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How you approach a challenge can hugely affect the outcome. A willingness to learn, change and grow can take you further in times of crises than technical know-how can, writes workplace performance and wellbeing specialist Andrew May.


When a big change comes along in our professional or personal lives, it comes with its own set of challenges – and potential opportunities. Although fitness facilities across the country have reopened, to differing degrees and with varying restrictions, the industry is operating in a different environment than existed pre-pandemic. 


As a fitness business owner in the days and months ahead, you’re going to be faced with a choice: do you stand still and hope for the best, or do you pursue active growth and take on this challenge as a chance to better yourself and your craft? 


A question regularly asked in the business world is whether IQ/intelligence or the right attitude is more important. Similarly, talent scouts in sports globally debate whether innate talent or attitude has a greater effect on outcomes. 


So, which is more important for success, in business, sport and life? Is it your intellect or skills, or is it the right attitude? I’d wager that flexibility, adaptability and a willingness to learn, change and grow will often take you further in times of crises than technical know-how can. Now, more than ever, a mindset geared towards growth and positivity is vital for business owners who want to succeed. 


Growth vs fixed: where’s your head at? 

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck and her team discovered that people’s core attitudes lead them to one of two mindsets: either a ‘growth’ or ‘fixed’. 


People with fixed mindsets believe that they are born with their abilities, intelligence and talents and cannot change them. People with growth mindsets, in contrast, believe that most things can be improved with additional training and/or effort. They typically outperform those with fixed mindsets – even if they have a lower IQ – because they embrace challenges and treat them as opportunities to learn something new. 


Success in life, it turns out, is closely linked to how you deal with challenges and setbacks. And developing a growth mindset is the best way to turn setbacks to your advantage and use them to improve. 



People with growth mindsets typically outperform those with fixed mindsets – even if they have a lower IQ – because they embrace challenges and treat them as opportunities to learn something new.


Developing a growth mindset 

The good news is that even if you naturally veer towards a fixed mindset, a growth mindset can be trained. In order to do so, you must consciously adopt some different approaches. 


1. Embrace challenges 

A challenge is an opportunity in different clothes. A growth mindset sees challenges as a chance to grow, learn, adapt and improve – not as a problem to ignore or fret over. 


2. Persist against setbacks 

Setbacks inevitably happen in life. How you react to them says a lot about you and has a big impact on your success. Instead of throwing in the towel when the going gets tough, get flexible, get creative and get going. 


3. See effort as a positive 

The more effort you put into something, the closer you get to being a master at it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your business success be. Start looking at the effort to learn and grow as a good thing – it means you are one day closer to your goals. 


4. Learn from feedback 

Critical feedback is crucial for becoming better – at anything. Work on receiving feedback with an open mind and a willingness to improve. Remind yourself that the feedback isn’t something to defend against, it’s something to learn from. 


5. Learn from others’ successes 

Bitterness and jealousy over others’ success are nothing but a waste of your own time and energy. Instead, try to learn from and be inspired by the success of those around you and use it to push yourself to greater heights.



Start looking at the effort to learn and grow as a good thing – it means you are one day closer to your goals.



Position yourself to prosper 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s more to weathering a crisis than just adopting a positive outlook and I’m very aware that many businesses in Australia right now are struggling due to no fault of their own. One of the biggest strategies to embrace when trying to nurture a growth mindset is focusing more time, more energy and more attention on what you can influence or change – and trying to let go of what you can’t. 


By approaching 2021 with a growth mindset instead of a fixed, static outlook, you’ll put yourself in the best position to not only get through the crisis in good shape, but to potentially learn, improve and grow from the experience. 





In his chat with The Fitness Industry Podcast, Andrew May discusses resilience, daily pause points, scar tissue and why we need to unplug in order to reconnect with ourselves.

Click here to listen to ‘Resilience, rubber backsides and the importance of disconnecting from tech’.




Andrew May

Andrew is a human performance strategist, CEO of StriveStronger and host of the NAB Business Fit Podcast, which is part of a free program to help SMEs and their staff become more resilient, transition to new ways of working and sustain physical and psychological wellbeing. Sign up at NAB Business Fit. /



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