There was a group of tourists visiting a small village in Europe. They walked by an old man sitting on a wooden fence. One of the tourists asked, “Were there any great people born in this village?” The old man replied, “Nope. Just babies!”
This story raises an important point. Growth takes time. It is a process. It must be intentional. It’s never accidental. And growth is a major purpose for being alive. It’s a natural phenomena, so when growth ceases, then life loses its intent. The result? We lose vitality.
“The moment your past becomes more exciting than your future is the day you start to die.” Coach John Wooden
No one exceeds beyond their wildest expectations unless they begin with some –well —wild expectations! And everyone gets stuck. But the people who grow do not stay stuck.
You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.
When people are intentional in their growth, several things happen.
- They realize a success they would not in any other way.
- They understand that development and growth is a personal choice.
- They know it is an essential practice that will bring out the best in their people.
If you want them to be the best, then help them be better.
Organizations can get good at training. Training focuses on a specific outcome that you would like to see happen. Growth goes deeper. Growth is about going to a new level of competency. It can include training, but it also involves mentoring, coaching, reading, and self-directed study.
One of the barriers to growth is the fast track mentality. People want everything—including growth—in an instant. Growth is not “just a search away.” Growth comes as we face life on a day-to-day basis. It’s not an overnighter.
It doesn’t happen in a day, but it does happen daily.
When I was doing my graduate work one of my professors said to my cohort group, “it will take 15-20 years for your experience to catch up to your education.” I wrote that down, but didn’t really understand it at the time. I do now!
Everything has a price. When it comes to growth it means to fully embrace change. There is usually pain involved. That’s why we use the phrase, growing pains.
- Growing intellectually includes pain.
- Growing emotionally includes pain.
- Growing physically includes pain. (If you work out you know this!)
Spiritual growth comes when we embrace pain in its totality. We go deeper and integrate fully. It goes beyond alignment all the way to attunement, i.e. not just cognitively, but also emotionally.
And that happens in the reflection lane, not the fast lane.
A part of growth is accepting change. And change is about embracing opportunity. It’s living life to the fullest. It is a welcoming of growth that will make you extraordinary—someone you have always wanted to be. You focus on what’s truly important to you.
Do not get numbed by busyness and miss the point of your work, your career, your relationships – i.e. your life.
“I’ve seen many people who are magnificent at getting unimportant things done. They have an impressive record of achievement on trivial matters.” Peter Drucker
Growth is not for sissies. It can include pain and loss. Moving forward often involves jettisoning something else – usually the past that highlights regrets. When you throw something overboard, remember that something better is yet to come.
Nothing – including you – stands still. If you’re not moving forward, you are moving backward. It’s a principle in this world that describes the universe itself—that which does not expand, contracts. You are either getting better or getting worse.
Growth is a process.
- The mighty oak was once a small nut.
- That 100 foot pine was a seed blowing in the wind.
- Albert Einstein was a misunderstood child.
- Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone.
At times you might feel like you are dying. At that moment realize a new life is being born in you. Adversity doesn’t stop your growth. It often propels you into a new dimension of awareness that is broadening your perspective and increasing your influence.
Don’t run from it. Embrace it.
What are your thoughts on growth? How do you approach it?