Author note: This is the second 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.
Personal growth is not a natural process for many people. It may be scary and difficult and be accompanied by a fear of failure. As I wrote in the February issue, growth doesn’t just happen. It requires intentional action to drive the consistency and effort required for real results. It also requires a true in-depth self-evaluation to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and interests. This month, we look at the next two laws that must be considered as you forge ahead on the path to growth.
Law 3: The Law of the Mirror
You must see value in yourself and add value to yourself. Many people never grow because they don’t believe that they have the potential. Without self-esteem, no action is ever taken to capitalize on the many presented possibilities for growth. In fact, negative self-talk is one of the most consistent barriers to growth. Everyone deals with it to varying degrees.
One of the most interesting examples of the power of self-belief is the story of the four-minute mile. In professional running, completing a mile run in under four minutes was a goal that athletes chased for decades. The first person to break this record was Roger Bannister in 1954. Since that time, hundreds of athletes have not only achieved this goal but also lowered the world record by nearly 17 seconds.
So what magically changed in 1954? With no advancements in technology, game-changing constraints or other outside factors, the only reason the four-minute mile mark was broken was because Bannister believed he could. And once athletes worldwide had proof of what was possible, they, too, believed in themselves to achieve the same.
Obviously, tremendous work is required to achieve this feat. Years of training and perfect conditions must coincide to make the extraordinary happen. But the question remains: What are we not achieving because we simply believe that we cannot?
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.” This is so true of many things, but especially is resonant in the snow and ice management industry. What separates those who are successful in blizzards and those who crumble at the thought? Although everyone has different skills, abilities and resources, the prevailing difference is the individual’s mindset.
To overcome self-limiting beliefs, follow this four-step process to arrive at empowering beliefs:
- Identify a limiting belief that you want to change.
- Determine how that belief limits you.
- Decide how you want to act, feel or think.
- Create a “turn-around” statement that affirms or gives you the permission to act, feel or think differently.
It may be helpful to find an accountability partner or coach to assist with this process because he or she can identify self-limiting beliefs that are difficult for a person to see on their own. In addition, having someone to talk through the “why” behind a thought process can be extremely helpful when seeking growth.
Law 4: The Law of Reflection
Learning to pause allows growth to catch up with you. Especially in today’s world, it seems like nobody takes time to stop and reflect. This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make because it leads to poor self-awareness. There is power in “pausing” life and taking time to simply reflect.
Every experience we have is an opportunity to learn. Yet if experiences aren’t considered, those learning opportunities are lost and growth will be slowed. Pausing takes intentional time, ideally on a regular basis, to consider one’s experiences and expand their thinking.
When I began selling snow contracts, one of the ways I accelerated my growth was to actually map out conversations. I would take notes and create a script of what I said and the prospect said, line by line. When I finished the call, I would consider the outcome and then study the map I had created. By reflecting on what I liked and disliked, I was able to quickly and efficiently hone my skills to produce better results.
There are four I’s to consider when pausing:
- Investigation – Find real meaning in each experience by truly figuring them out.
- Incubation – Allow thoughts to grow to their full potential and eliminate in-the-moment biases.
- Illumination – Place value on your experiences and performance
to achieve an “aha” moment.
- Illustration – Expand your experiences into teachable lessons beyond just the baseline thoughts.
This law of growth may seem as if it lacks action. The truth is that engaging in introspection like this is so rare that many people don’t understand the value. As time-consuming and seemingly tedious as it is, seeking to know oneself is the key to unlocking potential. This week, schedule some time to pause and reflect to experience the value of this law.
Discover the driving forces
The heart of good reflection is asking good questions. “Why” questions bring insight to experiences. The best way to get good at asking questions is to practice. Here are some great starter questions:
- What is my biggest asset (usually a mental trait)?
- What is my biggest liability (usually an attitude or habit)?
- What is my highest high (emotional response to life)?
- What is my lowest low (emotional response to life)?
- What is my most worthwhile emotion (that drives the most success)?
- What is my least worthwhile emotion (that limits the most success)?
- What is my best habit (that enables success)?
- What is my worst habit (that prevents success)?
- What is most fulfilling to me (that I am most passionate about)?
- What is my most prized possession (trait, achievement, or thing)?
Neal Glatt, CSP, ASM does Business Development for Case Snow Management, Inc. He is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Speaker and Trainer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.