Adding Value Through Growth Mindset Coaching

SteveMartins - Adding Value Through Growth Mindset Coaching

Consider the Squirrel

If you’re a squirrel, crossing the street on foot could be suicide, and you don’t even know it. Jumping from limb to limb among the tree branches without falling – that’s easy.

Have you noticed yourself not doing your best work? Working makes you tired and anxious. You feel like your days are filled with near misses and its only a matter of time before you, like a stunned squirrel, are lying on the double yellow line, fighting for your last breath.

Before they draw that chalkline around your dead career, there may be a way to put some passion back in your work.

It will require some self-assessment and a firm decision to express your strengths through your work. If you haven’t discovered your strengths yet, go to and learn, once and for all, what you do well. The benefit is that most people love to do what makes them feel like an expert. Don’t you want to know where your expertise is?

For a free inventory of character strengths, try  

Yes, we all have weaknesses. Conventional wisdom suggests we have to focus on overcoming weaknesses. Not true. In reality, there is no rule that says you have to work from weakness. Besides, it doesn’t even make sense. 

Why spend energy doing something whose less than stellar results only make you look and feel incompetent?

If you constantly work on your weakness, when will you make time to shine your strength?

Work from your strengths. Manage your weaknesses. 

Do yourself, your boss and everyone who works with you a great favor and decide to spend at least eighty percent of your time only doing what you can do well. This does not mean you turn down assignments your boss gives you. It would be malpractice for me to suggest that. It does mean that you discuss with your boss the best way to work the assignment from your strengths in order to obtain the best possible outcome. 

Success breeds positive energy. 

And the good news is, you are already surrounded by people who have strengths that easily mitigate your weaknesses. Let them shine, so you can shine. Everyone will be happier.

What’s more, you, yourself have strengths that mitigate your weaknesses.

Once you know what you do well, there is another level of doing what you do well, well. That is the best place to focus your self-development effort. Think of the squirrel jumping from branch to branch and tree to tree. It is a squirrel strength, after all. 

Sadly, once in great while, the squirrel risks missing the landing target. Yet, it does not expend effort worrying about failure. There’s too much ground to cover! 

So, no matter what your strengths are, commit to excellence in performance. Choose your next branch carefully, even if you do it quickly.

One more thing. This is something a squirrel isn’t capable of doing. And it is actually a career-changer. 

Hire a strengths-aware coach until you consistently focus on working from your strengths. You want this to be your reliable, default, long term practice. Speak to your coach once per week, on the phone, Skype, or in person. 

If you think you can’t afford a coach, you may be thinking the wrong thought (you are). Your first investment should be in yourself. 

Many companies provide funds for professional development. Speak to your boss about using some of that money to fund your coaching for a while. 

Thoughts Become Things

Thoughts become things.

What does one do with that information? You could do nothing with it. All of us grew up being taught a set of default thoughts that pretty much shape our lives. When you do nothing with the idea that thoughts become things, your life may not look appreciably different than that of your parents. Default thinking explains why children of privileged people become privileged as adults, and children of poor people tend to stay in that world, perhaps improving only slightly generation by generation.

Or you could take the information and test it. What if I isolate my personal thoughts and settle on the ones that are not part of the default set? Only when people break the default mold handed to them by their parents do they find themselves experiencing a different sort of life than their default thoughts were capable of producing.

IMG_7319So yes, an under-privilege person can be come privileged. A bricklayer’s daughter can earn a PhD and become a college Dean. An immigrant’s child can become President of the United States. A son of a millionaire can become the voice of justice who speaks out for the poor and lifts the aspirations of millions.

In each case the person who achieved the unexpected did so by breaking their default thought mold.

Thoughts become things. What can you do with this information? Here is an easily applicable strategy.

  1. Listen to your own thoughts.
  2. Give them credence (believe them).
  3. Talk them out with a confidant who also gives credence to your thoughts (a coach).
  4. Decide to bring your thought into existence.
  5. Act.

This is simplistic, yet not simple. Contact me here if you want to learn how a short coaching program can get you on the course you desire for your life.



Failure Is Not an Option, Or Is It?

One of my favorite television shows is HGTV’s Flip or Flop. It is about a married couple, Tarek and Christina, who are in the house flipping business. They take huge financial risks and often experience huge financial rewards because of it.

In fact that is one of their core beliefs: The size of the risk determines the size of the reward.

The other core belief, which Christina articulates at the beginning of every episode: Failure is not an option.

I have heard many successful people use that affirmation, and I respect their point of view. Yet something has always bothered me about it. Today I figured out what that is. I think they are not articulating something that underlies their success.

The fact that they are willing to put everything on the line for their project strongly suggests that they are, in fact, willing to fail.

What they are not saying, but they intuitively know, is the inverse of their core belief about huge risk, huge reward.

Huge risk can also mean huge loss.

Failure and success are not accomplished fates. They exist on a continuum of possibility and probability. And both leave clues.

To believe that failure is not an option is to proactively and actively move the project to success through successive correct choices based on our personal collection of clues about success and failure. Over time, we learn to stack the deck in our favor. Even though we are willing to fail, we probably won’t.

As I have watched successive seasons of Flip or Flop, I have seen Tarek and Christina mature in their deciding process and trust their choices more and more. For them, failure is less and less an option because they are confidently choosing success. Though the possibility of failure exists, they fear it less because they are continually turning up the dial toward success.

Henry David Thoreau, who wandered the environs of Walden Pond more than two-hundred years ago knew this when he wrote, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

To which I add, be willing to fail and you increase the chance that you will succeed.