“. . . reach into your ideal self with everything you have – because the vision and articulation of your ideal self is the first step to getting you closer to realizing it.” Charlie Harary
” . . . develop interesting parts of personality. Expand your identity through imagination, influence, and the application of personal strengths.” Richard W. Anton
There are numerous essential components of “personal growth,” “personal improvement,” and “personal development.” One fundamental overall objective is to create a renewed sense of “emotional stability.” Make sure that you understand what you need to grow personally and professionally. A few pathways we can explore that will help any of us to close in on that feeling include:
These are some of the most prevalent concerns across all persons of various cultures.
Below are a few favorite suggestions for personal growth.
Have a well-thought-out plan to become better. Don’t just be busy because hard work doesn’t guarantee success. Focus on growing personally, not only on goals! It’s hard to improve your circumstances if you’re unwilling to improve yourself.
Growth gap traps to avoid
- Assume you will automatically grow
- Be intentional about your growth; stop waiting to become the person you want to be and start being him or her
- Don’t know how to
- It’s time to learn the right lessons
- “it’s not the right time to begin” or must find the best way before you start
- There is a difference between deciding and doing: act immediately
- The longer you wait to do something, the more likely it won’t happen
- Get moving first if you want to see more of the way
- Afraid to make mistakes
- Growing is messy, and you will probably look foolish
- Get over your fear of mistakes and failures – welcome your mistakes
- Not inspired
- No matter how you feel, just do it
- Forget motivation – act yourself into feeling motivated
- Others are better than I am
- Great men are willing to share their ideas – you can only learn if others are ahead of you
- I thought it would be easier than this
- People take advantage of luck through preparation + opportunity + action.
1. Law of Intentionality
Intentional personal growth
- Think about “how far can you go?” NOT “how long will this take?” Make the most out of what you have been given.
- Do it now – say it 50 times day and night.
- Face your fears and have faith you will conquer them.
- Change from accidental to intentional growth – insist on starting today. Don’t wait for growth to come; follow-through.
- You must know yourself to grow yourself. Explore yourself as you explore growth – focus on your passion.
Three kinds of people
- People who don’t know what they would like to do – dabble and drift
- Those who know what they would like to do but don’t do it – frustrated
- People who know what they would like to do and do it – work in areas that move them closer to their purpose.
2. Law of Awareness
The first step towards change is awareness, then acceptance
How to find your passion and purpose
- Do you like what you’re doing now? Examine why
- What would you like to do?
- If you know your passion, you fulfill your potential; pay attention to what you love doing.
- Can you do what you would like to do?
- Make sure the desire you have matches your abilities.
- Do you know the difference between what you want and what you’re good at?
- They should match up.
- Do you know what drives you and gives you satisfaction?
- Make sure you are motivated by the work and not just the rewards of the work.
- Waste as little of your life as possible – discover then develop your uniqueness.
- Do you know why you want to do what you want to do?
- Provides a clear vision and look at your heart
- Do you know what to do so you can do what you want to do?
- Picture where you are and then where you want to be. Be conscious of your choices. You can’t win if you do not begin.
- Get accountability – make your goals public and track your progress.
- As you take action, you’ll attract like-minded people.
- Do you know people who do what you would like to do?
- Find people who do what you do excellently – be purposeful, reflective, and grateful.
- Mentee: Be teachable, be prepared, set agenda by asking great questions, show what you have learned, and be accountable
- Mentor: Add value, give advice, share resources – people, game plan, passion, feedback, encouragement, choices
- Should you do what you would like to do to them or with them
- Will you pay the price to do what you want to do?
- Owe it to yourself to make your days here count – things worth doing seldom come easy.
- When can you start doing what you want to do?
- Why not now? Start. Nobody ever got ready by waiting.
- What will it be like if you get to do what you want to do?
- It will be more difficult. There will be expectations of you – things will also be better than you ever imagined
3. Law of the Mirror
People don’t reach their potential because of low self-esteem.
Ask yourself: Do you like what you see in the mirror?
Recognize your value and begin to add value to yourself. When you invest in yourself, you’ll see more value in yourself (you are worth investing in). Don’t live your lives according to what people expect of you. Be more concerned about what you think of yourself – you don’t have to accept what people say you will be
Steps to build your self-image:
- Guard your self-talk: self-talk comes from our upbringing; why needlessly add to your problems with negative self-talk.
