There are a lot of misconceptions out there about growth and growth coaching.

False growth mindsets surround us everywhere we turn. Some people worship growth like it’s everything—even when growing hurts us or others (think Enron or Bernie Madoff). Others are afraid of it or judge growth as evil (think of the Occupy Wall Street movement). While it can be debated whether growth is always good, what can’t be debated is how it feels when we grow personally.

Think now of how we feel when we get that raise, when we forgive a friend, when we win, or when we volunteer. Growing in the things that we care about is one of the deepest pleasures of being alive. And yet, too few of us experience the growth we long to have.

Here are three growth mindset mistakes we make that keep us from experiencing the growth we deeply crave in our lives

False Growth Mindset #1: Making Excuses Based On Past Success

We use previous growth as an excuse not to pursue future growth. This belief is one of the leading growth mindset mistakes experienced by all people, including high achievers.

In 2006, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck introduced the phrase “growth mindset” into the cultural zeitgeist as a necessary component of success. Since then, everyone has wanted to be the kind of person who has a growth mindset. Unfortunately, most people think they have a growth mindset, but they actually have what Carol calls a “false growth mindset.” This is a mismatch between the qualities a person thinks they have, but in reality, their attitudes and behavior indicate otherwise. We all have experienced this mindset in some areas of our lives, and in-depth assessments, combined with growth coaching, help us uncover where these falsehoods lie and address them, so they stop negatively impacting our performance.  

When high-performance individuals are exploring corporate coaching, it’s important to listen carefully to identify false growth signs. Frequently, these areas hide behind their strongest competencies. For example, our founder, Jason Jaggard, made that statement to a leader of a billion-dollar company who was exploring a growth coaching relationship with Novus Global, and this individual quickly responded that they weren’t sure if that was true of them. However, Jason knew this business leader’s most significant growth opportunity was hiding underneath their work ethic. Yes, this senior executive was a hard worker, but their work ethic needed improving. 

Through the questions asked, it was revealed that this person was avoiding learning how to delegate, avoiding learning how to terminate employees quickly and ethically, and avoiding growing their leadership confidence so that highly talented leaders would join the team and accomplish the expansion the company desired. This leader was working hard but hardly working, and their avoidance and unwillingness to admit to fear or laziness were holding them back.

Growth Coaching Question:

What growth mindset mistakes are you making? Where are you avoiding growing in your life because you feel like you don’t “need” to? What obstacles are keeping you from success? Cast a critical eye on all these areas:

  • Relationships 
  • Fitness
  • Finances
  • Spirituality
  • Leadership
  • Volunteering

False Growth Mindset #2: Thinking of Growth as Costs without Benefits

Photo of a suspension bridge leading into a forest

Another common growth mindset mistake is that people avoid growth, even those who don’t think they do. We avoid growth because change is often painful, and human beings prefer the pain of the known instead of the pain of the unknown—and growth creates a great deal of “unknowns.”

For example, we might avoid improving a relationship because it will involve the pain of confrontation, the pain of forgiveness, the pain of spending time or money on date nights or gifts, or couples’ therapy. 

We might avoid growing our finances because it could involve the pain of spending less to save, to invest more, or dealing with spending time reading books or finding someone to mentor us about money.

We avoid improving our fitness because it involves the discomfort of working out and spending time at the gym when we’d prefer to be relaxing on the couch and watching TV with a bag of chips or bowl of ice cream by our side.

Another Novus Global client owned and operated several nationally known companies, but he felt stuck. They had huge dreams of running dozens of successful organizations, and when asked what the sticking point was, they said, “I don’t have enough leaders. I need a leadership pipeline that I can trust to hand over all the ideas I have for companies.” 

After some probing to identify the false growth mindset, it was determined that fear of allocating time and money was strangling the leadership development pipeline. As part of the growth coaching partnership, the discussion would revolve around how carving out time and spending money now to hire a Chief of Staff would provide the benefits of more time and more money in the future. 

Because this client was fixated on the time and money it would cost in the present moment, they were reluctant to make the sacrifices that would earn them more time, more money, and more impact throughout the future. 

When it comes to growth, we often fall back on this false growth mindset and focus more on what it will cost us than what it’s going to give us. And this keeps us from taking the healthy risks that we need to grow.

Growth Coaching Exercise:

Think about the growth you’d like to see in your life if only it were painless to accomplish.

  • Step 1: Write down all the benefits making that change would bring to you and others.
  • Step 2: Write down how to make that change as enjoyable as possible to get those benefits.


False Growth Mindset #3: Thinking You Can Go It Alone

Photo of a person walking through a dense, green forest

Despite what Simon and Garfunkel sang, we are not rocks, and we are not islands. Trying to “tough it out” and make changes independent of others is another common growth mindset mistake that is unnecessary and not enjoyable. Instead, authentic, sustainable growth occurs by enrolling the support of an accountability partner or partners. This situation is where a growth coaching partnership can yield excellent results. Experienced executive coaches provide both the support and the challenge to make growth attainable and sustainable.

Two years ago, Jason Jaggard had been working with an amazing business leader when they indicated they considered themselves “the shiny object guy.” But at the time, they didn’t realize how perceiving one’s self image in such a way could be both professionally dangerous and personally changeable. It wasn’t long before Jason and his client had several conversations a month that involved some hard work involving identity and self-perception. 

Overcoming these false growth mindsets takes powerful commitments, support, and an occasional ass-kicking. Fast forward to the present, and this leader no longer self-identifies as the “shiny object guy.” Former employees have returned to the company after seeing how ditching bad habits, losing weight, and developing the discipline to focus on creativity and ideation have taken the business to the highest levels of success to date despite the 2020 global pandemic. 

This epic turn-around was possible because of the sustainable commitment of weekly coaching to address false growth mindsets. Change did not occur overnight, nor was it approached in a haphazard, aimless manner. Instead, the process was intentionally slow and thoughtful. We kept gradually adding weight onto the bar so that as time progressed, a new person who was capable of living authentically and fully emerged.

Growth Coaching Question:

What kind of sustainable support do you need to overcome growth mindset mistakes and achieve the kind of growth you want to make?

  • STEP 1: Which of the following people would you rely on for supporting your growth?
    • Friend
    • Mentor
    • Family
    • Colleague
    • Coach

  • STEP 2: If you selected “coach” as someone you would like to rely on to tackle your false growth mindsets, we would love to hear from you. 
    •  Together we can explore how an authentic coaching process could help you grow at an unprecedented rate.

Growth is one of the best parts of being alive.

At Novus Global and The Meta Performance Institute, we want people to enjoy the benefits of growth as much as possible. We want people to experience the thrill of growing in their relationships. The surprise at growing their finances beyond what they could have imagined. The discovery that they can have a bigger impact in the world than they think they are capable of, and in a wholly unique way. 

We want that for every leader on Earth.
We want that for every person on Earth.
We want that for you. 

Reach out to us today to get started.