I was the fix it guy, so really what had gone wrong? Was I all washed out? What would ever happen to me in my future? My mojo basically left leaving helplessness in its way. But here's the great news I got for you. Glad you hung in till now. People who come to me are type A personalities by nature, hard driven, stop at nothing, high achievers, smart people. So they have once operated from a growth mindset, failure is used not to be final, and they could be overcome with effort and intelligence, so what's happened is those people have simply dropped into a fixed mindset because they're in burnout as they've gone into burnout, because that's been going on for so long, they stop being able to see that it could be fixed. Never mind how it was gonna be fixed. And that's where they drop into fixed mindset, I can't make this work, they've tried everything, it never worked until now, and so how can they even motivate themselves to do very much at all? They've had a flame out, they've have lost their mojo. And just like fixed mindset people suffer more in depression and they stop doing useful things in life, people in burnout stop trying too. And they even hate that part, that they're not trying. But to me that means okay, burnout like depression becomes chronic because of that cycle, burnout always worsens with time, even if it's episodic at the beginning, it will become more frequent and longer in duration. So the good bit about this is, okay, that looks like depressing as well, but the good bit about this is, all my job is as a coach is to re introduce people to their own power and possibility. We go back together to find their lost mojo wherever they left it. We re inspire them and reconnect them with all the good in them, with their purpose, and at the beginning when they are still flat lining, I'm in growth mindset for them. I know it can be fixed, I believe in change, I believe in them, might hold that space for them while they get a bit back to resourcefulness. I offer them possibility and hope. And I just wait for them to catch up. I can teach growth mindsets, I can teach how to create and cultivate that, and how to look for evidence that it's working as well, which is really important. How to stay buoyant in the face of continuing external demands without dropping back into burnout, so we re invent their work habits in a more sustainable model, so they are not thrashing themselves to get stuff done like they used to, and then we create together a much more sympathetic compassionate relationship with themselves first and then with others, so that everything kind of bothers them less, their reactivity is turned down quite a lot, the amount of upset they feel about life is turned down a lot, and that my friend is what I want for you if you're in burnout or near to burnout or in chronic stress, anxiety, and frustration over work. Because fixed mindset shuts us down, and I don't want that for anyone. That way, basically madness lies. So for me, I'm very lucky I came out of burnout myself, I learned how to do that, and burnout coaching is what I super, super love. I'm very privileged, I think, to do it, because what happens is I get to see people flourish, and I get to see them thrive in their lives and in their work again, I get to see people rebuild all of their personal and professional relationships. The spark comes back, the spring comes back in their step. They perk up. They start taking interest in life, and then they start having big dreams about what's possible and the good they can do for others in their future. And if you want that for yourself, highly recommended, of course, by me, or if you know someone else who's suffering chronic stress and burnout, do yourself a favor or do them a favor, don't dwell in the hopelessness of it. Come and talk to me. Let's make a plan to fix it. Listen on to the end for the link of how to book in a chat with me. Thank you so much for listening today. I appreciate you being here. Please do take care of yourself. If you're in burnout and ready to recover, come and join my Burnout to Leadership program. You can book in to talk with me at burnout.dexrandall.com. Just tell me what's bugging you and let's make a plan to fix it.