The Mindset of Success

Summary Written by Justin Gasbarre
"There is a key to success, and that key is in your head."

- The Mindset of Success, page 15

The Big Idea

The Obstacle to Success

"Mindset starts with ambition because our potential is limited by our ambition."- The Mindset of Success, page 17

Truly great leaders always seem to have a different outlook on business, relationships, challenges and life in general. They imagine, create and are able to act on and execute those visions. How exactly do they do that?

Author Jo Owen would suggest that at the foundation of this greatness is in their ability to think and dream differently than the masses. Owen says if you’re able to think and aspire differently, inherently you will act differently which puts you in a position to succeed.

The real obstacle to success lies in our own heads and the sooner we recognize that, the quicker we’ll position ourselves to circumvent it. There are always opportunities out there to be capitalized on and most people understand that fact. The difference between elite, successful people is that when those opportunities present themselves, they don’t just ignore them and continue moving through life thinking that’s for someone else. They recognize the opportunity, envision its potential and then, most importantly, act and execute upon it.

When you aspire to be great, you will constantly be looking for that opportunity to show the world your potential and ability but it all starts with that initial desire and ambition.

Insight #1

Dare to Act

"Chasing your dreams takes courage."- The Mindset of Success, page 49

During Owen’s research for this book, courage was the leadership quality that was repeatedly picked by the leadership panel as being vital to success. Think about it this way: early on in human history, courage was proven by overcoming physical threats (animals, climate, opposing tribes, etc.). In today’s business world, that’s not so much the case. Today’s courage comes by taking risks that effect the success of the company, the return to its shareholders, the livelihood of its employees and ultimately the personal reputation of the leader.

The question then becomes how do we exercise this “courage muscle” to be able to take on and handle the pressure and stress that comes along with risk in business today? The answer is actually quite simple Owen says. “Deep training and lots of practice trumps fear every time”. There’s a great example in the book of a fire chief explaining how he trains his new recruits. “First things first… A brave fireman soon becomes a dead fireman”. Interesting statement to make but what he then explained was that after countless hours of deep training and practice, a fire that you or I would consider risky and dangerous is quite routine and relatively safe to the firefighters.

Jo Owen encourages us to learn to take increasing risk and challenge in small steps. Doing this over time will equip you with the skill and confidence to perform in any situation that you desire.

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Insight #2

Create the Right Context

"Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn and grow"- The Mindset of Success, page 39

Great leaders have this constant desire for growth, regardless of their situation. They see every task, job and interaction as an opportunity to learn, grow and develop. While that sounds easy enough, the growth mindset is requires an unending desire to be great. When looking at our careers, Owen has a five question test to help us determine if we are working in the right place for developing our skills and aspirations. They are:

  1. Am I learning and growing? You should be gaining the sort of experience and skills that you can use and reuse in the future that you want to make for yourself.
  2. Are there opportunities today and tomorrow? Are you in the right role with a supportive boss now, and can you see other opportunities on your journey of growth and development?
  3. Do I enjoy what I am doing? You only excel at what you enjoy. There is a reason for this: doing well takes time, effort and commitment.
  4. Are there good role models for me? We learn through experience, both our own and others.
  5. Can I find the right support?

These questions help us to take a step back and objectively evaluate if our current opportunity is one that will help propel us to where we want to be long term. Having that type of self-awareness does not come easy yet is a critical component of becoming a great leader.

This book is a great reminder that we all have the ability to be extremely successful already inside of us. The Mindset of Success provides a practical framework to follow to help its readers get out of their own way, become more self-aware and capitalize on their natural strengths and talents to be a successful person and leader.

Read the book

Get The Mindset of Success on Amazon.

Jo Owen

Jo Owen practices what he preaches as a leader. He has worked with over 80 of the best, and a couple of the worst, organisations in the world in a career which has crossed all the major continents and most industry sectors. He is a serial entrepreneur and founder of several successful start ups, including Teach First which is now one of the top graduate recruiters in the UK.

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