Episode 113

Four Mindsets to Unlock Success with Ryan Gottfredson

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Ryan Gottfredson, Ph.D. is a cutting-edge leadership development consultant, author, trainer, and researcher. Ryan is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author of Success Mindsets: The Key to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership. He is also a leadership professor at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton.


  • Much of leadership research over the last 70 years has focused on what leaders need to do to be effective. But who a leader is – the being element – shapes everything that person does. And mindsets are foundational to our being.
  • Most people think of mindsets as the “way of thinking.” In reality, they are the neural connections in our brain that are effectively our circuit board for how we process information and make decisions.
  • The four mindset frameworks are 1. Fixed/Growth 2. Closed/Open 3. Prevention/Promotion 4. Inward/Outward
  • Fixed mindsets: Don’t believe you can change your talents, abilities, and intelligence. There are “haves” and “have nots.” The primary focus is on looking good.
  • Growth mindsets: Believe you can change and improve. The primary focus is on learning and growing.
  • Closed mindsets: Closed to the ideas and suggestions of others. “What I know is best.”
  • Open mindsets: Open to the ideas and suggestions of others. Leave some room for the possibility of being wrong.
  • Prevention mindset: Avoid problems so as not to lose.
  • Promotion mindset: Tackle problems so as to win. Have a destination and clear “why.”
  • Inward mindset: Sees others as just as important to self.
  • Outward mindset: Sees self as more important than others.


  • What is some lesson, saying, or experience that continues to influence your leadership to this day? How important it is to learn from failure.
  • Use three descriptors to finish this sentence: “A leader is…” growth-minded, open-minded, promotion-minded, and outward minded.
  • What is a question that leaders should be asking either themselves or others? Who am I being that their (the other person’s) eyes are not shining?
  • What book would you recommend to leaders? Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves by C. Terry Warner
  • If you could get every listener to start doing something THIS week to help them be a better leader, what would it be? Meditation.
  • As a general life principle, is it better to ask “why?” or “why not?” “Why not?” The “why not?” question leads to a brighter future than the “why?” question.



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Josh Friedeman

Josh Friedeman is a coach who works with organizations to improve their efficiency and revenue. Learn more about him and his guests on his two podcasts, "Business Bitcoinization" and "Life as Leadership." To explore working with Josh, visit friedemanleadership.com.