How to adopt a growth mindset from psychology of leadership expert Ryan Dohrn

Let’s face it. New ideas can be terrifying. Whether it is new faces across the negotiating table, evolving event technology or looming AI adoption, taking a risk is not something that comes naturally to many meeting professionals. That is why we dedicated our February Extraordinary Experience at The Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Las Colinas to innovation in all its forms.

Meeting professionals from across the country gathered in Irving, Texas, for our signature, boutique, vetted and luxury hosted-buyer experience and got a crash course in embracing innovative ideas.

Learn More: Find an Extraordinary Experience that Fits Your Schedule

10 Lessons for Adopting an Innovation Mindset

two men speaking to one another
Smart Meetings TV Correspondent speaking with Ryan Dohrn

One of the guides along the innovation journey was Emmy-winning business speaker and coach Ryan Dohrn. He worked as sales and marketing manager for ABC TV/Walt Disney Co. and was recognized by with the Best of the Web award for his business strategies. He shared 10 lessons for opening yourself up to growth and innovation.

“People are great at goal setting; they’re not so great and embracing a challenge and setting many goals to get to the bigger goal,” is how Dohrn explained the conundrum of why so many of us abandon our New Year’s resolutions by day 28. The following could make it easier to stay the course and incorporate new ideas into your life.

1. Break Big Goals into Mini Goals: “Innovators understand that many little goals are easier to reach than one big goal,” he explained. Just like a roller coaster, going up the ladder, building up those rungs is how you build momentum to get to the finish line.

2. Embrace Challenges: Another thing those with a growth mindset do differently is embrace challenges. They see problems as opportunities to improve. When something at an event fails, don’t just fix it, look for ways to prevent similar problems and share the improvement so others can learn from it as well.

Read More: Always Innovating: Mature Masters Meet Modern Challenges

3. Seek Out Criticism: These go-getters also seek out criticism. They are always looking for ways to improve by creating feedback loops beyond an email survey. “Feedback loops are mission-critical because you can’t grow if you don’t know,” said Dohrn.

4. Learn from the Success of Others: But you don’t just have to learn from your own successes and mistakes. You can also learn from the success of others. Move beyond the powerful emotion of jealousy and surround yourself with people who can help you raise your game.

5. Make the Effort: Then Dohrn dropped the bad news. Innovating takes work. “Quite honestly, nothing happens without effort,” he said. Think about this. There are 2,080 work hours in a year, according to the federal government. That probably means there are more than 4,000 in the work year of a meeting professional. But if it takes 10,000 hours to master a new skill, then If you start today, it is going to take years. “The good news is that you can start with 45 minutes a day and if you do that thing for 20 days, you will form a habit that will set you up for success.” The reason is that, like a roller coaster, the work comes in getting started and pushing up against the resistance of inertia and gravity, but once you reach the top of the hyperbolic curve, on the other side gravity kicks in in your favor and you reach weightlessness and your body in motion will tend to stay in motion unless something else knocks you off the tracks. “The secret to innovation is asking yourself how much time could I potentially commit to making a change in my life that’s going to benefit my life, my family and my business?” he shared.

6. Embrace the Why: Devoting effort to a goal will be easier to rally if you embrace the deeper “Why,” Dohrn explained. “One of the main reasons goals don’t get met and that people get stuck is that their why is super shallow.” Once you identify the why that you’re doing something, that is when it gets to be very meaningful, but often you have to drill down five layers deep to get to the underlying reason you are pursuing a goal. “Innovative people are really clear on why it is they’re doing what they’re doing,” he said.

7. Look for Opportunities to Do Better: Read about innovation, talk about it, practice it, surround yourself with ideas (say at a Smart Experience) to make innovation part of your mindset. “Always be looking to innovate and it will become a part of your life,” he said.

8. Change your Mindset: When you are always looking for ways to do things better, you can jump from invention to innovation, which is truly adopting the improvement. That starts with an open, inquiring mind.

9. Persist Through Obstacles: There will always be obstacles and if you can’t find a way around or over, you may have to go through and find a better solution on the other side.

10. Innovation is a Journey: “Better is not a destination. It’s a lot of little things that connect together to build something bigger. Look for the little moments of innovation and link those together to get to a point where the end makes sense to you.” Again, like a roller coaster, it’s not the thrill of the ride that gets the heart rate going; it’s anticipation of the launch and satisfaction of having completed the challenge. It’s about the journey.