How to Overcome Fears to Build a Growth Mindset with Dominic George

On this week’s episode of the Leadership Habit Podcast, Jenn has a conversation with Dominic George about overcoming your fears to build a growth mindset. Dominic will share four common fears that hold us back and share five strategies for overcoming them to find success. 

Meet Dominic George, Leadership Coach and Founder of Vision Leadership for Life

Dominic George is a seasoned leadership coach with a Master’s from Columbia University. His coaching style blends mentorship and empowerment, focusing on equipping his clients with the tools and insights they need to navigate challenges and emerge as influential leaders. 

Dominic is the founder of Vision Leadership for Life, a business focused on creating a supportive space where black men who are mid-level professionals to senior leadership roles can harness their strengths, navigate obstacles and achieve senior leadership roles. 

What is a Growth Mindset? 

As the episode opens, Jenn asks Dominic to explain what a growth mindset is to the audience, in case it is a new concept to some. 

Dominic explains, “Yeah, so I’m going to break it down in some simple terms. Especially for the people who are not familiar with a growth mindset. 

So there are two different distinctions that I like to play on. There’s the fixed mindset where often you’ll hear this in people who are of more mature age. Where you’re like, oh, they’re just stuck in their ways. They only do things a certain way. And how you level set that is they have a fixed mindset of how things need to be based on their experiences. So they always sort of show up in the same way all the time because that’s how they see the world. So I find that as a fixed mindset, you’re just consistently doing the same thing over and over again, and you only see things from one perspective. 

A growth mindset is the ability to look at life, look at your environment, and see things differently from multiple different angles. So it’s pulling in information from education spaces, professional spaces, your own experiences, your cultural background, all the things that help you understand the world differently. You’re pulling in that information to see things differently. 

Specifically, when I think about a growth mindset, I think about thinking about the impossible in order to make it possible. That’s how I categorize a growth mindset.”

The Four Common Fears Holding You Back

Later, Jenn and Dominic discuss the importance of developing a growth mindset so you can see challenges and failures as opportunities to learn and grow. Dominic explains that in his work with clients, he sees four common fears that keep people stuck in a fixed mindset and hold them back from success: 

  • Fear of Rejection: As humans, we all want to belong, to be seen and heard–  or hired. However, rejection is part of our personal and professional experience. Whether it is negative feedback or not getting a promotion, we have to find the courage to embrace it as a learning experience. 
  • Fear of Success: When people are on the brink of achieving a goal, they can start to question themselves or suffer from imposter syndrome. Sometimes it is a fear of failure, but it can also be a fixed mindset holding them back from the next level in their careers. 
  • Fear of Being Wrong: This fear can cause people not to speak up in meetings or not share their knowledge or expertise out of fear of being wrong or making mistakes. 
  • Fear of the Unknown: This fear is deeply embedded in human psychology. Our deepest instincts tell us to avoid the unknown in order to stay safe. However, in the modern world, in our careers, there is a lot of uncertainty we have to overcome to succeed. 

Growth Mindset Strategy # 1: Don’t Call It a Setback

Dominic’s first strategy for overcoming your fears to build a growth mindset is to embrace challenges as an opportunity. 

He explains, “When I think about challenges as an opportunity, it’s about really facing your fears, like that starting point of just how I ended, where if you name what the actual challenges you name, what the fear is that’s associated with that challenge, then you could see it as an opportunity versus a setback. Most people, when they see the challenge, they’re often think about what is, or they’re often thinking about what is the end result of that solution. And you don’t need the end result to start off with. You just need the starting point to actually get moving. And most people get by the endpoint because everybody wants to be at the end first. And I just say, slow down, figure out what the challenge is so that you can embrace it and lean into the opportunity around it.”

Growth Mindset Strategy #2: Learn from Failures

Dominic’s next strategy is a core part of embracing a growth mindset. He explains, “The next strategy that I really coach people around is learning from your set, your setbacks and failures because that is the true possibility to move forward as well. We’re always learning, we’re always growing as individuals. And we often fear, like I said, the fear of success, but we get stuck in those places of failure. And so I coach people to really sit down and reflect and be an observer of what happened at every point of that moment where you either had a setback or a failure because that is the moment where you get to really shift your mindset. Again, what’s impossible right now gets to be possible later.”

Growth Mindset Strategy # 3: Become a Lifelong Learner

Dominic also encourages leaders to embrace lifelong learning. He says, “So number three is to really seek continuous learning opportunities. It’s so important that we’re continuously learning and growing because where you are today is not where you’re gonna be long term. In order to really embody that growth mindset, you have to pull in knowledge from different areas, whether that’s podcasts, listening to Jenn, or that’s listening to different leaders at different conferences or going to a workshop reading books. There are so many different ways that we get to learn!”

Growth Mindset Strategy #4: Develop a Positive Attitude

Next, Dominic explains the importance of an open mind and a good attitude, saying, “I coach people to develop a positive and open attitude. If you are one of those people who are just closed off to life, you’re closed off to what’s possible, you usually fit into that big mindset that I spoke about earlier. But it’s so important to be open to it. 

When you’re open and you have a positive mindset, you develop a positive attitude towards what’s around you. You’ll find that people are going to gravitate towards you. They’re going to want to be around you. And because you’re open to the conversation, you’re going to just automatically learn from those individuals who are choosing to be in your presence, choosing to be led by you, choosing to be in community with you.” 

Growth Mindset Strategy #5: Encourage Growth in Others

Part of great leadership is helping others grow and learn! Dominic explains, “The fifth strategy is to really encourage growth in others. When we’re teaching others how to fix their mindset, we’re automatically reinforcing how we need to set our own mindset around the possibilities. And so I really encourage anyone, whether you’re a leader in your family, you’re a leader of yourself, you’re a leader of organizations, of businesses. Wherever you’re leading, you have the opportunity to really encourage growth in others and be a community and conversation with other people around you.”

Where to Find More from Dominic George

Don’t forget to listen to the full episode for all of Dominic and Jenn’s advice and insight. Opportunities for growth are all around you! 

To connect with Dominic: 

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