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How often have you heard ‘have a positive mental attitude and you’ll succeed’.  Well, there’s allot more than believing you’ll succeed in business as Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, discovered from her research.

According to Carol Dweck, success (in business and in life) is not determined by innate talents and intellect.  Rather, business success depends upon our mindset – the degree to which we believe we have the capacity to cultivate our intelligence and grow our abilities.  In her book entitled, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol identifies two primary mindsets – fixed and growth.

Those with a fixed mindset attribute their performance, and consequently their success, to a natural ability or talent. If they perform well and/or succeed, it’s because of their ability or skill. They believe their abilities are set and can’t or don’t change over time. A fixed mindset results in a false sense of security undermined by self-doubt, fear of failure and refusal to take risks, the need to prove oneself, and a  belief that failure permanently defines one as a loser. That’s no way to live!

Those with a growth mindset recognize their ability, talent or skill but realize a great part of their performance is due to effort put forth. They learn from their successes and their failures and capitalize on the way the brain works to make new connections and facilitate change and growth. A growth mindset loves to be challenged, learning and self-improvement, a willingness to work for positive results, and a belief that you can control the outcomes in your life with effort and practice.

Are you curious about your mindset?  Take the mindset test online to find out.

Update 08/10/2011: Although this was said about the US Womens Soccer team in 1999, it’s worth rinsing and repeating. #10 still holds true when it comes to winning!

During the recent FIFA World Cup between the U.S. and Japan, I was glued to the TV to witness the exhilaration of World Cup – and world class – competition.  I laughed.  I cried.  I was touched and inspired by the efforts of the U.S. and Japanese teams in the toughest of competitions.

As the celebration blitz began with Japan claiming victory, I couldn’t help but reflect on what we, as entrepreneurs, can learn from the women’s soccer teams of the U.S. and Japan.

  1. Developing solid, interconnected relationships “off” the field enhances interaction and communication “on” the field.
  2. Even if the game has ended, it doesn’t mean it’s over.  Keep playing.
  3. Conditions surrounding you don’t dictate the outcome – unless you allow them.
  4. Never stop believing you will win.
  5. During practice, train for all the possibilities as if it were the real thing.
  6. Sometimes the difference between winning and losing isn’t technique. It is undying belief, attitude, and grit.
  7. Have confidence in your abilities.
  8. Don’t waver or hesitate.
  9. Be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
  10. Use your head.

What other inspirational lessons did you gain from the watching the competition?

On Sunday, March 20, 2011, from my warm, cozy bedroom I watched as thousands of runners braved gale force winds and torrential downpour to run the L.A. Marathon. In fact, it was only the fourth time in the 26-year history of the LA Marathon that rain plagued the event. This is, after all, LA!

While watching the men’s lead runner, Markos Geneti, burn up the course, I was astonished at the commentary. Two broadcasters – so called marathon experts – mused at the thought of how Geneti’s blistering speed would be his demise causing him to ultimately lose the race. Although Markos Genefit achieved success as a mid-distance runner, this was his very first marathon.

As Mr. Geneti’s speed slowed to 5 minutes and 06 seconds/mile at mile 18 as he waded through shin-deep water, the commentators quipped, “He can’t continue to run that pace! He can’t run that pace and win this race! He just doesn’t know it yet” (referencing his apprentice marathon status). Thank goodness, no one told Markus Geneti that it couldn’t be done!

That statement – “he just doesn’t know it” – held more truth about the real winner of the 26th annual LA Marathon. It didn’t matter what the naysayers and so-called experts had to say. The most important conversation was the one Markos Geneti was having with himself. In that moment, Markos Geneti was telling himself he could win. In fact, he was hoping to run the marathon in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 30 seconds!

The naysayers continued their diatribe. They ruminated how Markos Geneti went out too quickly and would feel the impact of his novice decision at mile marker 21 – 22. Famously known as “The Wall”, they predicted he would hit it and lose it all.

Through mile 21 – 22 – 23 and on, Markos Geneti proved what C. W. Longenecker penned in his well-known prose You Can If You Think You Can that “… soon or late the man who wins, is the man who thinks he can.”

When Markos Geneti crossed the finish line in record-breaking time of 2 hours, 6 minutes and 35 seconds – a full minute faster than he hoped – he proved that if you can if you think you can.

There’s a lot we can learn from Mr. Geneti on determination, persistence, the desire to win, believing in ourselves, and not buying what others are selling, especially when its contrary to what we think we can achieve.  For that inspiration, Marcus Geneti, we say “thank you”!

Has someone told you it couldn’t be done?

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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