Fixed Mindset Will Destroy More Than Your WardrobeEveryone’s Talking About Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

On Saturday I went to an expo for Lu La Roe, a women’s fashion company that sells dresses, skirts, and leggings at home parties and online. I hadn’t been planning to go, mind you. I was actually headed to a different event – but something told me I should wander in and explore.

I didn’t realize I was about to get a lesson in fixed vs. growth mindset – a topic that seems to be popping up everywhere in my life lately. First, there was a conversation at the Wright Foundation on what keeps us from training people to be better than we are. Then, fixed vs. growth mindset arose as the main focus of the ActionCOACH workday I attended on Friday. The next day, I was not surprised to see an article posted via LinkedIn by Susan Howington, My Best Career Advice to You, extolling the virtues of a growth mindset.

Fixed mindset, just as it sounds, is a stuck frame of mind that will keep us exactly where we are. It tells us there are no options, that things won’t work, that we can’t do it or learn new things. People living in a fixed mindset are rarely the type of leaders we look up to or who triumph over adversity. They are more likely to be the people complaining.

With a growth mindset, in contrast, we see possibilities. We know we can grow and change. We keep getting better and taking risks. People with a growth mindset are open to the ideas other people have for them. It is satisfying to contribute to them.

Growth Mindset for My Wardrobe

Back to Lu La Roe. I walked into the exhibition hall and my brain immediately told me I would not fit into anything there. I am 4’10” and when I looked at some of the XS tops and they looked huge to me. Instead of keeping my opinion to myself, I said to one of the vendors, “It seems like there aren’t a lot of things here that would fit me.” That was my first good move. I recognized my fixed mindset and voiced it. The woman immediately called over reinforcements, “Hey Tiffany! This lady thinks there’s nothing here that will fit her!”

Tiffany pulled a dress from her rack and began to show me how wrong I was.

Soon, not only was I trying on dresses, but I was learning how to MAKE them fit me! There’s a trick that worked on the first dress, bunching it up from underneath and tying it with a hair band to create a nice diagonal look. And another method worked on a dress that I initially saw as way too long (it was as tall as I am)!

I was so excited to have gotten past my fixed mindset that I bought three items from this miracle worker, plus one from another vendor she referred me to.

It was pretty easy to get past my fixed mindset about clothing. And it was fun!

Creating a Growth Mindset Everywhere

Will blasting through my fixed mindset about certain things in my business be as easy? I have some challenges I’m facing and I’ve been pretty hopeless about some of them. But my coaches have helped me see some possibilities there too. In fact, the email you may have received from me today about my college essay price increase came out of one of those conversations.

To help understand fixed mindset, I invite you to watch this video clip from Facing the Giants:

Brock’s coach literally had to blindfold him to get him past his fixed mindset so that he could not see his own perceived limits. And since Brock was a leader on the team, once he broke through his fixed mindset, his team could break through theirs as well.

Note: Brock did not get past his limiting beliefs by himself, as many of us fool ourselves into believing we can do. He needed his coach to believe what he did not believe, just like I needed Tiffany and the coaches at ActionCOACH to get me past some of my stuck thoughts.

I have a lot more work to do, and I know I will have to keep stretching my comfort zone. This week I’m taking new actions on my business, including reaching out to executive recruiters and past leads. As for my new Lu La Roe friend, we are talking about going shoe shopping together. Believe it or not, I have a fixed mindset about how I can’t wear dresses in the winter because I wear orthotics and don’t have decent shoes to wear with dresses. I’m ready to have that thinking blown out of the water too.

Where do you see you have a fixed mindset that you want to shift? Please share in the comments!


  1. I agree with the idea of going beyond our fixed mindset, and the fact that often we need the help of someone (or something) else in order to do so. I had the experience of going to an event that I had attended many times before, and for which I had developed many traditions, regular practices, set expectations and personal “rituals”. This year all my practices and expectations were upended: although it was the same event it was all new for me. Or at least, new again after over 20 years. I was unsure if I would enjoy myself without all my tried-and true elements, forgetting that I had enjoyed myself many years ago the first time I went. Well, circumstances forced me to have an open mindset, and I found myself doing things differently, enjoying whole new aspects of the event in ways that I would not have done had I not been forced to do things a new way. Hooray for opening my mind and heart to trying a new way!

  2. Thank you for this great article Brenda. It came just when I needed to hear it. I am a writer and am 61 years old. I work part-time for a wonderful nonprofit, but I’m struggling to make ends meet. I know I view my age as a big limitation regarding work. I like your idea of receiving coaching as I tend to try to do everything on my own. Any ideas of where I can find low-cost coaching options? I live about an hour north of San Francisco. Than you.

  3. I am a work in progress on this! It’s been an interesting journey to seek out opinions that are different than mine, question my fixed beliefs about how I invest my time and even how I see other people. Carol Dweck’s book MINDSET has helped a lot on self-awareness.

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