In 2003 I was a university student and I signed up for a two weeks German course in Frankfurt organized by the city of Milan. Only a few years later I realized that this was the first time I followed my process to apply a Growth Mindset into my life.
I apply this process every time I go out of my comfort zone and evolve, regardless whether it's in my career or in my private life. The following steps are part of this process:
1) Stop wondering about it and take a first action. Usually it involves some research: looking for a course, a book or for some people to connect with. When I decided to learn about sketch-noting, I first joined a Facebook group of visual practitioners.
2) Make a commitment. It can be signing up to a course, to a workshop or to make an appointment with someone for a coffee. When I wanted to shift my career towards the innovation and startup environment, I made an appointment with Niels Rot to join the Impact Hub.
3) Start talking about it with people. Many people give you inputs about next steps and get you new contacts. Also you can learn about similar experiences they went through. When I built my first entrepreneurial project, I was mind-blown by how many people in my network had built their own startup in the past. Some still had their own business besides their regular 9-to-5 job.
4) Define a time frame. Usually I give myself one year to focus on new topics, experiment and iterate. But it can vary depending on my goal and scope. In the case of learning to play ukulele, I gave myself a more generous time frame: I would like to become a very good ukulele player before I turn 60.
5) Collect and review feedback. You can't improve without feedback. For example, I ask people to write down one thing that they liked and one to improve after I run a workshop. Then I review that feedback before iterating again.
6) Follow up and take the next action. To follow up, I join a group and have regular meetings, either remotely or in person. Meetup is a great platform to do that. Sometimes I initiated informal groups myself. We committed to meet on a regular basis to share experiences, book recommendations and to keep learning together.
7) Make the next commitment. Then repeat the process a few times.
Some more actions to take:
Write it down and reflect on it. I often practice journaling in the evenings and reflect on my day and experiences. I also have three notebooks that I use to kick-off new ideas, plan my actions and write down inputs I want to follow up on. Few times a year I review my notes in those notebooks. Visualizing it and putting it into words helps me to understand how important that topic is for me.
Make space for more. It can be more of the same. Or something new. I decide based on my reflections and on the collected feedback. Sometimes it's ok to "park it" and to start instead exploring a new topic. For example, I have been learning and experimenting with the agile topic since 2015. Whereas I didn't continue iterating on sketch-noting. Yet life is not a line, it is a circle. Many things you will learn and invest time on might come quite handy when you don't expect it.
So these are the steps I follow to evolve in my career and in my private life. But embracing a Growth Mindset is hard. It means being a beginner over and over in your life. It requires you to focus on the learning and the process rather than on "being right" and on achieving a goal. It can be a rollercoaster of emotions. So it is important to have people in your life, who can support you in the right way. More on this in the next post.
*** This is a topic I am really passionate about, and would love to hear your thoughts and feelings.ur blog settings.