Ep 13: Brilliance not required: Fatimah Williams

“You are so smart.” Most high achievers have heard others describe them this way since their youth. As a career transition professional, I wondered how being smart may be getting in the way of high achievers trying new interests, developing new skills sets and exploring career possibilities. I found a few answers in Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. 

Dweck challenges high achievers – and the people who educate and parent them – to rethink our praise for natural ability over continuous, dedicated effort. When we expect to be intrinsically good at a subject, methodology, or even a new job, we settle into a fixed mindset which can produce anxiety, feelings of personal inadequacy and even project abandonment — all because we don’t excel at a new area right from the start. 

In this quick solo episode, I dig deeper and discuss:

  • 4 ways to disrupt the fixed mindset so we can enjoy new pursuits and become more patient with our progress.
  • My personal experience with managing the disappointment of a reviewer’s stinging comment on one of my research fellowship applications. (It wasn’t pretty!)
  • Why graduate students and researchers, in particular, must embrace a growth mindset to achieve professional milestones. 
  • 2 key reasons for anyone starting a new career, leadership role, or a new job to tap into a growth mindset.

Listen to this episode and learn why brilliance is not a requirement for success. 

Books Mentioned:

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.



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