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How a Growth Mindset will Help You Live Your Purpose

The Hedgehog Concept comes from the Greek fable about the fox and the hedgehog: while the wily fox knows many things, the simple hedgehog only knows one thing, but that one knowledge bite is highly impactful in protecting itself against danger. -Jim Collins

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Often, when asked to choose between being a fox or being a hedgehog, most people will opt for the first rather than the latter. Perhaps because they value how fast, sleek, and cunning a fox is, compared to the slow, prickly, and plodding hedgehog. After all, a fox’s knowledge and interests are broader than a hedgehog’s.

But as Jim Collins states in his book ‘Good to Great’, simplicity helps create one clear yet powerful point of focus. If you’re constantly pursuing different ventures, starting new projects, abandoning half-finished ones, and taking on more than you can handle, not only will your attention be scattered, but you also won’t excel in any of those particular interests.

Multitasking is no longer a highly prized skill. On the contrary, it’s all about knowing what you’re good at and seeking to become great at it, to excel in that one domain rather than to try your hand at this thing then the next.

A hedgehog knows how to do one big thing perfectly, and that is to defend itself. This is why the fox’s every attempt to catch it fails. Finding your life’s purpose starts by identifying the one thing you do best. 

If you keep chasing many goals at the same time, you will achieve very little. But if you channel your energy and focus into one cohesive and unified goal, only then will you know true success. Adopting a growth mindset can help you cultivate your passion, and turn it into something you can get paid for.  

Both the hedgehog’s concept and the Japanese concept of Ikigai (loosely translated as purpose in life or reason to live) explain that living your purpose is that ideal point of intersection between what you love, what the world needs, what you excel at, and what you can be paid for.
3 Strategies to live your purpose with a growth mindset

No. 1: Set clear goals and take action

Reflect on what you’re passionate about at work, what makes you excited to get up in the morning, and what drives you to persevere.

Then think about what you can do better than anyone else you know, that one thing that is utterly and entirely yours. This is your purpose in life. But knowing your Ikigai or hedgehog’s concept is not enough.

If you want success, you need to work for it, you need to set up a plan and take action. You have to start by setting clear goals for what you want to achieve. With that said, simply being aware of where you want to end up is not sufficient on its own.

You also have to craft an action plan that will get you there. This is what will help you stay on track throughout your journey. That, and having a coach to guide you, inspire you, and help you develop a growth mindset. And that is where I come in! 

When you have a growth mindset, you look forward to challenges, despite how intimidating they may be. Moreover, you’re prepared to work for your goals, no matter how much time and effort it takes to accomplish them. 

No. 2: Focus on effort and practice for continuous improvement

“Good is the enemy of great. […] Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” ―Jim Collins

Living your true purpose means finding that one big thing you can do better than everybody else. That doesn’t mean you have to be the best at it already, but for you to be a hedgehog, you need to invest in continuous improvement to eventually excel at that one thing.

Naturally, this won’t happen overnight. You need to be intentional, let your enthusiasm fuel your motivation, and continuously focus on your personal growth, learning, and development. Remember, never settle for half-hearted efforts!

No. 3: Conquer your fears and persist through failure

Fear is the number one thing that holds us back from unlocking our potential and living our purpose.

Sometimes, the crippling anticipation of failure prevents us from even trying in the first place. This is all due to having a fixed mindset whereas we think that our abilities and skills must be innate, thus, unchangeable. 

In fact, mistakes and failures are inevitable, but it’s important that when we do fail we also remember to get right back up. This isn’t just about resilience, it’s also about learning from those mistakes and persisting to do and to become better.

In Conclusion

Living your purpose doesn’t have to be an unattainable dream. It’s not too good to be true either.

By identifying that sweet spot where your passion, what you’re great at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for intersect, you can then work on developing tangible goals to get you from where you currently are to where you want to be. And having a growth mindset will definitely help speed that process!

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