Author note: This is the first in a year-long, seven-part series delving into personal growth and how to achieve your potential. Sharing from New York Times bestselling author John Maxwell’s “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” combined with my personal experience with his program, this series will lay the foundation for continuous and intentional growth. View other articles in the series under 'Related articles & video' at the end of the article.
2017: It’s the year that your big breakthrough can finally happen. Whatever personal or professional challenges that have hindered you can be overcome as you take your growth to the next level. To help achieve that, I’ll be writing a year-long, seven-part series on how to achieve your potential. Sharing from New York Times bestselling author John Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, combined with my personal experience with his program, this series will lay the foundation for continuous and intentional growth.
Achieving success, however personally defined, can only be continued through growth. Eventually, the skills and attitudes that one has will limit future achievement unless they are developed to overcome new obstacles. For most people, however, personal growth is not a natural process. They simply live day to day, observing and experiencing life, without ever realizing their full potential.
It’s understandable why one would never choose to grow. Growth is scary! There’s a major fear factor of failure when attempting new things. Growth is difficult! It takes lots of hard work to change. Most commonly, people assume that they will grow through their natural experiences.
Law 1: The Law of Intentionality
Growth doesn’t just happen. True growth requires intentional action to drive the consistency and effort required for real results. There are eight gaps that will stop growth from occurring:
- The Assumption Gap – I assume I will automatically grow.
- The Knowledge Gap – I don’t know how to grow.
- The Timing Gap – It’s not the right time to grow.
- The Mistake Gap – I am afraid of growing.
- The Perfection Gap - I have to find the best way before I can start growing.
- The Inspiration Gap – I don’t feel like growing.
- The Comparison Gap – Others are better than I am.
- The Expectation Gap – I thought it would be easier than this.
Which of these present the biggest challenge for your personal growth? These gaps are all negative thinking that will prevent real growth. Consider these counterpoints:
- The Assumption Gap – If growth is automatic, why haven’t you grown?
- The Knowledge Gap – Why should not knowing how to grow stop you from trying?
- The Timing Gap – If time is not invested now, how will growth ever occur?
- The Mistake Gap – If we don’t make mistakes, how will we learn?
- The Perfection Gap – If we can’t grow, how can a perfect plan be made?
- The Inspiration Gap – How will you achieve your potential if you don’t start?
- The Comparison Gap – How many people are truly the best in the world at something?
- The Expectation Gap – If we don’t work hard, what can be realistically achieved?
Find your motivation
Robert Schuller once asked: “What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?” If we are honest, this question will expose the inner desires for growth that we truly want to achieve. This is the big question that will fuel our motivation.
Growing is not a goal. It is a lifelong process that must start with being intentional. Real growth will require scheduling specific, timed and focused plans. If you don’t think you have time to grow, imagine what your life would look like if you had scheduled growth plans last year.
Law 2: The Law of Awareness
You must know yourself to grow yourself. You must know your strengths, weaknesses, interests, and opportunities. Knowing these will show where you are in life and help you compare to where you want to be.
When finding direction, there are three types of people:
- Confused: People who don’t know what they would like to do
- Frustrated: People who know what they want to do but don’t do it
- Fulfilled: People who know what they want to do and do it
Mapping your direction
Successful growth requires awareness, action and accountability. If you don’t know where you are and where you want to go, there is no direction. If you take no action, nothing will occur. And if you aren’t accountable, then following through in difficult times will not happen.
These two laws of growth will form the foundation for a continued, proven growth plan. Invest time to explore and apply them to your life to find real results. Learning them and living them are very different and will result in very different growth. Now is the time to start the path to achieving your potential in life.
What’s your passion?
Finding your passion and purpose in life is not necessarily a simple process. Start by asking the following:
- What would you like to do?
- What talents, skills and opportunities do you possess that support your desire?
- What are your motives for wanting to do it?
- What steps must you take (beginning today) to start doing what you want?
- What advice can you gather along the way?
- What will it cost in time, resources and sacrifice?
- Where do you need to grow most?
Answering these questions will help determine if you are in the right place, if your dreams are realistic, your true passions, your motives for your passion, what actions to take to achieve your passion, and what mentors or coaches you will need. From here, you can create actionable plans to begin the growth process.
Neal Glatt, CSP, ASM, is director of operations for Case Snow Management Inc. He is a John Maxwell team certified coach, speaker and trainer. Contact him at email@example.com.