The Nine Essentials of Career Success – Mindset

Article contributed by Virg Setzer, MSOP

In my last discussion regarding the Nine Essentials of Career Success I discussed the critical nature of  “ownership” and the importance of “intentionality” in regard to career success.  Today my focus is on another of the Nine Essentials, “Mindset”.

What is Mindset? 

You answer may range from:  “A person’s opinion”, “How someone views things”, “Your Attitude”, “How a person is wired”, or “Your beliefs”.  The dictionary defines Mindset as:  “The established set of attitudes held by someone”.

Regardless of how you define it, the view you have or adopt for yourself over time has a significant impact on your life – your job – your career.  Your  “mindset” or “attitude” impacts how your think and everything you do.  You develop a mindset – a philosophy of life.   It is present in your self-talk and it guides your thinking as you approach any situation – it impacts your decisions.

Although mindset is not so simple to describe, I do think people generally have tendencies in one of two primary mindset categories:  The Limiting or Fixed Mindset or The Possibilities or Learning Mindset.

  • The Limiting or Fixed Mindset   consists of thinking and attitudes that include:
    • A “Why I can’t” approach
    • Avoiding Challenges
    • Blaming others or events
    • An “I deserve it” or entitlement view
    • Being Defensive
    • Ignoring or avoiding feedback
    • Having “the answers”
    • Proving your are right
    • Being threatened by the success of others
    • Limited learning from experience and mistakes
  • The Possibilities or Learning Mindset on the other hand is very much the opposite of these elements:
    • A “how I can” approach
    • Proactively seeking and finding new opportunities
    • A challenging and “stretch my capabilities” view
    • An “I earn my opportunities” mentality
    • Taking risks
    • Seeking out critical feedback
    • Learning from setbacks and from the success of others

So What Does Your Mindset Have To Do With Career Success? 

The answer:  “everything”.  Yes, taking ownership and being intentional is important, but your mindset – how you view yourself and your future is vital.  Mindset is really the foundation for your career success.  Your mindset – how you view yourself and the world will guide you over time in every decision your make about your career.  Your mindset also greatly affects how you are showing up to others – your attitude – how others perceive you.

The good news, I believe is that Mindset can be changed.   As we look at mindset a little deeper we find that there are several social and emotional intelligence competencies that have a profound impact on our mindset and in turn on our career results.  Although we could probably make a case that all 26 social and emotional intelligence competencies affect our mindset in someway, I believe there are a few that are particularly important and powerful – the following nine greatly impact your mindset:

  • Self-Awareness – Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects
  • Accurate Self-Assessment – Knowing one’s strengths and limits
  • Personal Power – A strong sense of one’s self-worth, capabilities and self confidence
  • Bias for Action – Readiness to act on opportunities
  • Achievement Drive – Striving to meet a standard of excellence
  • Realistic Optimism – Expecting success; seeing setbacks as manageable; persisting in achieving goals despite obstacles
  • Resilience – Perseverance and diligence in the face of setbacks
  • Personal Agility – Readily, willingly, rapidly and effectively anticipating and adapting to change
  • Intentionality – Thinking and acting “on purpose” and deliberately

Build Your Foundation – Then Build Your Career

I encourage you to consider my comments regarding “mindset”.  Ask yourself the question:  What really is my Mindset? Do I have a “Fixed or Possibilities” Mindset?  Work to gain an understanding and appreciation of the nine social and emotional intelligence competencies I have outlined above.  Make a commitment to increase your level of competence in these nine.

Over the next several blog postings I will address the other seven essentials for career success and although each of them are very important, developing and building your Mindset is your “foundation for success.”

In my next blog I will address the career essential:  Expertise.

I look forward to your comments.

One Response to “The Nine Essentials of Career Success – Mindset”

  • Lisa Dominisse:

    Virg–I think your post has great value not only for self reflection but to help managers of people to better understand the mindset of their employees. Nothing is more frustrating than having a crucial conversation with an employee and having them stuck in a “fixed” mindset as you describe. As leaders, we can coach our employees toward possibilities thinking and great things will happen in our workplace and thus our own careers will benefit. Thanks for your work!