growth mindsetAre you feeling like 2016 has already started to get away from you? Is your hope that this year will be less disruptive than last? Are you already under the pump to meet competing deadlines, reports, targets or client demands?

Despite what many of the self-help gurus suggest (or demand) of you, just telling yourself that things will get better isn’t going to cut it.

Ignore Self-Helpers – Here’s What Science Recommends

It’s time to ignore the self-help rubbish about the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction – and tune into what the evidence-based scientific research is telling us about the vast benefits in our professional and personal lives when we develop a sense of self-determination and a growth mindset.

How self-determined are you and why is it important?

For more than a decade now, researchers Edward Deci and Richard Ryan have and continue to research, test, develop and validate their theory of motivation known as Self-Determination Theory.

However, this goes well beyond theory, and provides each of us with a clear indication on what we need to do to manage our motivation, thoughts, feelings, choices and actions in times of disruption, distraction and change.

It starts with COMPETENCE

Of course we don’t need a scientific theory to tell us that competence is an important element to helping us manage disruption.

However, Self-Determination theory has found the importance isn’t just being competent. What’s equally if not more important is that you have an overarching desire to continuously learn and grow to be able to better handle whatever situation confronts you.

The second key element in Self-Determination theory is RELATEDNESS

In times of disruption, going it alone will mostly just add to your misery. Relatedness is all about your genuine desire to earn the trust of others, to be connected and care for people. Science validates that people who earn and build trust relationships fast track almost every measure of success in their personal and professional lives.

The final element in Self-Determination theory is AUTONOMY

This is not about wanting to be independent of others. It is about having a strong sense of freedom and capacity to get things done in ways that are congruent with your own values and beliefs. While authenticity is a bit of a buzz word in leadership at the moment, the reality is that science validates when we believe we are achieving in ways that are consistent with how we see ourselves, we again, speed up the measures of success in our professional and personal lives.

AMPING UP YOUR GROWTH MINDSET

The above three intrinsic motivational drives outlined in Deci’s and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory set out a blueprint for managing in disruptive times.

However, to really amp up your success in times of disruption, distraction and change, research by Carol Dweck strongly validates that you need to develop and apply a growth mindset.

Creativity and flexibility are key tools to help you manage disruption, however, if you’ve got a fixed mindset, your capacity to be creative and flexible in the moments that matter most will be restricted.

If you think yours and others’ success really comes down to intelligence or talent (or luck), there’s a strong chance you’ve got a fixed mindset. The problem with this type of thinking is that it almost becomes fatalistic and you restrict or reduce your inner drive to learn and grow to try and make a difference.

However, if you think yours and others’ success really comes down to effort and the striving to find new and better ways to achieve, you’ve probably got a growth mindset.

The really good news, if you’re prepared to take up the challenge of working on developing your self-determination (autonomy, relatedness and competence) and working on developing a more open and growth mindset, you’ll be in a much better position to manage in times of disruption, distraction and change.

AND DRUM ROLL… HERE’S THE HOW!

To build your sense of autonomy – get really clear on your personal values and work out the behaviour and actions you clearly and proudly want to be known for that will demonstrate your ‘good’ character to the world. With clarity of values, choices and actions are more easy to make and more aligned with who you are.

To build your competence – adopt a strategy of life long learning. Build in ‘learning-time’ into your busy schedule. Remember, if you leave learning up to others, you’ll be left behind in a fast paced and ever changing world.

To build your relatedness – get clear on your intentions (what you want, hope, wish for the people you impact in your professional and personal life). Clarity of intentions allows you to make intentional promises, take intentional actions and achieve intentional results that will positively influence others. These are the foundations and pillars of earning, building and maintaining every trust relationship.

And finally, To build your growth mindset – continually challenge yourself to be open to what others are saying… even if you don’t agree. Continually challenge yourself when you hit a mental brick wall to seek out others to assist you in finding ways around or over the wall. Don’t be that symbolic fly just banging on the window and ending up with a fixed growth headache.

The researchers in applied positive psychology are providing us with more clarity around how to flourish in our professional and personal lives.

Don’t let 2016 get too far away from you before at least taking stock of your truth about what you’re going to personally commit to doing to improve your capacity to manage in what will continue to be a year of constant disruption, distraction and change.