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I have been in education for almost two decades and there are a few buzzwords that have stuck with me. One of those phrases is “growth mindset.” Yes it’s catchy, but it is also chock full of hope and reason and strategy. This became really catchy when Carol Dweck’s research first came out in 2016. I further developed my understanding of what it meant to develop a growth mindset by working with non-profit organizations to incorporate the research into lesson plans, or find online tools that could assess for or help to teach elements of the theme to K-12 and college students.
Today, I write about how a growth mindset can be applied as adults. I write to claim that “An old dog can’t learn new tricks” is absolute rubbish and written by those who didn’t want to have to learn any new tricks. I believe growth mindset is a tool each and every one of us can have in our toolkit. I also believe that learning how to adapt SMART Goals into our lives as professionals can help us reinforce our growth mindset from everyday situations to those challenges that come straight out of left field.
You say to yourself, "This is tough but if I keep trying, I can get better at…” or “I’ve never done this before, but I’ve learned lots of new things, so I believe I can learn…”
Do you see/read how the self-talk is different? Recognize that the fixed mindset sounds awfully familiar, much like the negative self-talk we have about so many other things. Like what we should wear, where we can travel, who we can befriend or date, what job we can apply for, and what we deserve. These thoughts are choices. But sometimes these choices have become so redundant that they’ve become rote, meaning you don’t even think about the choice anymore. This is where SMART Goals comes in.
What is a SMART Goal?
SMART Goals are taught to students as a way to help them define and focus their goals for their life. As an adult and entrepreneur, I see SMART Goals as a way to shake the fiction out of our goal-setting (fiction being bias, self-judgment, shame, thoughts, etc.). Instead we can use SMART Goals to get to the facts, the brass tax, about this goal that we’ve communicated to the universe and what we really mean and intend by it. Below is an example of how I used SMART goals to figure out how to better prioritize a minute task that was taking up so many hours of my day.
We are grown-ups with a lot of growing up left to do
I believe that as adults we still have much to learn and practice when it comes to growth mindset and building mental toughness and emotional intelligence. If you run a business, team, department, or project, you need to be able to triage and communicate goals. In your own life you may need to set one or two SMART Goals a week around things at work or at home to help you get more organized, bring more clarity, or simply create more space in your life for the things you love.
I encourage us all to continuously work on developing our growth mindset, to use SMART Goals as one tool in our toolkit in our everyday routines, and to share our goals with our circles of influence so that support can come to you in the form of intentions and good juju to come.
Want support thinking through your goals?
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About Author: Meredith "Mer" Curry
Mer has always had a passion for education and helping historically underrepresented groups achieve access and success to higher opportunities. She has consulted nonprofits, educational institutions, and businesses in addition to her volunteerism and mentorship of students.
Learn more about Mer at www.meredithcurry.com.
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