Intentional Personal Growth: 4 Ways to Take Your Next Best Step Toward a Life of Significance
By Maxwell Leadership | August 16, 2022
As simple as it sounds, the only thing you need to do to achieve significance is to be intentional about it. And to do that, all you need to do is start. Every major accomplishment starts with a first step, but sometimes, that’s the hardest step to take.
In his book 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John C. Maxwell starts with the Law of Intentionality: Growth doesn’t just happen. In other words, we don’t improve just by living.
Personal growth doesn’t just happen.
If you want to maximize your potential to not only achieve success, but also lead powerful, positive change in yourself and others, you have to do much more than experience life and hope you learn what you need along the way. Rather, you have to seize the opportunity to grow as if your future depends on it—because it does.
So how do we take that intentional first step?Depending on where you are in your career, success, and level of influence, there are several ways you can jumpstart this transition to becoming more intentional about your personal growth.
Here are four of them, and if you start with anyone of these steps, you’ll be well on your way down your personal growth path toward a life of significance.
ASK THE BIG QUESTIONS
So often we start with questions that are too small. We limit our potential by asking “How long will this take?” instead of “How far can I go?” It’s questions like the second one that you need to be asking yourself now. Questions like “Who do I want to become?” and “What legacy do I want to leave?” You likely won’t have a full answer, and if you do, your answer might change along the way as you expand your understanding of yourself and others.
But if you don’t start asking the big questions now, you’ll have trouble defining your direction, and you’ll never start the journey.
DO IT NOW
You may be in a place where you’ve started to answer the big questions, but what you’re lacking now is a sense of urgency. One of the greatest barriers you face in this moment is the idea that your growth can wait, that you can make intentional personal growth a priority later.
The word “later” is one of those dream-killers, one of the countless obstacles we put up to derail our chances of success and ultimately becoming the people we were born to be.
So why do we do this to ourselves?
Because the uncharted path of growth is full of uncertainty, and it’s easier to stay in the realm of the familiar. If you’ve already started asking the big questions, don’t stop now. Start finding ways to create a sense of urgency around your growth. It could be anything from giving yourself deadlines to waking up every day with the mantra “Do it now.” Whatever it is, don’t wait until “later.”
FACE THE FEAR FACTOR
Fear is a huge factor in our success, and how we choose to grapple with our fears will determine our ability to grow past them. There are lots of fears that impact our growth:
Fear of failure
Fear of the unknown and lack of security, financial or otherwise
Fear of what others will think or do
Fear that your success will alienate others
Whether you’re facing one of these fears or something else entirely, you’re not alone. We all have fears. But the good news is, we also have faith. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have dreams! So, the question now is, which emotion will you allow to be stronger: your fear or your faith in yourself?
PULL YOURSELF OUT OF THE ACCIDENTAL GROWTH RUT
We all get into growth ruts. You might have been in a good growth mode and then just stalled. Maybe you got into a routine, and it became an easy place to stay so you didn’t try to break out of it—even if it started to lead you down the wrong path. You may have still been learning, but it was the result of happenstance, not intentionality.
If this sounds like you, take a moment to compare the differences between accidental growth and intentional growth and then take the steps you need to switch back to an intentional growth mode.
Accidental Growth . . .
plans to start “later”
learns only from mistakes
depends on good luck
quits early and often
falls into bad habits
plays it safe
thinks like a victim
relies on talent
stops learning once a goal is reached
Intentional Growth . . .
insists on starting today
often learns before mistakes
relies on hard work
perseveres long and hard
fights for good habits
thinks like a learner
relies on character
never stops learning
Remember, growth doesn’t just happen. And the sooner you start taking steps to be more intentional in your growth, the better off you’ll be. The beauty of growth is that it compounds and accelerates as long as you stay intentional about it. Once you’ve started to lead a life of intentional personal growth, success and ultimately, significance, are always within reach.
Is there a specific area of your life you want to improve as part of your personal growth goals?
We have you covered. With C.L.E.A.R. by Maxwell Leadership®, you can join a community of people just like you who are focused on their personal growth and be mentored by our leadership experts and C.L.E.A.R. Guides to five lanes of growth: Communication, Leadership, Equipping, Attitude, and Relationships. Download our free app today to take your personal growth resources with you wherever you go!