- Stop comparing yourself to others: you either become discouraged or proud; only compare yourself to you.
- Move beyond your limiting beliefs: believe you will be great; if you limit what you will do, you limit what you can do.
- Identify limiting belief
- Determine how it limits you
- Decide how you want to be
- Create a turnaround statement that restates who you want to be
- Add value to others: hard to feel bad about yourself if you do something good for someone else; also, people will value you more
- Do the right thing even though it is hard: be true to yourself and your values
- Practice a small discipline daily in a specific area of your life: apply this in an area in your life that seems overwhelming
- Celebrate small victories; “it’s good that I did that; it’s good for me.”
- Embrace a positive vision of your life
- Practice the one-word strategy: select one word to best describe you – what you focus on expands
- Take responsibility for your life
- Know that you matter.
Actions to Take:
- Make a list of your 100 best personal qualities: choose one word to best describe you
- Track your positive and negative self-talk
- Note different ways you add value to other people
4. Law of Reflection
Peter Drucker: follow effective action with quiet reflection to get even more effective action
- Stop, PAUSE and allow the lesson to catch up with us
- Always add value and exceed expectations
- Reflection turns experience into insight – evaluate your experience
- Pause with the intention to enrich reflection and learning
When you take time to pause:
- Investigate – all truths are easy to understand once you discover them
- Incubate – Reflect on your experience of life and let the ideas that come up simmer in your mind
- Illuminate – Focus on insights that are relevant to you
- Illustrate – Flesh out key ideas: everyone is looking but not seeing; ask yourself good questions
Personal Awareness Questions
- Know your biggest asset?
- What is my biggest liability?
- Remember your highest high?
- What is my lowest low?
- Access your most worthwhile emotion?
- What is my least worthwhile emotion?
- List your top 3 habits.
- What is my worst habit?
- Consider your most fulfilling habit?
- What do I prize most highly?
Ask yourself questions in the area you want to reflect on.
Personal growth questions
- Do I practice the 15 laws of growth?
- Which do I do best? Weakest?
- Am I growing daily?
- What am I doing to grow?
- How am I growing?
- What are the roadblocks?
- Am I passing it forward?
You won’t get far without a clear mission: What is your passion? What have you achieved? What are the shoulds that have followed you?
Have you created a place where you can reflect? Schedule time to pause and reflect
- The wise man questions himself, the fool others – ask yourself tough questions
6. Law of Environment
If you’re always at the head of the class, you are in the wrong class! Change your environment and move to a larger pond. Change depends on your choices. Impossible to grow without changing. Change your attitude.
Six choices to be in a better environment**
- Access your environment and why you want to change – change for the sake of change won’t help you
- What songs and ideas lift and speak to me?
- Recall experiences that lift me.
- What dreams inspire me?
- Remember who cares for and supports me.
- Change yourself and your environment: growth will be faster if you change both. This accelerates the chance for success. In a growth environment, people are ahead of me, and growth is modeled and accepted
- How do you get a poker hot? Put it next to the fire. Spend time with great people, books, and tapes
- Change who you spend your time with: people who you associate with are your reference group.
- Associate with expansive people further along in their growth journey than you – people who are positive, more successful, have integrity, and constantly growing.
- Find an accountability partner that desires your success and willing to help you
- Challenge yourself in your new environment: need to be intentional to find those growth opportunities.
- Create deadlines and make your goals public
- Look for one major growth opportunity every week – schedule a learning lunch with your mentor(s)
- Questions to ask:
- What are your strengths?
- Am I learning now?
- What do I need right now?
- Who have they met? What have they read? Things they’ve done that have helped?
- What haven’t I asked that I should have?
- Focus on the moment: the happiest moment is this moment. Don’t worry about the past or future since you can’t influence it directly.
- Move forward despite criticism: don’t wait, create the life you want. Whatever course you decide upon, someone will always tell you that you’re wrong. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to be your reality – make your own decisions.
Create a growth environment for others – growth should be encouraged, modeled, and expected.
