“Be brave enough to be bad at something new.” – Jon Acuff
For all the things that are great about social media, one of the terrible things is how it can stifle or even stunt individual growth. While some people are open to talking about their struggles online, usually, we are exposed to polished and curated media designed to highlight a person or company’s best qualities. It can make you feel like everybody has it together except you. Add to that the trolls ruining comments sections, some cleaners non-stop bragging, and being subjected to industry drama. It can make you question why you are on there in the first place.
Above all that noise, however, there is a subtle and insidious message that comes through loud and clear, don’t try anything new! Stick to what you know.
No one likes to feel like a noob. If we have been cleaning windows for a long time, we especially don’t want to feel like a noob in the industry we are a professional member of. So, adding a water fed pole to your truck, for instance, can be a source of anxiety. Sure, no one will say that out loud. Yet, isn’t it true that the people who complain the most about the quality of pure water cleans are the ones who have just started using it? That’s their anxiety peeking out. It hurts to acknowledge they still have much to learn, therefore the fault must lie with the equipment. Indeed, fear of looking bad or inexperienced closes us off to new avenues that might be the future of our company. Why is there such hesitation for a professional to try something new? Part of the reason may be because we have a fixed, rather than growth, mindset.
In her article “Growth Mindset Vs. Fixed Mindset”, Catherine Cote of the Harvard Business School Online explains it this way, “Someone with a growth mindset views intelligence, abilities, and talents as learnable and capable of improvement through effort. On the other hand, someone with a fixed mindset views those same traits as inherently stable and unchangeable over time.”
Here is the rub: We are businesspeople. We don’t invest time or money in things we don’t think will work. If we have a fixed mindset about our business, meaning we have already learned all that we will ever know, and it’s no use trying to change, we will remain static. On the other hand, if we have a growth mindset, we will always look for ways to do things differently. We won’t be afraid to incorporate new ideas into how we do business. We also won’t be scared to start from the bottom again when learning new skills.
How can a growth mindset benefit your company?
1) It fosters resilience. “The capacity to recover from and move through difficult situations—is critical in the entrepreneurial world,” says Cote. “When challenges, setbacks, and failures inevitably arise, your business’s survival depends on your ability to persevere and learn from difficult situations.” Yes, a business owner who knows there is more than one way to do things isn’t afraid to try those things. This allows them the flexibility to pivot and alters their familiar path to survive a difficult time.
2) It allows your business to evolve. Things that worked for your company ten years ago may not work for it now. When I started my company, you needed to have your business listed Yellow Pages phone book. Companies would literally name their businesses AAA Window Cleaners just to get the top spot in the window cleaning category. How the times have changed! A growth mindset allows you to surf the waves as the business currents change direction, rather than being begrudgingly dragged along too late on a piece of old driftwood. “This continual process of testing an idea, learning from the results, and reiterating the product is only possible with a growth mindset,” says Cote.
3) It keeps you humble. Cote explains, “a growth mindset constantly reminds you that there’s always more to learn. By knowing you have the capacity to improve, a growth mindset can keep you humble throughout your entrepreneurial journey.” Humility is a quality often looked down upon as weakness by many yet can be one of the most powerful tools of the entrepreneur. Being willing to learn from others, even competitors, make you more versatile in your decision-making and allows you to stay sharp. It also frees you up to try new things by not being inhibited by pride or a fear of looking foolish. This keeps the roads open and your options plentiful.
Work on developing a growth mindset, no matter what stage your business may be in. Be willing to learn, try new things, and go through a period of feeling like a noob. I mean, someone has to give social media something to talk about. You might as make it the story of your growth.