You’re hearing the term Growth Mindset everywhere now – business, education, parenting, etc.

If you’re not familiar with it, the basic idea is that one is capable of stretching far beyond their comfort zone and perceived abilities through dedication, learning, hard work, resilience and a new and improved thought process regarding what they believe they’re truly capable of.

As a dad of a spunky and stubborn 2-and-a-half-year-old, my wife and I are constantly stressing the need to develop that growth mindset in our daughter. Instead of saying “Good job!”, we stress and reward what she did as part of the process that allowed her to be successful. This in turn, encourages her to focus on the processes needed to succeed, rather than the result of the work itself. Rather than just saying “Thank you!”, we stress exactly what we liked that she did – “Thank you for not hitting!” or “Thank you for helping clean up.”

You can encourage self-confidence and much more of this growth mindset within yourself, another or your kids by practicing daily affirmations and using phrases that point out specifics within the process. Whether they are items you are consistently telling yourself or another, or maybe they’re items you’ve taught them to say or a certain way to think about things, these positive affirmations and growth-mindset related phrases and chatter will build in them an appreciation and intrinsic drive that will keep them motivated long-term and constantly thirsty for self-growth and improvement.

The same goes for you reading this.

  • What are you consistently telling yourself on a daily basis?
  • Are you encouraging yourself and focusing on the process of the small steps toward being successful rather than dwelling on the end result or the ultimate goal?
  • Do you believe you are able to learn anything new and achieve greatness merely by putting more focus and energy toward it, working harder and being resilient?
  • Are you an action taker based on knowing you’ll develop the confidence along the way, rather than feeling you need to have it in the first place to get started?
  • Do you have a thirst for knowledge to be ever-improving, and understand that learning and success are lifelong journeys with no particular destination?
  • Do you see opportunities presented within challenges, rather than obstacles?
  • Do willingly accept and apply feedback to better yourself?
  • Are you able to venture out of your comfort zone to learn, knowing you will fail along the way?
  • Do you deep down believe you are confident, capable, beautiful, smart, hard working, etc.?

Here are 21 phrases you can use with your children (along with others and yourself) to help build positive self-esteem and a growth-oriented mindset, as well as show them you truly care. With all of these, be sure to be specific as possible by pointing out exactly how or why they displayed something:

  1. You make me smile when…(be specific).
  2. You’re so interesting because…
  3. I love how your mind works.
  4. I’m so grateful to have you.
  5. You are beautiful on the inside and out.
  6. You give the best hugs.
  7. I love when you…
  8. You’re so brave.
  9. (Be specific)…was such a kind thing to do.
  10. You have such great ideas like…
  11. I know you’re going to be successful because…
  12. You’re the kind of friend I wanted when I was your age.
  13. I appreciate you more than you know.
  14. I love how you never give up.
  15. I’m so happy when you’re around.
  16. There is no one quite like you.
  17. I love that I can rely on you.
  18. You are so easy to love.
  19. I can see your inner strength.
  20. You have some amazing gifts.
  21. I am so proud of you.

Want to know even MORE about growth mindset?