Episode #158 – The Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset for Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #158 - The Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset for Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive recruiter Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about the growth mindset vs. the fixed mindset. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here.

Julea: Stacy, exactly how important is a person’s mindset in terms of their career?

Stacy: It’s very important! In fact, I believe it’s more important than most people think it is. Now, don’t get me wrong. Intelligence is important, and so are a person’s technical skills, their soft skills, and their level of experience. But there are other factors, and as we’ll discuss today, a person’s mindset is even more important than how intelligent they are. Or how intelligent they think they are.

Julea: Stacy, you’ve talked about the importance of mindset on the podcast before, haven’t you?

Stacy: Yes, in episode #152, I talked about the outward mindset vs. the inward mindset.

Julea: Can you recap the difference for us quickly?

Stacy: I certainly can. Inward focused people have their head down, sometimes both literally and figuratively. They’re only focused on what they’re doing in their own job or what it is going on within their employer. Inward focused individuals are so focused on what’s going on with their job that they’re not always aware of what’s happening outside their employer, including what’s happening in the industry and what their employer’s competitors are doing.

Outward focused people, on the other hand, know what’s happening in their job and within their employer, but they also have their head up and they’re aware of what’s happening outside of their employer. These professionals not only “keep their ear to the ground,” but they also network with other professionals. They attend conferences and network with people from other organizations, as well. That’s part of the reason they know what’s happening in the industry: they consistently network with other professionals.

Julea: And if I remember correctly, you said it was okay for professionals to be both outward focused and inward focused.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. You have to be aware of what’s happening in your job, and you also have be aware of what’s going on within your employer. However, that is definitely not enough if you want to maximize your potential and grow your career. You must also be outward focused and know what’s happening within your industry or profession and what’s happening within the employment marketplace overall.

Julea: So today, we’re going to discuss the growth mindset vs. the fixed mindset. Is this a case where you would again advocate adopting both mindsets?

Stacy: Oh, no. Not this time.

Julea: Okay, let’s dive right in. Where would you like to start Stacy?

Stacy: I want to start with a study released a few years ago by psychologist Carol Dweck at Stanford University. According to the study, people’s attitudes fall into one of two categories: either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

Julea: Let me guess. The growth mindset is better?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right, and the reason is that people who have a growth mindset believe they can improve their performance if they put forth a greater effort.

So let’s say there are two candidates for a really good job with an Animal Health Company or a Veterinary practice. One has a higher IQ than the other or is more intelligent, at least in the conventional way that intelligence is measured. However, the candidate with the lower IQ has a growth mindset, while the candidate with the higher IQ has a fixed mindset. Which candidate do you think would be better for the position?

Julea: I’m going to say the candidate with the growth mindset. Is that right?

Stacy: That’s right!

Julea: Why is this the case Stacy?

Stacy: The number-one reason is that they embrace challenges. And when I say challenges, I really mean adversity. That’s because a person with a growth mindset will view adversity as a challenge. They’ll also view it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Julea: And a person with a fixed mindset doesn’t do that?

Stacy: That’s correct. Either they can’t do that or even if they can, it’s much more difficult for them to actually do it.

Julea: Stacy, I have a question. Aren’t people who are intelligent and who believe they’re intelligent usually have more confidence than people who aren’t? Wouldn’t that help them when it comes to overcoming adversity?

Stacy: It does, but according to the Stanford University study, only to a point. People who are intelligent but who have a fixed mindset typically have confidence, but only when things are pretty much going their way. When things are NOT going their way or when they get tough, people with a fixed mindset lose their confidence pretty quickly.

Julea: Is that because they find it difficult to adjust or adapt to the situation?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. Because of their fixed mindset, they shy away from adversity. That’s because their brains are more focused on maintaining the status quo. When the status quo is disrupted, their top priority is to regain the status quo instead of adjusting or adapting to their new circumstances.

A person with a growth mindset, on the other hand, does not bother with trying to regain the status quo. They realize that the status quo is useless. Instead, they’re focused on meeting their situation and their circumstances head-on. As I mentioned earlier, they view adversity as a challenge and they actually enjoy meeting the challenge and overcoming it.

Julea: You mean they actually enjoy adversity?

Stacy: Well, they don’t enjoy adversity, per se, but they enjoy the challenge and they especially enjoy overcoming the challenge.

People with a growth mindset are natural-born problem solvers, and as we’ve discussed numerous times on this podcast, the ability to solve problems is a big form of value in the employment marketplace. In fact, it’s one of the top forms of value, and that’s because there are no end to the problems that pop up in life and in the marketplace and workforce.

Julea: It seems to me that adversity in life is inevitable and encountering problems is inevitable. Since that’s the case, a person with a growth mindset is already positioned well to succeed. Would you say that’s the case?

