Potential is one of the most wonderful words in any language. It looks forward with optimism. It is filled with hope. It promises success. It implies fulfillment. It hints at greatness. Potential is a word based on possibilities. Think about your potential as a human being and you get excited—at least, you should.
Working hard doesn’t guarantee success. And hope isn’t a strategy. How do you get better at what you do? How do you improve your relationships? How do you gain more depth and wisdom as a person? How do you gain insight? How do you overcome obstacles? Work harder? Work longer? Wait for things to get better?
The sooner you make the transition to becoming intentional about your personal growth, the better it will be for you, because growth compounds and accelerates if you remain intentional about it.
This blog post has been adapted from Dr. John Maxwell’s bestselling personal growth guidebook 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. For a comprehensive roadmap to accomplishing your personal growth goals, you can pick up a copy here.
Your Roadmap to Personal Growth and Development
Often, we find ourselves with the desire to grow, but paralyzed by a lack of direction. And in today’s busy, overcrowded product market, we might have a million voices sending us in as many different directions.
The most important step to take is the first one. Getting started is a necessary phase of every personal growth journey, but it can also be the most uncomfortable. Here is a 6-step quickstart guide to launching your personal growth journey.
1. MAKE A COMMITMENT TO INTENTIONALLY GROW.
Musician Bruce Springsteen commented, “A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become and start being the man you want to be.” No one improves by accident. Personal growth doesn’t just happen on its own. And once you’re done with your formal education, you must take complete ownership of the growth process, because nobody else will do it for you.
Fulfilling your potential begins at your decision. Once you’ve made up your mind to grow, you open the door to making it happen.
2. MAKE YOUR COMMITMENT PUBLIC.
When we are on a journey alone, we are much more likely to stray from the preplanned path. A private commitment is a powerless commitment – but a shared commitment becomes a strong commitment. When you tell others about what you intend to do, it puts pressure on you to keep working at it. You can request that specific individuals ask you about your progress. It’s similar to having a deadline to keep you moving.
3. IDENTIFY THE AREAS WHERE YOU’D LIKE TO GROW.
Personal growth requires intention, and intention requires focus. Funneling your effort into specific areas of improvement gives direction to your personal growth and allows your results to increase exponentially over time.
Pick between two and five areas where you’d like to grow. Five is a heavy commitment, but one is too singular. You should invest your time in at least one area of choice and at least one area of skill.
4. INVEST ONE HOUR A DAY IN YOUR AREAS OF GROWTH.
Remember: fulfilling your potential begins at your decision to grow, but it is a decision you must continue to make… and that includes weekends and holidays. Consistency compounds and creates growth-centered habits.
How should you spend this hour each day? Preparation, practice, reflection:
- Prepare to grow yourself: put yourself in the mindset of someone who is about to learn and progress.
- Practice something in your area of growth. They say that practice makes perfect, but “perfection” gives the illusion of an expiration date. Practice makes progress.
- Reflect on your investment. What went right, and why? What can you do better next time?
It is in this step that your commitment reveals itself. The fruit of everything good in life begins with a challenge. Everything worthwhile is uphill.
5. INVEST ONE HOUR A WEEK ON REFLECTION AND WRITING WHAT YOU’RE LEARNING.
Educator Peter Drucker said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
There are many different ways of growing and an infinite number of lessons to be learned in life. But there are some kinds of growth that come to us only if we are willing to stop, pause, and allow the lesson to catch up with us.
Dedicated reflection aids in growth, but if you don’t journal (yet), start with just jotting. A few captured thoughts each day results in a wealth of directional insights at the end of a week.
6. SHARE YOUR GROWTH WITH SOMEONE.
Every week, find someone to share your personal growth with. Community has the same effect on progress as it does on commitment, but sharing your growth with someone has the added benefit of encouraging the listener as well.
One word of caution: if your listener is happy for you, keep sharing; if they are not, start moving. Don’t ever spend time with people who aren’t thrilled with your progress. If you become intentional with your personal growth, you’ll outgrow almost everyone you know.
Have you made your commitment to personal growth?
Your growth is our top priority. Maxwell Leadership was founded so that you could be fully resourced to realize your full potential. The Maxwell Leadership app is free to download and power-packed with leadership lessons to fuel your development journey.