How to Shift Your Mindset For Engineering Career Success

How to Shift Your Mindset For Engineering Career Success

“Changing your mindset may change the situation.” – Lisa Rusczyk

Our mindsets have a massive impact that can either affect our lives positively or negatively, so cultivating a strong mindset is something you want to take seriously.

Doing so will impact your relationships, promotions, career opportunities, and so much more.

The Four Mindsets

A friend of mine, Ryan Gottfredson, does a lot of research on different mindsets and has identified four mindsets that we can be aware of and improve:

Inward – Outward | This mindset is concerned about how we perceive others. Are we more inward-looking? Do we perceive others as people? Or do we see others as objects?

Fixed – Growth | Thanks to Carol Dweck‘s work, people are perhaps most familiar with this approach. Do you see yourself and others with fixed traits, or the ability to grow and develop over time?

Closed – Open | This mindset is about how receptive you are to feedback, fresh perspectives, and unexpected things.

Prevention – Promotion | Are you more concerned with preventing loss or failure, or trying to find the advantages and opportunities?

This is just a brief overview, but changing one’s mindset can occasionally be a painful and challenging process.

The Process of Mindset Transformation

To shift our mindsets requires us to change. 

Step 1 | Unconscious-Incompetence – This is where we all start. We are unaware of what needs to change, so this is where we need to gain awareness.  We need to have this “aha!” moment of awareness if we don’t know how much change needs to be made. Perhaps by taking a mindset test or getting input from someone who can notice characteristics about you that are difficult for you to recognize on your own. The key is to be conscious of your situation and take action to change them.

Step 2 and 3 | Conscious-Incompetence to Conscious-Competence – This is where the transformation process is truly painful and uncomfortable. You are going through a difficult learning process. It requires a lot of work for our brains to develop new neural connections that we are trying to strengthen, but we’re usually fighting against our previous mindsets. Eventually, these neural connections and mindsets can grow to be more the “default way” of thinking and acting in the world.

Step 4 | Unconscious-Competence  – This is where we use the term “mastery.” The new mindset and identity becomes who you are and your natural way of being. Things “slow down” for you and you make better decisions.  

The Great Challenge of Mindset

We often fail to recognize the true nature of our own mindsets. We can trick ourselves into believing what we see, think, and perceive as always being true. Many people frequently mistakenly believe that their mindsets are more positive than they actually are. Although we may participate in assessments and similar activities, we often require assistance and viewpoints from others.

Be willing to explore your own mindsets and become aware of the changes you can make.

Actions to Improve Your Mindsets

Meditate – Research has shown that the power of meditation is a way to improve your mindset. For me, my favorite meditation app to use is the Calm app. There are plenty of other options out there for guided meditations if that’s what you need. 

Another option is to simply sit quietly and pay attention to your breathing for a while. Spending time in quiet reflection will help you become more self-aware of yourself and help you generate and consider the mindsets you want to cultivate.

Get feedback from others – Talk to five or more people that know you well. This can be family, close friends, co-workers, bosses, or others. How would they characterize your mindsets? What do they appreciate about you? How can you improve and be more helpful to them? Be open to these conversations and seek to find some blind spots that you’re unaware of right now.

Journal – Journaling is one of the best tools to look back on a day or prepare for a day. It is extremely helpful to evaluate what you’ve been up to and what course of action you can take when you will be in a similar situation in the future.

These are only a few suggestions. Just identify one thing you will do differently to understand and improve your mindset. Use the SMART goal framework to declare your commitment. Consistency and dedication are key. Changing our mindsets is something we pursue throughout our lives.

A mindset shift doesn’t come overnight, but is worth pursuing. If this is something you want to get serious about, I would be happy to assist you in developing your mindsets so that you can succeed more in both your personal and professional life.

Watch more in the video below:

Accelerate Your Career

If you’re ready to accelerate your career and leadership further and want some help doing it, here are a few ways I can help when you’re ready:

  1. Watch a FREE Engineering Career Masterclass – the 4 Keys to Intentional Engineering Career Transitions
  2. Enroll in the Engineering Career Accelerator – the exact system that hundreds of engineers have used to go from confused to thriving in their careers.
  3. Schedule a free call with me to talk about getting personalized 1:1 and group support on your goals.