What was the biggest accomplishment of your life?

Was it becoming the first in your family to attend college? Or maybe it was caring for your grandmother while she fought Alzheimer’s. For Lisa Wardle, the Director of Talent Management, Talent Development & Culture at Converse (and this month’s RedPeg Inspires speaker), it was teaching her profoundly deaf niece long division. In our session together, Lisa argued that while the actions themselves are important, how they influenced your growth is what’s significant. In her words, these are what keep you grounded in life, ultimately speaking to your own self-confidence and personal development.

This idea, among other insightful gems, surrounded the September RedPeg Inspires theme: fostering creativity and growth both in and out of the workplace. Within the two-hour session, Lisa challenged us to commit to curiosity, encouraged us to embrace The Growth Mindset, and even judged our design-your-own converse competition. Here are some of the key insights that resonated most for our team:

Commit to Curiosity

One key difference between children and adults is that children are fearlessly curious. They aren’t ashamed of asking one question after the next, and then circling back to the initial question they started with. This unashamed curiosity helps them learn at a quicker pace, and is paramount to fostering creativity and growth.

As an adult, this curiosity comes less second-nature and requires a commitment; a commitment that relinquishes the idea of being ”right.” Have you ever gone into a meeting with an idea in mind that automatically causes you to discredit someone else’s opinion? If the answer is “yes,” you are failing to be curious.

Committing to curiosity means being open to new perspectives, new questions and new behaviors. Consider doing one thing differently a month (or a day, if you’re ambitious) to see how it impacts your daily routine. If you decide to be curious, you may realize that you are more interested in your work, more engaged with clients, and more invested in discovering new ideas.

Embrace the Growth Mindset

In our session, Lisa stressed that “the measure of who we are is what we create.” But often, we block our creative processes and growth by incurring a fixed mindset. Have you ever willingly avoided a challenge for fear of failure? Or are you victim to feeling envious or threatened by someone else’s success? These are qualities of having a fixed mindset.

Leading motivational researcher and psychologist, Carol Dweck, believes there are two kinds of mindsets: fixed and growth. While fixed ideologies dwell on concepts of static intelligence and innate talent, a growth mindset is built on the idea that you can master anything. With a growth mindset, work and commitment foster talent, and mistakes are used as learning opportunities to become successful.

While it may seem difficult to switch from one ideology to the other, Lisa shares that mindsets can be easily changed. It’s simply a decision. True growth is determined by your willingness to fail in order to learn, develop new skills, and sustain self-motivation. Who you are now and the qualities you have acquired are not unchangeable. You have the power to cultivate your own genius.

 

Compliment the Effort

When cheering on your child or younger sibling, your primary goal is probably to make them feel encouraged. You may have complimented them on playing well, being great, or even being the best. While there’s nothing wrong with those sentiments, these compliments encourage comparison to others. And according to Lisa, comparison is the thief of joy.

Try this simple shift: compliment expended effort, not perceived greatness. Your efforts are worthy. Period. Acknowledging these efforts helps propel your momentum to learn new skills and to face new challenges. It’s the best confidence-booster you could’ve ever asked for. Consider praising yourself for the labor and effort put behind your tasks, and watch your mindset transform.

Overall, if we’ve learned anything from Lisa Wardle, it’s that growth is a continuous line. It requires a commitment and a decision to do so. It involves committing to curiosity and challenging your way of thinking. It requires pushing the envelope of your comfort zone and embracing failure. Growth requires effort.

What is current is not permanent. Ideas, memories and experiences will only get better with time. Our best is yet to come, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.