What is Your Growth Mindset?

In 2006, Carol Dweck introduced mindset theories to us in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In this book she talks about the difference between a growth and fixed mindset and her research from there has skyrocketed into classrooms, workplaces and conferences. The idea is that people who have a growth mindset tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset. People who believe that talents can be developed through learning, strategies, work ethic and the input of others fall into the growth mindset category. Those who have the motto, “I either have it or I don’t” fall into the latter.

I always considered myself someone who thrived off of learning, but not in a formal setting. I have always enjoyed reading books and articles, watching HLN (my preference over CNN) or engaging in friendly debates with friends and family around hot topics. So when someone, specifically my Uncle, would say to me “You should consider going back to school” I would always shut down that idea. I had obtained my Bachelor’s Degree, which took me 5 years, and that was enough for me.

Well, in 2010 I enrolled in a Master’s program. Guess I was not finished. 

After taking another 5 years to complete my M.B.A. I for sure thought I was finished.

This year, 2018, I get accepted to Georgetown University’s Executive Certificate in Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management program.

Apparently I am not done with school. 


Fast forward. Day 1 of class.

9 AM – 26 diverse men and women are sitting in a circle facing each other. As introductions were happening,  I got a rush of excitement. Not only am I about to expand my knowledge within Diversity & Inclusion,  I am about to learn from these hand picked individuals who are learning right a long side of me.

This is who makes up cohort 8 of this program:

Former lawyers 

Higher education professionals

Current and former members of the military – with over 100 years of service combined

A former member of the Heatwave music group

A woman who just moved to D.C. from Finland three weeks ago 

Two people who were previously in Biochemistry

One of the founders of District Taco – an popular taco eatery in DC/MD/VA/PA

The author of Fight Like a Girl: The Truth Behind How Female Marines Are Trained 

Four members from my amazing sorority – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc 

And more….

I was taken back by who I just met. There is plenty to learn from these working professionals. And not to mention the regional differences in the classroom. Outside of locals from the DMV, people traveled from Burlington VT, Seattle WA, Portland OR, Atlanta GA, Los Angeles CA, and New York NY.

After my first day of class I began to think about my initial hesitations around returning to school at this stage in my life. We all have a lot going on right? But I was so excited to go home after my first day and complete my homework. I found a new pocket of passion that I did not think I had anymore.

This program spans over 6 months and we meet once a month for 3 consecutive days. Thinking about what I learned after 3 days excites me on what is to come.  It also has jump started my growth mindset.


I appreciate the work that Carol Dweck has presented to us over 10 years ago. Learning does not stop after grade school and college. It scales beyond. Challenging your mind is a way to keep your passions in the foreground and to keep yourself relevant. A classroom setting is not for everyone, but there are various ways to keep your mind active.

Subscribe or follow 

What does your social media thread look like? In a previous post I wrote, it is important to have variety on social media. Now I want you to think about your professional field or interest. Do you follow or subscribe to articles or channels that provide knowledge that you could use in your daily work tasks?

Every Wednesday morning from 9-10 AM I dedicate to personal development. My company invested in Degreed to provide employees with articles, videos and training relevant to our careers and professional growth. During this dedicated hour, I spend time reading or watching content. It is challenging not to get distracted by emails, phone calls or anything else that pops up work related, but sticking to this plan has helped me discover information that I would have never found.

Take part in something at work 

Does your company have employee or business resource groups? Are there volunteer or community involvement opportunities? Growing your mind does not have to mean reading books and articles, it can mean spending time with your fellow colleagues to learn more about them.

Employee resource groups are a good way to get involved in community at work. These groups can range from Women, Multi-Cultural, LGBTQ and Working Parents. Getting involved can help you rediscover your why within you career and organization.

Audit your personal groups 

Who are you surrounding yourself with daily? Are these individuals pouring into or taking away from you? Keep in mind that the people around you slowly contribute to your daily habits and decisions. Take an inventory of you walks through life with you.

You might not think this a way to “grow your brain”, but it is. Everything you come in contact with throughout your day either help you advance, stay still or set you back and people have a huge influence.

Don’t start kicking people of out your squad, but instead change your interactions or shift the types of conversations you have. You will start to see and feel a difference in the energy you have when around certain people.


I hope this helps you jump start a new journey to your growth mind set. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite images that help describe fixed vs growth mindsets.

~JY

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