Over this last summer, my neighbor put out a notice for the need of assistance at Sheridan High School for a Big Brother Big Sister Program called Mentor 2.0. I had nothing but the best guidance all throughout my life. If I could give that back to someone who really needed it, that would be pretty incredible. Each volunteer gets matched with a high school freshmen and we see them through all 4 years in hopes of getting them off to college. I got matched with Amanda. She is so enthusiastic and ready for every class. She couldn’t be any different from who I was in high school. I may or may not have ditched class to engage in frowned upon extracurricular activities. But hey A’s in college are more important anyway!

Every Thursday, I can expect an email of the lessons being taught in their class. I’m always excited to see what my Little Sister is learning next. Maybe even get some of those lost hours back. Ha! This week we discussed a ‘Fixed Mindset’ compared to a ‘Growth Mindset.’

The teacher shared a video on Lebron James rough upbringing. He was born to a single mom at the age of 16 who jumped around from job to job, apartment to apartment to try and keep them afloat. Did his circumstances stop him? Not even close. After the video, the kids were asked to respond on the two mindsets. I could see how they applied the lesson to education in the classroom. After all, they are still in high school. I definitely got the aspect of kids and mindsets in the classroom, but I took it a step further to think about how mindsets have a direct effect on careers and life in general. Let’s talk about the educational part first…

A fixed mindset means that your character, intelligence and abilities are fixed or predetermined. This implies you were born a certain way and nothing can change that. Success confirms the abilities you have always had. Failure means you are not smart or skilled. While a growth mindset reinforces that our basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.

Amanda was quick to point out she has a growth mindset. Phew! “When I stink at things, like a new sport or do bad on a quiz I try to do better.” Could I have asked for a smarter Little Sister? She knows that if she is properly taught and guided she can work hard to develop her natural abilities further. Amanda takes a failure as an opportunity to grow.

Here is some research that was shared with the “Bigs” before engaging in class with our “Littles.” The research suggested that a child’s innate ability is only about 25% of achievement. Meaning that a child’s success in learning and growing is 25% based on a child’s innate ability AND 75% based on Growth Mindset and the ability to learn.

The nationwide study took 400 fifth-graders throughout the US to test the ‘fixed’ vs the ‘growth’ mindset. (To watch this video yourself, go to YouTube and search ‘Carol Dweck – A Study on Praise and Mindsets’). They took half of them as a random sample, and gave them the exact same tests. The first test was an easy IQ test. The kids were put in two groups.

Each group was given different praise when they were given the results of the test. The first group was praised on intelligence and were told, “You must be smart at this.” The second group was praised on effort, and were told, “You must have worked hard at this.” This is the difference between a fixed mind-set and a growth mindset.

Then, the kids were given an option for their next test. They could: 1- Take a harder test and this is a great opportunity to learn and grow, or 2- Take and easier test and you’ll surely do well. The kids that were praised on intelligence, 67% chose easier version. Conversely, the kids praised for their effort, 92% chose harder option. Ultimately, the study showed kids praised for effort are more openly accepting to challenging themselves and are not afraid of failure.

The next test was incredibly hard and the kids were set-up for failure, but what was interesting was the kids praised for effort worked harder, longer, and enjoyed the challenge. While the kids praised on intelligence quickly became frustrated and didn’t try as hard.

Now here is the INCREDIBLE part: the kids were given a 3rd and final test as easy as the first one. The results are astounding. The kids praised on intelligence actually did worse and their scores dropped by 20% while the kids who had been praised for effort actually raised their score by 30%. This is a 50% swing based on a few subtle differences on how a child is praised. How you praise can actually raise or hinder a kid.

So to all the parents out there, want to instill good behavior to make your kid a rockstar? Make sure to praise their efforts, not the results.

The growth mindset 100% applies to Business and Real Estate.

Whenever I meet with a client that is NOT a personal referral, I can expect to be interviewing among multiple agents before they chose their realtor. Based on my experience, I believe most agents fall into a fixed mindset. I’ve been there and I’ve done it. I would show up with my powerpoint on how great my team is along with MLS comps and a canned script ready to challenge any “no” coming my way. This is a fixed mindset. Instead of honing in on what process will get clients their desired result, agents are focused on what line is next in the script or do they have a signed listing agreement yet.

A growth mindset in Real Estate means taking the time. The time to know your clients, the time to dedicate your efforts and the time to address each concern. Who wants to hear an agent praising themselves and their results? Or even worse, twisting each response to tell the client what they want to hear. Trust me, there is a script for it all. Have a family member in real estate? Want to meet with another agent? Want to think it over with a significant other? No chance, if you are speaking to a fixed mindset agent. They just want your name on the dotted line. And if they don’t get it, it must be the script, right? Come on, this is a joke!

I cannot wrap my head around using scripts when talking to another person. Do you not have the decency to answer someone honestly and with good intentions? Do you really have to memorize some script because you have no idea what you are talking about? Every client is different and has their own story. How can this be uncovered with a script? How can I make their lives better without detailing their goals? Agents who use scripts have a fixed mindset. And at the end of the day, they might not know any better or they might not want to push themselves to be better.

Those of us with a growth mindset think differently.  A growth mindset will think outside the box to overcome problems and go to bat for their clients. I didn’t realize until now how much of a growth mindset I have incorporated into my practice. I am teaching clients how to use a Value Driven Approach vs. Price-Driven Approach most agents employ. I am also writing property stories for my sellers to create an emotional attachment for buyers before they even set foot in the home. I have been reading book after book on writing so I can convey my message through these newsletters. Holy cow, is it easy? Hell no! So I thank you for sticking with me on this ride.  In the long run, I know the growth mindset will take me places I’ve never dreamed of. Well, that is what I keep telling myself and that is what you should tell yourself, your kids, your coworkers, etc… Talk to you next month!