Did You Do Your Best to…?

Accountability Growth mindset


Key Point: Let’s say you are on a flight and two flight attendants are serving you. One is full of amenity and joy, while the other is grumpy and treats you like you’re an imposition. Why? It’s essentially the same environment for both flight attendants. Or lets say you’re coaching two leaders. Using the same process with each, one excels and the other gives up. Why? Not surprisingly, the key difference is in the distinct approach of the individuals. There are two distinguishing characteristics that revolve around 1. Their mindsets, and 2. The questions they ask themselves to drive self-development.

1. Mindset is the discovery of world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck based on decades of research on achievement and success. It’s a simple idea that makes a huge difference. I have written about the importance of having a growth mindset before.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success, without effort. Dweck points out they’re wrong. A lot of Olympic athletes would confirm this assertion.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

2. The questions you ask yourself are more powerful and influential in driving self-development when they are active versus passive. As an example, “did you do your best to be happy today?” is an active question. “Are you happy today?” is a passive question. When we ask ourselves and answer active questions, we are more likely to learn and self develop. When we ask passive questions we can get seduced into relying on the environment to improve as a condition for us improving. (I referred to this in a past blog about my experience having a drink with super management guru Marshall Goldsmith). He’s continuing to do important research to further assess the validity of this premise.

Character Move:

  1. Honestly examine how much you have a growth mindset. Go to MindSet to test it. Work to nourish that growth mindset.
  2. Ask yourself the following core questions everyday. Did I do my best to be happy today? Did I do my best to live my life with meaning today? Did I do my best to improve relationships today?
  3. Add some additional “did I do my best?” questions that are personally most meaningful to you.
  4. Take action based on the answers to your questions and stay true to asking and following up on the answers everyday.

An active growth mindset in The Triangle,