When you start thinking about what makes a successful company or person, the word "growth" should be up there on your list.
The type of growth most people picture and aim for looks a little bit like this: a straight, incremental line showing slow and steady achievement. While there's nothing wrong with that, mega-successful companies and people, such as Facebook and Oprah Winfrey, operate according to an exponential mindset to achieve even greater success.
Rather than thinking in terms of incremental growth, the ultra-successful aim for "hockey stick" growth – or increasingly bigger achievements at a faster rate. As Harvard Business Review put it, "The incremental mindset focuses on making something better, while the exponential mindset is makes something different. Incremental is satisfied with 10 percent. Exponential is out for 10X."
Whether it's personal development or starting a business, this is the type of positive mindset and goal-setting you'll want to emulate to take it to the next level. Here are five steps to using this mindset to increase your wealth and success:
We're often brighter and more talented than we give ourselves credit for. In fact, we discredit ourselves so often that it's become a legitimate psychological problem called Impostor Syndrome.
The reason many only achieve incremental growth is because they set their own sights too low and don't realize what they're capable of. That's why I have myself and my team at LexION Capital set "reach" goals. As the name suggests, we aim for radical improvement that seems just a little bit out of reach.
As Grant Cardone puts it, "You cannot get to the next phase of a project without a grander mind-set, more acceleration, and extra horsepower." For instance, rather than aiming to start a popular blog, set a goal for 100,000 readers in the next 3 months. What you believe is what you can achieve, and that all starts with setting a higher standard for yourself. Even if you don't reach 100 percent of your goal, you'll be surprised at the results.
"Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I've met people who don't want to try for fear of failing." —J.K. Rowling
Although this mindset deals with exponential growth, it doesn't mean that those who adopt it avoid slip-ups. In fact, it's the exact opposite. While the exponential mindset seems like a breeding ground for perceived failure, it really is just that the growth is happening at a faster and faster pace.
Google wouldn't have changed the internet as we know it without some failures along the way, and you won't achieve success without doing the same.
As IBM CEO Gini Rommety put it, "Growth and comfort do not coexist."
If Apple didn't "think different," it would probably still be a two-man operation running out of a garage. The same holds true for any person that's afraid to challenge the status quo, no matter how brilliant they are.
The trick with the exponential mindset is to think of creating change, rather than just improvement. Improvement comes next to inspiration, and inspiration is the vehicle for change. When you take the initiative and take on an exponential mindset, the returns may seem unremarkable at first, but over time they will outperform the results you used to see.
"Never reduce a target. Instead, increase actions. When you start rethinking your targets, making up excuses, and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams!" — Grant Cardone
The initial moment of fear that accompanies this mindset comes when at first you don't see a lot of change. As with any exponential chart, the first part of the building phase looks a bit skimpy. Only later do we see a real bend and greater returns.
Whether it's through investing or with fitness, many people get impatient when they feel as if they aren't seeing immediate returns or progress. They then jump back to their normal goals. This is where patience is your greatest virtue.
Taking full advantage of this mindset requires you to think in terms of exponential growth rather than short-term gains or pleasure. For instance, you could spend your paycheck on some luxury clothes, or invest it and watch it grow through compound interest.
For starters, consider using a decision stream to see if your choice will have 10x growth down the line or just a temporary impact.
Whether you're looking to make a personal or professional change, the exponential mindset prepares you to face the necessary ambitious moments that arise. Start by thinking differently when faced with a task. Don't just start with the first natural, comfortable decision that comes to mind. Try re-thinking your process and reaching higher.
You'll be amazed at your eventual growth and success.
Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the chief investment officer and founder of LexION Alpha.
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