No Growth Mindset, Yet! – S2E6

Ever found yourself tongue-tied at a party or fumbling for the right words during a meeting? You’re not alone; I’ve been there too. But what if I told you that with a simple shift in mindset, you could start turning those awkward moments into stepping stones for building rock-solid social skills? Welcome to a transformative journey on the Be Better Tomorrow podcast, where we tackle Sam’s burning question about using a growth mindset to dance through the minefield of social anxiety. Together, we’ll unpack the tools and strategies to not just survive, but thrive in our social lives. 

Growth Mindset,Yet

This episode peels back the curtain on the power of self-reflection and the practical steps to navigate social scenarios with finesse. From the art of conversation to the strength found in vulnerability, we address it all. Plus, I’ll reveal why feedback isn’t something to fear but to embrace, sharing how it’s been a game-changer for icons like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. And here’s the kicker: I’m offering you a free coaching assessment to catalyze your own growth. So plug in, get ready to shed those limiting beliefs, and let’s set the stage for a more socially savvy you.

Previous Show on Growth Midset


Hi everybody, welcome back to the Be Better Tomorrow podcast. I’m your host, Jason Fisher. This show is about personal and professional development, helping you find little things that you can do today to help you be better tomorrow.

We’re going to start out with a letter from a listener, because it was a really challenging question, one I hadn’t really thought of before. This is from a listener named Sam. I’m not sure if it’s Samantha or Samuel or just Sam, don’t know, don’t really care. I do appreciate the letter, Sam, though, so I’m going to go ahead and read. First off, they expressed appreciation, I’m not going to reread that just to pat myself on the back, but they did especially like the story about mountain biking and the growth mindset, which leads to the question. Given the growth mindset can be applied to nearly all facets of personal development, I’m curious about its application in overcoming social anxiety or improving social skills. Many of us struggle with this to varying degrees, and the idea of fostering a growth mindset to enhance our social interactions is both intriguing and potentially transformative. Can you share your thoughts on how adopting a growth mindset could specifically help someone become more socially adept? Perhaps examples or strategies that align with this approach.

Sam, what a question. This hits really close to home for me. I am a geek, and my kids are geeks. There’s a lot of social awkwardness in geek culture. They say the difference between a geek and a nerd is their social aptitude. If you can pass for normal in a given situation, you’re a geek, but not a nerd. I don’t know. Funny joke, it’s what they said.

This is really good. Let’s think about this. I talked a lot about achieving goals with a growth mindset, but if your goal is to be more socially adept or to be less awkward, how does that apply? I think it applies the same way. You’ve got to recognize that you’re going to make mistakes. I’ll be honest, I’m one of those people who if I think I put my foot in my mouth seven years ago, I’ve never forgotten it. I can still tell you the first night I met one of my good friend’s wives. She had come up from out of town. I can tell you the building we were in. I drive past it all the time with my daughter. We were all at this karaoke bar having a good time. For some reason, I said something, and I’m not going to get into what it was, but afterward, I just felt bad for years that I had made this horrible first impression with this woman who I was going to spend a good deal of time with. When I asked her about it, oh, I don’t know, five or six years ago, she has no idea what I’m talking about, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still feel awkward about it.

If you’re going to adopt a growth mindset, though, you’re going to have to recognize that mistakes are going to be made, that you’re going to say something stupid every once in a while. You’re going to make a joke that falls flat. You’re going to offend somebody if you take risks or if you try humor like me, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Just being able to say in the middle of the situation, “Oh, well, I just made it awkward. Sorry about that,” and create a humorous situation out of it could go a long way.

You can always take a step back and examine what you did and what you could have done differently as long as you don’t get into beating yourself up, like I do, seven years later, 10 years later, thinking about that thing that you did that you wish you wouldn’t have done.

Let’s talk about a particular pet peeve of mine in conversations, those people who hog the ball, the conversational ball, as it were. We’ve all been around those people who talk as if they’re talking to an audience and not to a person, and they don’t really give an opportunity for interplay. If you’re that kind of person and you recognize it and you want to change, then you learn and you make intentional actions or take intentional actions towards that new goal that you have, knowing again, I do this all the time myself because I’m one of those people. I occasionally have to stop myself and go, “I’ve really been hogging the ball. Let me ask this person about them,” and not just so they can give me a new topic of conversation for me to talk about, but so that I can learn something about them and show that I care about them as an individual. And I’ll be honest, sometimes my wife has to put her hand on my leg, and that’s the signal. You’ve been talking too much. You need to pass the ball now. We’ve talked about it. I’ve given her permission to do that. I’m not offended. Maybe you need somebody in your life to hold you accountable for that.

But knowing that it is possible to change, that these personality traits are things we picked up. We weren’t born that way. Something in our lives, it worked at one point maybe, or it’s just a nervous reaction that we have to react to a situation. Knowing that you can change those things that you don’t like about yourself, though, is taking on that growth mindset. And once you recognize what you need to change, know that you need to change, and take actions toward changing, that will help you be better tomorrow.