Stacy: I would absolutely say that’s the case. And that’s why Animal Health and Veterinary employers want to hire people who have a growth mindset. Sure, it’s great to hire people who have the right technical set of skills, an extensive amount of experience, and even the right soft skills. However, if that person also has a fixed mindset, then there’s a limit to what they can do. In other words, there’s a limit to the amount of value they can provide to a prospective employer.

Julea: Being able to overcome adversity is a trait of being resilient, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. And resiliency is one of the traits that employers covet the most in their employees and in candidates they’re considering for their open positions.

Julea: Why is that?

Stacy: Well, we’ve also discussed resiliency before on the podcast, and that’s because I believe it’s a critically important form of value for Animal Health and Veterinary professionals. Resiliency is valuable to employers for five main reasons.

First, resilient people acknowledge their weaknesses instead of ignoring them and they actively work to improve them.

Second, resilient people are flexible in both their thinking and their approach to situations.

Third, resilient people are self-motivated individuals. That means they’re intrinsically motivated and not extrinsically motivated. They don’t need another person to motivate them through external means.

Fourth, resilient people manage stress well, and as we all know, adversity can produce a lot of stress.

And fifth, resilient people do NOT give up, regardless of the situation or how many times they’ve failed in the past. This is perhaps the most important characteristic of resilient people, and I can tell you without a doubt that employers want to hire people who are resilient.

Julea: So Stacy, are you saying that resilient people are more likely to have a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset?

Stacy: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

Julea: Stacy, I imagine that you’ve met people with a fixed mindset and also people with a growth mindset during your career as an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter.

Stacy: Yes, I have. And it will probably not surprise you to know that I’ve found those people who have a growth mindset are more successful in their professional life and their career than those who have a fixed mindset. And I can usually tell who is who when I contact them about an employment opportunity.

Julea: How is that?

Stacy: A professional who possesses a fixed mindset will often not even wait to hear about the opportunity that I have to present. They’ll say they’re not interested and hang up. When you think about it, that’s crazy. How can you say “No” to something when you don’t even know what that something is? But that’s the fixed mindset in action.

On the other hand, when I contact professionals who possess the growth mindset, they’re automatically interested in what I have to say. They ask me to tell them about the opportunity, which I do. Now, sometimes they’re interested enough to take the next step and pursue the opportunity and sometimes they’re not. However, what’s important is that they were willing to at least listen to what I had to say. And that makes all the difference.

I can say without a doubt that those Animal Health and Veterinary professionals who have a growth mindset are more successful in their jobs and their careers. They don’t try to maintain the status quo or avoid adversity. They welcome the challenges that come with adversity and they use those challenges to learn and to grow. This is exactly the mindset that professionals should have, because all employers want to hire people who possess it.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. We’re just about out of time for today. Is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today’s episode?

Stacy: Yes, I’d like to add one more thing about the growth mindset vs. the fixed mindset.

Even if you have a fixed mindset and you know you have a fixed mindset, you can work to change that. You can develop a growth mindset instead. It will take some work, but a person can do it. I don’t want any of our listeners to think that just because they have a fixed mindset that they’re stuck with it for the rest of their life. However, it will take hard work to develop the growth mindset and then put it to use in a practical way at your job and in your career.

Julea: What are some things that people can do to develop a growth mindset?

Stacy: There are many things, actually, but I’m going to list some of my favorites right now.

First, take ownership of your attitude. In other words, acknowledge that you have control over your attitude and the way you act and react to situations. Second, view challenges as opportunities, which we’ve already discussed. Third, be open to feedback and view it as a gift from other people instead of criticism. You can’t have a growth mindset if you can’t handle objective feedback.

Fourth, don’t be afraid to take risks or to fail. The most successful people in the world have failed over and over again. Failure is simply a part of life. You can’t avoid it, so you might as well use it to keep learning and continue growing. And fifth, be proactive in networking and building new relationships with other people. If you want to grow, then one of the best things you can do is surround yourself with other people who also want to grow. The old saying that “Iron sharpens iron” is absolutely correct.

Julea: Stacy, thank you so much for all of this great information. And for those people who are considering a job change, be sure to check out our hot Animal Health jobs and Veterinary jobs on The VET Recruiter website. Some new jobs were just posted and we post new animal health jobs and veterinary jobs on a regular basis.

Stacy: Yes, there are some great opportunities on The VET Recruiter website. For those listeners who want to change their current situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite them to visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. If you are an employer in the Animal Health Industry or Veterinary Profession and need to hire top talent be sure to reach out to us on our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com

Julea: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It is my pleasure Julea, and thank you. I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!