The mindset revolution

Higher Up: The mindset revolution

Why it’s essential to adopt a growth culture in our daily life and how sports clubs can help with this.

We live in a world where 24 hours is not enough time to do all of what we wish to. At the same time, one of the biggest priorities in a modern world society is convenience.

We seek convenience in all aspects of life. This applies to parenting as well. 

One of the consequences in parenting is that we tend to save time by unconsciously doing things for our kids, or make decisions for them. Sometimes without them needing our assistance.

We don’t realize that, by doing this, we are pushing them away from their "learning zone" right back into safety and comfort.

Stepping out of the comfort zone aids our youth to learn how to handle difficulties and challenges. It also helps them to deal with emotions and helps to avoid developing a fear of failure/mistakes. 

The school system seems to have a tendency to protect students from stress and challenges as well. The school system tries to work with the youth's mindset and confidence, in reality, it’s not happening. It’s hard to tell students that it is good to make mistakes as a tool to learn, and at the same time, evaluate them. 

As coaches, we can see that those consequences are even more noticeable in sports where parents behave the same way. The critical ability of successful people is to push through challenges and welcome mistakes as learning opportunities.

When young athletes make mistakes, emotions are overpowering their mind and body. They step into a fear and discomfort zone, which can be unpleasant for them and parents seeing this. However, the growth in this situation is exponential. And, in the long term, the confidence acquired in solving these difficult moments makes the athlete understand where their full potential can take them.

With all this, the best and perhaps the only way to teach children why mistakes are good is through sports. However, sports clubs, in our convenience minded world, are mainly becoming babysitting facilitators. The clubs are organised to accommodate this need and the facilities, coaches and staff are not optimally prepared to help develop athletes in all aspects, especially mindset. Youth sports organisations, being mainly volunteer-based, have hard times helping with this, and they can’t find the energy to change it.

The other wrong culture we can find in sports organisations is the one focusing only on winning, not as a result of development. This becomes a handicap for those athletes who will not necessarily become professional. Only 1% of young athletes will achieve it, so how do we make sure that the other 99% can apply the sports culture in their daily life

These are the challenges we are facing and the one we propose to solve.

The sports culture we are referring to is what we call “growth culture” where:

The main priority is development

Youngsters learn never to give up

The fastest way to learn is stepping out of the comfort zone

You can be your true self

Feedback is a common practice welcome by everyone

Promoting mistakes as a way of learning is a common practice

An important point to understand in a growth culture is to differentiate between ‘good mistakes’ (a.k.a learning opportunities) and ‘bad mistakes’. ‘Good mistakes’ (any mistakes that are the outcome of effort) is the first step towards new learnings. We need to acknowledge emotions and use them as an energy source for performance. At that moment, a better link between emotions and rational thinking develops, and we learn how to handle similar situations in the future. On the other hand, the outcome of a ‘bad mistake’ (coming out of lack of effort or bad attitude), is frustration, regrets and the need to find excuses. 

Athletes growing up in sports organisations following the growth culture will become confident individuals. They will push their limits, so they become the best in whatever they choose to do in life. 

To consolidate this culture in the whole organisation, it’s crucial that everyone is fully aligned and that they all start living according to it. The entire concept works by creating habits, so when young athletes develop a “growth culture” they acquire these habits and apply them to all aspects of life.

Higher Up helps sports organisations to define and deploy their “growth culture” based on their organisational vision. We help design the right structure and communication plan to support this culture. The result of it is more robust member engagement, sense of belonging and loyalty to the club. Coaches’ development makes them realise how the result of their work has a deeper impact, so their motivation and commitment also grows.

But the ones who become the strongest promoters of these initiatives are the parents as they see the maturity level that the young athletes achieve and their ability to solve problems by themselves.