1. Apply the law of environment: Are the following true?
- Others are ahead of me
- I am continually challenged
- The firm’s focus is forward
- The atmosphere is affirming
- I’m often out of my comfort zone
- I wake up excited
- Failure is not the enemy
- I see others are growing
- People around me desire change
- Positive growth is modeled and expected
2. Assess your personal growth needs:
- Are you in the right soil to grow in?
- Who do you know is better than you? Who is stretching you?
3. Set goals that challenge you and are beyond your current capabilities
7. Law of Design
To maximize growth, develop strategies.
Spend time reviewing your calendar and evaluate each entry – look at meetings, appointments, and other activities. Account for every waking hour in the previous years.
1. Life is very simple but keeping it that way is difficult – know your values and make key decisions based on those values to help you manage those decisions
- Can it be received personally?
- Easily repeat it.
- Can it be transferred strategically?
2. Designing your life is more important than designing your career – customize your growth
3. Life is not a dress rehearsal: Most successful execs say they should have taken charge of their life earlier – better health, more time with family and personal development, more fun, better career planning, and give more back
4. Multiply everything by 2 – important things in life take longer and cost more. Plan to take double the time you expected – infuse realism to your optimism.
Systems allow people to best leverage time, money, and other resources. Create and use systems to be efficient – capture the best thoughts and ideas you’ve come across. Look at your calendar and highlight the main events that help you target what you want.
Developing effective systems:
- Ask “what is the most valuable use of my time right now?” Use your response to shape the system you use. Identify when your prime productive time is.
- If you say yes too easily, create a screening system and maintain your priorities
- Effective systems include measurement. If you can’t measure it, you can’t understand it, you can’t control it, you can’t improve it. Measurement makes a difference
- Effective systems include application: need to start you doing something. What are you going to do? Need both plan and action.
- Effective systems employ organization – set your priorities and spend your time
- Effective systems promote consistency – if you want to succeed in the long run, be disciplined to follow through. Consistency is usually not exciting but the results can be very exciting.
Seek out principles that stand the test of time and customize approaches to best fit you. Whatever good things you build will end up building you. Are you designing strategies for your life?
Refine systems that will:
- Maximize your time
- Paint the big picture and ensure your values and priorities are consistent.
- Measure the outcomes
- Be biased towards action
- Organize yourself
- Be repeatable, simple, and straightforward
9. Law of the Ladder
Character growth determines the height of your personal success. Base business dealings on values and principles – use mastermind groups. Focus more on character than on competence.
Honesty is the characteristic that most enhances personal reputations – the need to trust and be honest with yourself.
- I will focus on being better on the inside than on the outside – what we do or neglect to do affects our lives. Before you can DO, you must BE.
- Follow the golden rule because people matter.
- Teach only what I believe because passion matters
- Value humility above all others because perspective matters. Everyone has weaknesses so admit to your weaknesses, be patient with other people’s weaknesses, and be open to feedback. Be teachable and willing to serve others because it’s not all about you. Be grateful because those who drink the water must remember those who dug the well.
- I will strive to finish well because faithfulness matters – live to the highest standard continually.
Pay attention to your potential more than to your success – be who you should be, not only where you want to be.
Access where your focus has been:
- How much did you spend on learning vs. material things?
- How much time are you spending to serve others?
10. Law of the Rubberband
Need to keep band stretched from where you are to where you want to be. Life begins at the end of our comfort zone. God’s gift to us is our potential, our gift to God is to develop it. Focus on building a legacy.
Remember that rubber bands are useful only when they are stretched.
- People rarely want to stretch – most people only use a fraction of their ability. Don’t settle for average in life (being top of the bottom is not an accomplishment).
- Settling for the status quo leads to dissatisfaction – have the courage to go outside of your comfort zone. Everyone has a dream but few pursue it – measure yourself against yourself.
- Stretching always requires change – “yesterday ended last night”. Your history is not your destiny.
- Stretching sets you apart from others – do the extra work and be excellent.
- Everything that ceases to struggle rapidly deteriorates – strive to be better tomorrow than you are today. “The greatest enemy of tomorrow’s success is today’s success.” (Drucker?)
- Stretching gives you a shot at significance – “a possibility is a hint from God, we must follow it.” Growth stops when you lose the tension from where you are and where you want to be.
Assess your stretch:
- Where have you stopped stretching?
