Grit, goal-setting, and a growth mindset: key principles for self-improvement
In today's post, Ignasi, Supply Excellence Team Lead, discusses the commonalities between his work at GetYourGuide and his training as a high-level non-professional runner.
I joined GetYourGuide 2 years ago as a Supply Operations Specialist. Over the past two years, I’ve grown quickly and am now leading a team as the Supply Excellence Team Lead. In addition to the time I invest in growing as a manager, I also invest my time training as a high-level non-professional runner. I started running at 16 and my development as a runner has been constant since then. After 11 years, I’m still improving! My career and running are my two passions, and I strongly believe it’s possible to combine an ambitious professional career and running at a highly competitive level. In fact, it is the same principles that have made me successful in both.
One principle clearly echoed in both of my passions is the importance of a growth mindset. A "growth mindset" is a concept put forth by psychologist Carol Dweck and is present when, “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.” When I read Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, I realized I recognized this mindset from the early days of my training.
Although I had no natural talent for running when I started, my first coach demonstrated a clear growth mindset and taught me I could improve as much as I wanted as long as I practiced. My talent as a runner was up to me to develop and was dependent upon the amount of time and effort I dedicated to the sport. He instilled this mindset in me, and now I try to do the same for my team when coaching them on their personal development. For example, even though some come from a linguistics background, they can still grow to be as good at analytics as they want to be as long as they put in the effort to learn.
Working with OKRs
My favorite aspect of running is the objectivity of how performance is measured: time against distance. There are no juries, no scores, and no wrong referee decisions. In my daily work at GetYourGuide, we aim to measure performance objectively using an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework. Working with OKRs, setting ambitious goals, and being measured according to these goals is something I am very accustomed to from my training. OKR planning prior to the start of each quarter is like the start of a season - very exciting. In fact, without challenging goals, I would find it difficult to have the commitment needed to go the extra mile at work or in practice. Then, at the end of the quarter or season, whether or not I achieved my goals or my team achieved each OKR, I come away with learnings that can be applied in the future.
In my time at GYG, I’ve also had the chance to read Angela Duckworth’s Grit. In this book she discusses the 4 components of grit: interest, practice, purpose, and hope. Throughout my experience in the workplace and training for a race, I have only been successful when I demonstrated passion, I practiced many hours, and I had the conviction I would improve.
In my work, there are stressful periods when I have a high volume of tasks and have to wait to see the results. This feels similar to the 7th kilometer of a 10k race, when I’m a few seconds off target and the finish line feels farther and farther away. These are the moments when I have to grit my teeth and keep going. The four components of grit make the difference between giving up and succeeding; they equip me with the resilience I need to keep giving 100%.
Using the same guiding principles in my work and training helps me continuously improve in both of my passions. Learnings I gain through one endeavor can always be applied to the other. Maintaining this duality in interests is only possible in a working environment like GYG, where health and passion are so valued. I receive consistent support from my managers and team to find space for my training and achieve my running goals.
My growth mindset, goal-setting, and grit recently helped me place third in the annual IKK BB Berliner Firmenlauf. This success was exciting for me, but the reaction of my colleagues was shocking. They were even happier than I was! The culture at GetYourGuide has helped me become a better manager and a better runner, and my community of colleagues cheered me on each step of the way.