All right, ladies and gentlemen. Last time we talked about the growth mindset, what it means, a little bit about its history. And I thought I was going to talk a little bit about the scientific research on it. Quite frankly, I’m not qualified or interested to some degree. I don’t know if you’ll be interested, but if you want to look up Carol Dweck and her TED Talk, she goes into some of the research that they did to prove things out, and some of the successes they’ve had with it. But really what I want to talk to you about, because I think this is what’s most important, is how do you make the change? How do you find out where you have a fixed mindset, and how do you make that change to a growth mindset?

Here’s the miracle. It’s super simple. It’s three letters. It’s the word yet, Y-E-T, not yet, or I don’t know how to do that yet. You see, when Dweck and her co-workers, her associates started to work with children particularly, and they stopped praising children based on their immutable characteristics like, “Oh, you’re so smart, you’re so clever,” and started praising them on their process, they actually built a math app called BrainPoints, if you want to look it up, where it didn’t just reward the children for having the right answer. It rewarded them for the process that they went through in order to get to the right answer, or to get close to the right answer, kind of like when your teacher would give you extra credit because you didn’t carry the one, but you did the rest of the math right, that’d give you some credit because you were on the right track, you just made a little mistake. That’s actually more helpful than an all or nothing pass/fail where you think that you’re just dumb. If you come into a situation and you think you’re dumb, or you think you can’t do it, or you’re not good at that particular thing, you’re more likely to fail in your endeavors.

What they did was start training these children that their success was not based on these immutable characteristics, but it was based on their effort and their determination, and the work that they put in to accomplish their goals. In fact, there was one school, I believe it was in Chicago, where if you didn’t get enough credits to pass or to graduate, then your grade didn’t come back fail, your grade came back not yet. That changed the way people thought about the work that they were doing. It makes you think, yeah right, not now, not yet, but soon. Someday I will be able to get there. Someday I can accomplish what I’m trying to accomplish.

Now how do we deal with this? Well, one of the ways you can discover where you have a fixed mindset is in your vocabulary. I think I talked a little bit about this in the last episode. People will often say things like, “I’m just no good with names. I’m just no good or not good at,” that’s a great indicator for where you have a fixed mindset. I’m no good at that. I don’t do math. I can’t remember names. I can’t lose weight. I’m just fat. I don’t like vegetables. These are things that you have a fixed mindset about.

The first thing you need to do is become aware of the situation. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, then you need to know where this change needs to happen and what’s holding you back. The easiest thing to do is to add yet to any of those sentences. I’m no good with names yet. I’m getting better. I’m learning how to remember names. I’m no good at math yet. I don’t know how to do that yet. I don’t understand that yet. There’s no reason that you cannot accomplish it, understand it, move forward with it, except that you won’t put the effort in. That’s the only thing that can hold you back. Barring some sort of severe trauma or injury or actual brain issues, for the average person, there’s no reason you can’t accomplish these things, except that you’ve set your mind to give yourself an excuse because you’re lazy. A lot of people do that. They don’t want to put in the effort.

I always use remembering names as an example because I think a lot of people cop out on this and it’s just laziness. Unless you have an actual brain traumatic injury, a memory issue, something along those lines, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the people who just don’t actually bother. Maybe you’re a little narcissistic and you don’t care about who other people are. Don’t let that be your excuse. Don’t say, “I can’t remember names.” You just say, well, I don’t care enough to remember names. Be honest with yourself. If you’re actually looking to make a change, that honesty that you have with yourself will help you to recognize what you’re looking at. It’ll help you to understand where your deficiencies are and then help you make the change to move forward. I’m no good at remembering names yet. I’m working on remembering names.

Well, now you’ve actually acknowledged that. You’ve created an identity as somebody who is going to remember names and you’re going to make an effort. If you actually say to yourself or to somebody else, “I’m working on remembering names,” you’re going to not want to be a liar. You’ll actually remember names. Again, my trick is write them down. You got a phone, pull up your note app, write down the names of the people and then associate them while you’re sitting there in whatever meeting or group you’re in, put something down about them. No, that’s the redheaded person. This person who’s married to so-and-so. They’ve got three kids. They’re the ones who went to Mexico. Whatever you remember next time you might see them and then simply check that information next time you’re walking into the situation where you might see that person.

For example, I go to church regularly. I meet a new person at church. I’m going to write their name down because I might see them again, especially if I know they’re a regular. Well, I’m going to write their name down, write down whatever I remember about them so that when I come back into the situation, I’m being intentional.

You might say, “Jason, that sounds fake. You’re just pretending. You’re faking. You’re not really good with names.” Well, how do you think you get good with names? How do you think you get good with people? No, I don’t naturally remember these things. I’ve only got room for so many, but I’m showing the care for the person by actually making the effort to remember those things. I fake it until I make it. I’m sure they appreciate it regardless of how I came to the position.

