Difference Between Fixed And Growth Mindset, And Why It Matters

When it comes to the mindset you have as a freelancer, a few things are as useful to understand as Carole Dweck’s idea of a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

Whether it was client work drying up during the pandemic, hitting outrageous deadlines, or dealing with tricky clients, you’re unlikely to get very far as a freelancer if you’re not adaptable and up for a challenge.

We can’t control all of the circumstances we face, so you need to be flexible in how you approach work and your career – and that’s where your mindset plays a crucial role.

Table of contents:

  1. What’s the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset?
  2. Changing the way you think
  3. Freelance Bootcamp mindset module
  4. Related articles

What’s the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset?

Basically, some people believe that they are born with certain skills and abilities and they cannot change them. Maybe they’ve always been bad at maths, or public speaking. They accept that that’s simply the way things are.

This is called a fixed mindset – it is deeply limiting because it closes down opportunities for growth and development.

It essentially says that everything is pre-determined and so there is no point in trying to improve. 

It doesn’t have to be like that, however.

As Sönke Ahrens says in How to Take Smart Notes:

“Seeking feedback, not avoiding it, is the first virtue of anyone who wants to learn, or in the more general terms of psychologist Carol Dweck, to grow.” 

Sönke Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes

According to Dweck, the alternative to this type of fixed mindset is a growth mindset.

The idea of a growth mindset is that you can improve, change things and get better. With this kind of mindset, you will actively seek out constructive feedback, and be looking to learn whenever you can. 

As a freelancer, you need to be constantly looking for ways to grow and improve. Whether it’s picking up new skills in business, or growing your abilities in your business niche, a growth mindset will keep you sharp.

It will help you to be kinder to yourself and know that you’re on a journey of improvement, and you’re not yet the finished product.

Dweck links having a growth mindset with success. It’s hard to be successful if you never challenge or push yourself to be better.

The most successful people tend to be curious and look for advice, ideas and inspiration wherever they can find it. 

Changing the way you think

I think most creative freelancers face self-doubt, and face the problem of their own minds trying to sabotage them.

So how can you spot these patterns and account for them?

Look out for two simple words. ‘I am.’

These two words are not flexible or adaptable at all. Instead, they are fixed and immovable. They are the voice of the fixed mindset.

‘I am’ is a powerful statement that reveals exactly how you think about yourself deep down.

Catch yourself next time you use the words ‘I am’ and see whether there is a limiting belief there that could be changed. A belief that you could work on to get better at.

Maybe you often say:

  • “I am bad at sales”
  • “I am so unproductive”
  • “Business side of freelancing is something I am bad at”
  • “I am disorganised”

If you have a growth mindset, you can view yourself in a different way. There are opportunities to tackle these issues and improve, rather than giving yourself the get-out-of-jail-free card of just giving up and surrendering to the challenge.

Of course, you are naturally likely to be better at some things than others, but to dismiss them with a fixed mindset is never going to be the best approach realistically. 

The benefits of approaching the world and your freelance career with this kind of focus on growth and curiosity are one of the most positive things you can do for your business and your life.

We have an entire module dedicated to mindset in our Freelance Bootcamp!

We know exactly how important it is to have a strong, growth mindset, whether you are at the start of your freelancing journey or you’ve been a freelancer for a while.

That’s why we have dedicated an entire module in our Freelance Bootcamp to help you build and cultivate a rock-solid mindset for success. To sample it, we’ve unlocked a lesson on why mindset matters and you can watch it for free.

What do you think, do you have a growth mindset or do you have a fixed mindset? Let us know in the comments!

Until next time,


Managing Freelancing Stress: How to Deal With Stressful Situations And Decisions
The Most Important Stoic Lesson for Freelancers
Is the Voice in Your Head Holding You Back?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let’s connect on social media!