- Continually reset intermediate-range goals – make barely within reach
11. Law of Tradeoffs
Need to give up some things you value to grow up.
We all make trade-offs in life: failures make bad tradeoffs, averages make few tradeoffs, and successfully make good tradeoffs. We don’t always get what we want but we always get what we choose.
When faced with a tradeoff:
- What are the pluses and minuses?
- Will I go through this change or GROW through this change?
When you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to make changes you’ve never done. Change is not easy but it can always be done – if we cannot change the situation, we can change ourselves.
Changing before you have to usually leads to gain. Changing after you have to usually leads to a loss. **
Tradeoffs are not irreversible. Make a u-turn. You cannot always make a new start but you can make a new end.
The higher you climb the harder the tradeoffs. Don’t use your success as an excuse to coast. The skills that got you here won’t get you there.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. No matter what we choose, it will change us. Not everything is worth trading. Create an environment that will prevent bad tradeoffs – for example, your significant other should have veto rights over your schedule.
- Trade-in financial security today for potential tomorrow: value opportunity over security because the only job security is personal development.
- Give up immediate gratification for personal growth: there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
- Up-grade the fast life for the good life: live in the place you belong, with the people you like, doing what you want on purpose. Create capacity in your life by delegating all the things you’re not the best at and work with people you like.
- The transition from security to significance: measure progress by significance. Make a difference, not just a living.
- Give up addition for multiplication: what can I do WITH others as opposed to FOR others. Equip other people – explore and develop your leadership skills.
Remember that you can’t do everything at once. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Move up and not down. Freedom at the top.
“all meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination” – Einstein
14. Law of Expansion
Potential within us is limitless – we usually create our own limits.
How to increase your thinking capacity**
1. Stop thinking MORE work and start thinking WHAT works. Choose a better strategy – hard work is not always the answer.
Questions to figure out what works:
- What am I required to do?
- What gives the greatest return?
2. Replace “can I?” with “how can I?” Give yourself a chance to overcome – what would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail? Test your limits
3. Stop thinking one door and start thinking many doors. Look for multiple answers. People need to act on their dream and they formulate the details NOT waiting for the secret formula to their dreams. Give yourself options – if you can change your thinking, you can change your life
4. Stop doing what you were doing before and do something new. A master doesn’t become a master overnight – apprentice, journeyman, master. Should I enjoy my life or expand it?
5. Stop doing what is expected and do more of what is not expected – help more, do more, give more – strive
6. Stop doing important things occasionally and start doing important things daily. Make your life a masterpiece. Thoreau: advance confidently in dreams – do the right thing always. “Thank you I notice” notes – make progress until the day you die
7. Believe that You can do it
Review your effectiveness:
- What takes you a long time?
- What changes do you need to make?
Plan a system to do what is important daily
- Choose and display the right attitudes
- Determine and Act on important priorities
- Know and follow healthy guidelines
- Communicate and care for family
- Practice and develop good thinking
- Make key proper commitments
- Earn and properly manage finances
- Deepen and live out faith
- Initiate and invest in solid relationships
- Plan for and model generosity
- Embrace and practice good values
- Seek and experience improvements
15. Law of Contribution
Growing yourself enables you to grow others. Help others because we are all one.
What good should I do today – what good did I do today? Model the right behavior for others – be a mentor for others. Be a river, not a reservoir. Give as your receive – abundance mindset.
Cultivate an attitude of contribution
- Be grateful – no one succeeds alone. There is no success without sacrifice. If we do succeed, then someone before us sacrificed for them.
- Put people first – tender with young, compassionate with aging, sympathetic with striving, tolerant of weak and strong.
- Don’t let stuff own you – haves, have-nots, have not paid for what they have – owning things doesn’t bring satisfaction. There is a time to acquire and a time to give it away. Give away valuable things to fight greed.
- Don’t let people own you – always give more than you receive and don’t keep score. Do this for everyone including your employer.
- Define success as sowing, not reaping.
- Focus on self-development NOT self-fulfillment – focus on how something helps you to serve others. Your talent is your responsibility.
- Keep growing to keep giving – play to win as opposed to playing not to lose. The greatest gift you can give to others is your own personal development – your life belongs to the community.
Put people first in your life – where are they on your list of goals?
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