A Dozen Mindsets for Success

Young gymnast on balance beam

Talent is often the first attribute that people think of when they talk about what it takes to be a success.

And, while talent is certainly useful, I believe wholeheartedly in the quote “Nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.” In the end, it is the mental portion of how an athlete or coach approaches their work that determines just how successful they will be.

The good news is that mindsets can be taught and developed just like any other skill. The following are 12 mindsets that if cultivated in athletes and coaches will undoubtedly lead to greater achievement:

1. Believe in your ability to change. A growth mindset is the greatest belief necessary for success. You must believe in your ability to learn and to grow. You must believe in the abilities of others to do the same. If you find that you are drawn to a fixed mindset, believing that things like intelligence, talent or luck are limited resources and people only have so much of such resources, then you are forever limited by your preconceived notion of how far you or others can grow.

2. Believe that challenges and obstacles are good things. Instead of looking at challenges and obstacles as things that are preventing you from reaching your goals, embrace them as tools that are building your path toward success. When we are challenged we get stronger and when we hit obstacles we find creative ways to scale them. Each time we do this, we learn valuable lessons and gain experience that we can use in the future.

3. Believe that failure is feedback. Failure is inevitable anytime we choose to set a lofty goal. The road to success is paved with all sorts of set backs. If we look at failure as the end of the road, we will end our journey before we barely get started.

4. Believe in your ability to do hard things. Knowing that you have the fortitude to challenge yourself to do difficult, even scary, things and that you possess the resilience to rise and try again are critical to being a success.

5. Believe in your goals. To believe in your goals, you must desire reaching that goal because it is important to you, not someone else. When you select your own goals, you are more motivated to achieve them because they hold more significance in their meaning.

6. Believe that you are responsible for your success (or lack thereof). Being accountable for your actions, your motivation and your results is an essential part of being a successful person. If you look to blame others for your difficulties or expect them to motivate you, you inevitably relinquish control of your future to others.

7. Believe in surrounding yourself with other high achievers. When those around you have high standards, you will find support in and challenges from these teammates and colleagues. Don’t be frightened or feel threatened by others who want to achieve the same thing that you do. Instead, embrace the company on the journey.

8. Believe in the idea that there is enough for everyone to thrive. People with a scarcity mentality, the idea that there is not enough good to go around, spend useful energy stressing out over the possibility of others’ succeeding. If, instead, one adopts an mentality of abundance, that there is plenty of space for everyone to find success, this spirit of generosity frees that envious energy to be put to good use working toward a goal and gives the person a reputation of being helpful and kind.

9. Believe in your ability to find the answers. Maybe it’s because a reference librarian raised me, but I am a huge believer in that while it is impossible to have all the answers, you need to know where you can find them (or at least, how you can find out where to find them). When you are confident that you are able to research and solve whatever problem comes your way, you automatically have a key to your success in your hand.

10. Believe in gratitude. Say thank you. Often. For all that you have. For all that others do for you. For the little things as well as the bigger ones. The negativity developed from dwelling on what you don’t have impedes your progress. The positive nature that you cultivate when you constantly remind yourself of the good things in your life helps you drive toward getting better each day.

11. Believe in your ability to control your emotions. Yes, you will feel how you feel, but what you do with those feelings determines how successful you will be. If you feel angry, and, as a result, you lose your temper and let the situation get the better of you, you end up hurting your own progress. Believing that your emotions are just information, not mandates to action, and reacting as such will help you reach your goals.

12. Believe in talking to yourself in a positive, constructive way. That voice in your head that yells at you, tells you that you are not enough and reminds you that you are going to fail isn’t a motivating force. It’s a vicious voice that needs to be silenced and replaced with a kind, compassionate and caring one that encourages you to stay on task and reminds you that you are capable.

These mindsets are a series of beliefs that when taken together are as powerful and formidable as any talent one might possess. They are developed through commitment and practice, which lead to them becoming habits. Habits that lay the groundwork for wild success in any pursuit.