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Be Empowered by Choosing a Growth Mindset

By Joey Havens

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I really struggle with the time and effort it takes to keep a regular workout routine, which I need for both my general health and to maintain a healthy weight.  Actually, I simultaneously hate to workout and love to workout.  I enjoy skipping a session, and I hate skipping a session.

Does that happen to anyone else?

I have spent time attempting to understand my emotions around working out, and I have realized my emotions win less often when I am focused on a growth mindset. What is a growth mindset? For me, a growth mindset is where I am actively taking ownership of my life, understanding that I can be better every day, and owning my weaknesses rather than blaming or making excuses. Really, it can apply to any area of my life. 

Since being physically fit is the only way we can recharge our energy enough to be our best intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, and since we need our energy to serve others, here’s how I’ve learned to keep a growth mindset for my workouts. I’ll let you in on the inner dialogue that usually happens…

“Mr. Night Before” plans a strenuous, intense workout that will push me in new areas and always includes some cardio.  It’s always a workout that I know will improve my health, stamina and raise my energy level.  But as soon as the alarm goes off at 5:15a.m., “ Mr. Why” speaks up with all kinds of great excuses for skipping this session.  In fact, “Mr. Night Before” has to actively compromise with “Mr. Why” just to get out of bed, but now with a “moderate” workout set as part of my priorities.

So now I’m stumbling around the dark house (my wife doesn’t allow lights during the 5 o’clock hour), getting my stuff together, mixing a protein shake and having my quiet time for Bible study and reflection.

Next, I check my phone and reflect on today’s schedule and opportunities. That’s when “Mr. We Don’t Have Time” shows up to say let’s just go and do the quickest, lightest workout possible. So, I drive to the gym, conceding that maybe a quick, light workout really will be best today. 

This is the defining moment for me. Every. Single. Time.  I have learned at this point to reflect on how good I will feel about my time and results if I go back to “Mr. Night Before’s” plan.  Focusing on the benefits starts to energize me, and at this point I commit to at least starting some action on my original plan.  The momentum builds and my growth mindset takes over.  It doesn’t work every time, but I am getting better at making sure I use my growth mindset to help me stay physically fit.

When I get it right, it is so empowering.  It builds my confidence, raises my energy and reduces my stress level.  It always leads to an incredible day where I can make a difference for others.  This growth mindset is what I use to help me prioritize my day at work too.  What can I learn today? What is my top priority that I need to focus my energy on?  What do I need in my workout at the office to improve my weaknesses?  What can I work on that raises my energy level?

It’s the same growth mindset that we must have as leaders on our journey from good to great. Let’s pursue greatness and be unrivaled with a growth mindset that sets us apart.