How to Change Your Language—and Mindset—To Find Productive Outcomes

“Right place, right time.” You’ve probably heard this saying before, like when a team member happens to spot a small workplace issue before it gets worse or when you hear a miraculous story about a random bystander saving someone from an accident. Maybe you’ve even thought it yourself, like when when you arrive at your favorite coffeeshop just in time to snag the last available table.

But is it really all about being in the right place at the right time, or does your mindset play a role as well? This was the topic of a recent Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast episode, where guest Noah Graff and I talked about how leaders can shift their mindsets to embrace those serendipitous “right place, right time” moments.

Mindsets Make a Big Difference

When it comes to mindsets, most leaders fall into two categories: fixed mindsets or growth mindsets. Both of these terms were coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, who wrote about them in her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

  • If you have a fixed mindset, it means you see everything as finite. For example, you might think statements like “if I’m not naturally good at this, then I never will be” or feel that you must either completely succeed or completely fail.
  • A growth mindset is essentially the opposite. With this mindset, you’re committed to learning from mistakes and see setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow.

If you have a fixed mindset, you’re less likely to find serendipity in your life. For example, imagine a presentation doesn’t go as planned. With a fixed mindset, you might call it a failure and move on without reflecting on what went wrong. But if you have a growth mindset, you might seek out a team member to get their thoughts on your presentation and how you can improve . . . and in the process, you might gain some powerful tips or hear a game-changing new perspective. By having an open mind and a willingness to grow, you’ve found yourself a great new opportunity.

Finding Serendipity

Once you’ve worked on developing a growth mindset, it’s so much easier to find serendipity. During my podcast with Noah, he shared a great scenario on how an open mindset leads to new opportunities: you walk into a café and find all the tables are full, so you have to share a table with someone else. If they ask what you do, you could shy away from the conversation . . . or you could share some fun facts about yourself and take the conversation to a deeper level. When you do this, you open yourself up many new opportunities, ranging from making a new networking connection to maybe even finding a new job.

Learn More on the Podcast

To learn more about mindsets and hear some of Noah’s great stories, check out his episode of the Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast here.