by Greg Burton
I got to City Diner about 7:30 this morning even though the meeting wasn’t supposed to begin until 8. I wanted to make sure I got the “big booth” so all of the students who were joining me would fit comfortably, enjoy breakfast and feel encouraged to talk about the book.
We have every incoming student read Mindset, the groundbreaking book by Carol Dweck. The CSL faculty and staff read it three years ago for a retreat and quickly decided we should not only require our students to read it but we would have small group discussions about it.
It would have been easier to have this meeting in the workroom or conference room but I have found the conversation is better in a more casual, even unfamiliar setting. It may seem like I am bribing them with breakfast and trying to be the “cool” professor but that’s not the reason I do this.
One of the things that makes the CSL unique is our focus on real-world experience, creating hands-on opportunities and authentic scenarios they can learn from. I probably have 4-6 breakfast meetings a month. I think most people in sport (and business) will tell you it’s a common and valued practice to have a productive, informative conversation with a client, partner or stakeholder before the “official” work day starts.
The breakfast meeting also illustrates a main point in Dweck’s book: effort. Among the many enlightening points she makes in her book, Dweck talks about the stigma of effortless success. In a fixed mindset, effort is only for people with deficiencies. In a fixed mindset, the truly gifted are not supposed to need effort. Their gifts & skills come naturally so effort would cast a shadow on their abilities. As Dweck explains, effort “…robs you of all your excuses.”
In a growth mindset, effort is the enemy of complacency. People with a growth mindset believe effort will take them beyond whatever success they have already achieved towards accomplishments they may have never imagined but realize are possible. In a growth mindset, the effort is inspired by both success and failure.
I am appreciative of my God-given gifts and talents, my natural ability. However, I recognize that is not enough. I have to work harder and exhibit more effort than many of my peers to accomplish my goals and meet the standard I have set for myself.
Today, that meant an early breakfast with 7 students, discussing a fascinating book and getting to know each of them better. It’s not always the case but today, breakfast was the most important meal of the day.