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Growth mindset is an important topic in education but it is also a key part of being an entrepreneur. My own journey over the last few years has definitely forced me to develop my own growth mindset, as well as cultivating it in others. Our brains are incredibly complex organs, however, they often have set patterns of thinking hardwired into them. Learning to rewrite these patterns can take time but it is an essential step towards finding success in the world of business.

What is a growth mindset?

Our subconscious mind is programmed to keep us safe at all costs, and there are times where this is a good thing. When our ancestors found themselves face to face with a sabre-toothed tiger, they did not really want to pause to have a moral dilemma about the pros and cons of their actions. They needed to make a fairly swift decision to either fight to defend themselves or run away. Nowadays, our brains tend to work in the same way, even though there is no sabre-toothed tiger. Instead, doing that Facebook live or making that phone call to a potential lead can become the tiger. For my students, it can be answering a question in class or attempting that essay paragraph independently. Our subconscious perceives a threat and tells us to shut down to avoid being hurt. This is how a fixed mindset is born.

The good news is that this thought process can be reversed through a wonderful thing called neuroplasticity. This means that we can retrain our brains to respond differently to challenges and embrace them as opportunities for learning and development, rather than seeing them as threats. When we are in a growth mindset, we do not say we cannot do something, but instead we have a go, accepting that we may get it wrong but that is alright.

Why is a growth mindset important?

In my job, helping children and young adults develop their growth mindset is vital. When they are in a fixed mindset, they are often reluctant to take on new concepts or ideas and may be unwilling to attempt tasks as they are too worried about getting it wrong. This can have repercussions for their academic performance, and they may develop a fixed mindset belief that they are inherently bad at a subject and thus there is no point in even trying.

We often form beliefs about our abilities in childhood and then bring them with us into adulthood. Making the change from employment to entrepreneurship can sometimes cause these deep-rooted beliefs to reappear. As entrepreneurs, we need to be able to learn and develop new skills. I have met a lot of fellow business owners who say they are no good with technology and that is why they have never attempted to build a website or a mailing list. Beliefs about what we can and cannot do sometimes hold us back from even trying. Often it is when we deliberately choose to feel uncomfortable and step away from what we know that we grow and develop the most. Being an entrepreneur also means having to get comfortable with the idea of failure, and embracing it as the First Attempt in Learning.

How do I develop a growth mindset?

Journaling is a great way to identify potential stumbling blocks in your mindset that may be holding you back. Try journaling on some of these questions:

  • What tasks in my business scare me?

  • How do I respond when a task scares me? (Put it off, do it anyway and so on)

  • How do I feel about feedback?

  • What do I do when I receive feedback?

  • How does the word failure make me feel?

By writing on these topics for a short period each week, you may uncover subconscious thoughts that you did not even know you had. I was putting off hiring another tutor for a long time, as I was scared of expanding my business and then not having enough clients. It was not until I talked this through with my coach that I actually understood what was happening, and that in a way my subconscious was sabotaging my actions in a bid to keep me safe. Identifying the problems is the first step towards being able to fix it.

Using affirmations is another good way to begin the pattern of rewiring your mindset. They send the message to your subconscious that it needs to alter its way of thinking, and the more you repeat them, the more you will start to believe them. Language is incredibly powerful, and the words we choose to expose our mind to can make a big difference. Using the word “yet” at the end of your sentences is also a powerful way to alter a thought. For example, do not say, “I cannot do this email sequence”, say, “I cannot do this email sequence yet”. This will then open your mindset so that you can go and find the help and support you need in order to achieve your goal.

Listening to podcasts and reading books will also help you to develop your growth mindset. There are so many podcasts out there - two of my favourites are the Jenna Kutcher Goal Digger podcast and the Rachel Hollis Rise podcast. They are not an instant fix, but I have found that combined with some of the other strategies above, they come together to help you stop the negative thoughts in their tracks. Hearing stories of others who have come through adversity through the power of their mindset can really inspire you to address your own issues as well.

Find out more

Bright Sky Tutoring offers English tuition for KS2, KS3, KS4 and KS5 students, as well as 11+ preparation. We provide one to one tuition and also small group sessions for KS3 and KS4 English. Sessions are delivered by qualified and highly experienced teachers, who will tailor the session to the individual needs of your child. To find out more, email Jo Broadey at

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