Bad news can come in many forms and at unexpected times. Getting passed up for a promotion, receiving undesired project results, or even recognizing disparities in workplace treatment are just some experiences that can decrease motivation and divert progress. These experiences may feel detrimental with little hope for recovery.
A large contributor to how adversity is handled relies on ones mindset before, during, and after receiving the news. Even during unsuccessful moments, prioritizing your frame of thinking will allow for the best future steps.
When encountering difficulties, it is natural to default to a fixed mindset
. A fixed mindset is a frame of thinking that inhibits the ability to look past the issue at hand. Individuals who possess a fixed mindset believe that their skill set is relatively inflexible so there isn’t much opportunity for improvement. Setbacks are perceived as limitations of their skillsets which leads those with fixed mindsets to avoid challenges.
To overcome hardship implementing a growth mindset may lead to honing adaptability, embracing creativity, continued optimism, and the motivation to acquire a new skill. A growth mindset
stems from the belief that everyone has the ability to continue to develop skills and make improvements based on continuous efforts. One isn’t stuck in their current position with a growth mindset because they can take steps to improve and continue to learn in any given situation. This perspective is particularly important when dealing with setbacks, and can be implemented daily to concentrate on your objectives.
The growth mindset recognizes that challenges will arise and these setbacks serve as opportunities for growth. Possessing a growth mindset may even lead to the pursuit of new challenges as they will serve as further areas to expand knowledge and experience. Utilizing this framework can encourage passion and purpose in both personal and professional settings due to the ability to maintain an optimistic perspective. Overall, this perspective aims to work towards a more fulfilling life because one isn’t self imposing mental limitations.
Maintaining a growth mindset in the face of bad news is a challenge, but it is achievable with diligent effort and continued practice. These are some initiatives geared towards developing a growth mindset during challenging moments to increase your ability to take productive first steps.
- Process your emotions:
Acknowledge your emotions and why you are frustrated with the situation. When receiving bad news it is natural to feel disheartened or frustrated with the outcome. Allow yourself the opportunity to embrace these emotions and process them. Recognize the root of your feelings and why it made you feel that way. Initial negative reactions are common when dealing with difficulties and are part of life.
2. Reframe the situation as a learning opportunity:
Seek potential lessons you can learn from the situation and ways you can approach this problem differently going forward. Reflecting on what went poorly may direct you to a new skill you can learn that will be beneficial in the future. Spend time analyzing tangible things that can be enhanced rather than dwelling on things out of your control.
3. Acquire feedback:
Gathering feedback and receiving constructive criticism work to determine areas that need improvement and are good ways to prevent the repetition of similar setbacks. Reaching out to others who have more knowledge of what occurred can provide clarity and prevent you from wondering what went wrong.
4. Identify alternative solutions:
Depending on the situation at hand, there may be additional pathways to pursue to achieve your desired outcome. Pursuing alternatives may mean having a conversation with a coworker about different processes that can be implemented, or a conversation with management to learn what opportunities are available/ feasible. Identifying alternative solutions may ultimately lead to pursuing a position at a company that aligns better with your interests and will value your skill set appropriately. Allow time to use your creativity to find different solutions.
5. Seek support from peers or outside resources:
When managing a setback, speaking with peers
can allow you to gain perspective and recognize that others have experienced similar hardships. Vocalizing your outlook on the obstacle will allow for collaborative problem-solving and lead to informed decisions. Surrounding yourself with individuals who positively support and encourage you is key to maintaining a growth mindset. An alternative approach is to seek a mentor
removed from the situation and learn how they may approach the current difficulty. A mentor's guidance will allow you to be accountable in your pursuit of growth.
6. Establish Goals:
is a powerful tool when working towards a growth mindset. After enduring a difficult situation, creating attainable ways to move forward will allow you to have productive results despite obstacles. Determine what your current goals are and then break them down into smaller more achievable goals. By breaking down your goals
, you can maintain motivation and gain a sense of accomplishment. Goal setting creates a strong foundation for accountability and motivation for improvement.
Successfully navigating a setback isn’t an easy endeavor, but maintaining a growth mindset will work toward more rewarding results. Bad news isn’t a determinant of continued misfortune if it is used as motivation to pursue new goals.
Remember that upholding a growth mindset is a continuous process and one that takes time. Commit to embracing challenges as opportunities for development and recognize that a growth mindset can help achieve success in difficult times.