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Change your mindset, change your game

One of the many things this year has shown us is that change is constant, and disruptions are everywhere.

The good news? Despite the tough environment we find ourselves in, creating success doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. You can take control and even master using volatility to your advantage. It starts with rewiring your mindset to one of growth and possibility.

A great example of the power of a “growth mindset” is the intense rivalry of F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
[Image by Getty Images]

This year both athletes showed the remarkable ability to keep a positive frame of mind despite the various setbacks they faced. Although many experts have pointed out that their cars were very competitive, I’d like to argue that the reason Hamilton and Verstappen went into the final race with a “winner takes all” position, was because of their equally determined mindsets – neither one was ever discouraged by the other’s win or their own failures

In a fascinating TEDx Talk, Dr Alia Crum, Associate Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, shares resounding proof that what we think and believe about something has more influence on the outcome than any other factor.

But changing our mindsets doesn’t happen overnight. Shaped by our upbringing, education, opinions and beliefs, our mindsets result in deeply ingrained ways of thinking that determine how we will interpret and respond to situations.

This is particularly challenging when our mindsets become negative and we view the world around us in a limiting way. It takes attention and deliberate effort to adjust how we perceive and react to things. In particular, we need to learn how to recognise situations in which our mindsets are holding us back, limiting our ability or making our lives more challenging than they need to be.

How to reset your mindset for growth

  • Become aware of your mindsets

What beliefs do you have about yourself and your capabilities? Are these mindsets serving you well or making life harder? To get started, increase your awareness of your mindsets by paying attention to your thinking. Before you react to a situation or make a decision, think about the lens you are using to see reality. “I was born to race and to win” is a great quote by Lewis Hamilton that shows exactly how he perceives himself – a champion. This mindset has certainly served him in achieving his goals as a competitive racer.

  • Clarify your ‘why’

Give yourself time and space to ask the big questions. Think about what you want to accomplish in your personal and professional life. Use what you’ve learned in this reflection time to set your goals for the year. Determine what success looks like to you and write down the mindsets that will help you get there. “The World Championship is what I’m here for” is the clear vision that Max Verstappen had going into 2021.

  • Turn negative mindsets into positive ones

Around 65 000 thoughts go through our minds daily. Unfortunately, for many, the majority of these thoughts are negative, or limiting. In fact, “Automatic Negative Thoughts” (ANTs) occur so often that you’re probably not even aware of them.

To turn this around, challenge your existing mindsets. Pay attention to negative or limiting beliefs and thoughts. Once you’ve identified limiting thoughts, look for evidence that contradicts it and reframe the negatives to positives.

A great example where Hamilton did this was at the recent Brazilian Grand Prix (GP). Starting the qualifying session in 20th place as a result of being disqualified from the Friday practice session, Hamilton fought his way to fifth place. Even so, with a grid penalty he started the actual race in 10th place. These disheartening events did not disrupt Hamilton’s champion mindset. He went from starting last to winning the race.

  • Start small, practise daily

As John Maxwell once said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

Begin with small exercises that help you adopt and apply the new mindset. For example, reframing the physical sensations of stress – racing heart, knotted stomach, sweaty palms – as your body’s way of letting you know something important is on the line. Then unpack why this is meaningful so that you can take it on with a ‘challenge stress’ response that opens you up to learning and development.

Get comfortable with the “F” word

Embracing a growth mindset means being comfortable with the F word: FAILURE. Reframing challenges as opportunities and pushing the limits of your abilities can be daunting. When we face challenges, receive criticism, or fare poorly compared with others, we can easily fall into insecurity or defensiveness. This response inhibits growth. Rather, it is about acknowledging failure, learning from the setbacks, and doing things differently next time. One such moment of learning for Verstappen this year was in the British GP when he tried to overtake Hamilton and their cars collided. Verstappen couldn’t finish the race and had to watch from the hospital as Hamilton won. “Of course, there will be difficult times and there will be more in the future. But I know what I have to do in the car” is the mindset Verstappen has – one that saw him come back to the next race even stronger.

How we can help

At the heart of GameChangers is a champion mindset. We take great learnings from sport to help businesses and their people unleash their performance.

Whether you're looking to develop your own Growth Mindset or embed it into your company culture, one thing is clear: learning and change readiness are key to growth.

Explore how our legend led leadership programmes can help your employees master these skills and unleash their full performance.

About the author: Hennie Brittz, Co-founder of GameChangers

Hennie has spent 13 years in business and consulting conceptualising, designing and implementing large-scale performance improvement processes. An entrepreneur at heart, he founded the design and internal communications agency, Elevate, in 2019. Shortly thereafter he co-founded GameChangers.

Get to know more about Hennie on LinkedIn

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