Listen, I have to write down reminders for myself to do nice things for my wife if I’m honest. I will get so heads down in what I’m doing that I’ll forget. I’ll be like, “I just bought her flowers. It was six months ago, but I think it was last week.” So I will put reminders on my calendar to do nice things for my wife. Does she care that I have to write things down? I don’t think she does because that is the sweet part. It’s the I’m making the effort. I’m making sure that she’s cared about. I’m making sure she knows that she’s cared about. These people don’t care that you had to look up their name ahead of time. They’ll care that you made the effort and then you remembered their name. Someday I’m going to do a show about this. Today’s not today, but intentionality feels fake until it’s not fake anymore. You just have to remember that.

So with the growth in fixed mindset, let me come back to this topic. With the growth in fixed mindset, you recognize where you have a fixed mindset and then you reframe things in such a way that it changes the way you think about it and changing the language to such a degree that you recognize that you can improve. You can move forward.

Now here’s the thing. I’m going to give you the warning now. You’re going to fail. You’re going to fall on your face on something. You’re going to misremember somebody’s name, for example. It’s okay. Apologize. Move on. At least you’re making the effort. Failure is not the end. It doesn’t show that you’ve maxed out your mental capacity and now you’ve reached your level of stupid. That’s not what it means. It simply means that you made a mistake and now you have an opportunity to learn.

And if you make a fun deal about it, “Oh, I’m sorry, I have a friend named such and such. I forgot your name. I apologize. Let me get it right.” And then say it a few times. A little trick: When you’re remembering somebody’s name, use it in conversation. Maybe you heard that before. Don’t just hear their name once. Use it back to them. Say their name back to them. Say it until you remember it. If you make a fun joke about it, you’ll remember it next time. It just works out that way.

But you view failure as a learning opportunity. That’s one of the things about growth and fixed mindsets that’s a difference. Failure is not the end. It’s the beginning. “Oh, now I know I’m in my learning mode. Yeah, I failed.” If you’ve ever been a developer, you probably understand this. Well, maybe you don’t because you probably don’t develop like I do. I’m not a developer, but I try to write code in such a way that I write it and then I run it and it doesn’t work and I fix it and I run it and it doesn’t work. And I fix it and I run it and it doesn’t work and I fix it and I run it and it finally works. And I understand why because I went through all the process.

But if I looked at that first failure as, “Oh, well, I just can’t do this,” I would have never accomplished anything. There’s a tinkering that some people are really good at naturally. It’s a sign of a growth mindset. But if you, for the first time, sit down and, I don’t know, try to do a thing once and it doesn’t work out, then you’re going to lock yourself out of that whole line of learning forever. That’s not what we’re going to do. We’re going to have a growth mindset to know that we can learn from our mistakes and move on.

There’s a great exercise, I’m just doing this one off the cuff and I can’t remember, but the gentleman went out to hear no on purpose. He would ask people questions just so that he could hear them say no because he hated being rejected. But he would go out and hear a hundred no’s a day, just walking up to strangers on the street until it was no longer an issue because he’d done it a thousand times. That’s a really simple way to put yourself in the area of growth when you’re hitting the edge of your comfort zone. If you’re completely comfortable with everything you’re doing, you’re not growing. You have to be a little bit uncomfortable to grow. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to grow. Find small ways that you can do that.

A really good way to do that is to seek feedback from others. One of the reasons I love Toastmasters, you guys will hear me talk about it a lot, it’s one of my touch grass opportunities as it were. It’s where I get to be around real people. One of the reasons I love it is because when you give a prepared speech at Toastmasters, you are assigned an evaluator. Their job, that meeting, is to listen to your speech, write down all the things you did well and things you did not do well or where you have opportunities to grow, and then they give a three minute report on what you did. Direct feedback from you. This is part of the system. If you’re uncomfortable with hearing feedback, it’s really difficult to grow. You can only grow then with what you can see in yourself, and we have so many blinders on with viewing ourselves that it makes it really difficult.

This is why even Michael Jordan had a coach. This is why Tiger Woods has a coach. Whoever’s at the top of their game, the greatest you can imagine, the number one in the world of what they do, they have a coach because that person is able to look at them objectively from the outside and help them accomplish the thing they want to accomplish.

That’s what I can be here for, ladies and gentlemen. I’m a coach. I love to help people accomplish their goals. That may be keeping you accountable on things you’re trying to learn. That may be just processing with you to help you understand how to learn things. If you’re interested in getting a free coaching assessment, reach out to me at Jason at Be glad to have an initial conversation for free. Find out if we can work together. If I can be of help to you, if it’s something you’re interested in, we move forward. If not, no hesitation.

All right, everyone. That’s all the time I have for today. Going to cut you loose with, like I said, short bites to help you improve. I hope this is something that has been helpful to you. I hope you can figure out how to develop a growth mindset so it can set you free to learn whatever it is you’re trying to improve in the rest of your life. I hope you’ve heard something today that will help you be better tomorrow.

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