Personal Growth - Ways to Keep Going & Growing
Read Every Day - Make sure that every single day you read something that will expand your mind, the way you think about things, keep you abreast of what's going on around the world, for entertainment. Doesn't matter whether it's a book on subject matter related to your career, a novel, newspapers, magazines. Find the things you enjoy reading (even online or on one of the many devices you carry around!). The written word is the expression of ideas from other people and good quality reading will grow your mind and your perspective.
Remember You Can Learn From Everyone - Every single person we encounter, known or unknown, can teach us something, or a lot! Our children, our coworkers, our friends, our teachers, our students, our mentors, our mentees. The beautiful thing I've learned about teaching is that you always learn more from those with whom you interact than the knowledge you strive to impart to them. Try to look for what you can gain from every encounter and, at the end of every day, you will find yourself overflowing with interesting new nuggets of wisdom and appreciation. Here's a bonus: you can learn a great deal from people you never meet! Think of the people you admire most and find their blog or check out a speech of theirs on YouTube, etc. and draw in their wisdom.
Reach Out to Other Cultures - Travel, learn another language, attend a local cultural festival, expand your circle of friends. One of the greatest beauties in the world is the differences amongst us. By learning about other cultures, viewpoints and perspectives, you grow your own spheres of reference and understanding so much. I've consistently found that bigotry and hatred originate in fear and ignorance. Knock down the virtual walls that separate you from other types of people and enjoy the rich experiences to be had.
Don't Forget Your Physical Body & Health - An attorney friend of mine once shared with me about how we all rush about our entire lives striving to make more money, get more things, achieve higher positions, etc. only to run the risk that we reach later age and find our health is failing us and all the money in the world won't buy us our health back or grant us one more day beyond our body's capabilities given what we've taxed on them. Remember to eat a good diet, get plenty of exercise (no gym membership needed, exercise can be free!), learn to manage and control your stress (meditation and reflection), etc.
Set Some Stretch Goals - You don't set out on a trip without directions on how to get to your destination. Set stretch goals that will guide you through your life journey and ensure you accomplish some of the things that are important to you. Set some that are short term (weeks or months) and set longer goals that span several years. I believe it was Stephen Covey who taught "Begin with the end in mind." I always thought that also applied to setting goals in our lives. We need to be thinking about where we want to be going if we are going to plan out what it will take to get there. Once you've set your goals, keep them in front of you. Put up post-it notes to remind you, read articles or books that will teach you more about what you're trying to achieve, talk to other people about your progress and ask them to help hold you accountable.
Find Creative Ways to Express Yourself - Audition for a community theatre performance, take up painting, write a blog (or a book!), learn to play a musical instrument, take up a new hobby far afield to anything you've done before. There are countless ways to be creative. Your right brain needs exercise too and it's beneficial to your entire life when you learn to express yourself creatively.
Accept That You Have Room For Improvement - It's critical that we recognize we all have shortcomings. Take an inventory of your strengths and areas for improvement that you can self-identify. Get feedback from other people in your life and see if they see the same things. Chances are very high that you will experience what I have seen in some of the leadership courses I've conducted: what you think are your strengths and challenges will be at least partially different from what other people see in you. I've seen many times where people thought they were particularly strong at something only to learn other people saw it as one of their gaps. Even more importantly, what they may have identified as something they wanted to work on, other people believed that was one of their greatest traits. Identify your own, get feedback from others and than make a plan on how to improve where needed.
Continue Your Formal Education - It doesn't mean you need to pursue another degree if you've already completed one. If you haven't, it's never too late! But take a course at a local university that may even be outside your chosen career. Attend a seminar or workshop, personal or professional, that is of interest to you.
Blow Off Your Comfort Zone - Do something that's completely out of your comfort zone. I happen to know one of our readers decided to go skydiving and, despite great apprehension at first, she describes it as life-changing and something she has repeated. What might you be afraid of that you would like to overcome? Giving a speech? Traveling in a foreign country without a formal travel group? Changing careers? Moving to a new city? Every time you expand your comfort zone, you bring new and greater possibilities into your life.
Assume Leadership Roles Outside Of Your Job - Not everyone may have a leadership position at work, but there are always opportunities to lead in other parts of our lives. Assume a role in a non-profit foundation, at your child's school, at your religious home, in your homeowners association. Doesn't really matter what type of organization you choose, most likely all of them will offer you growth opportunities.
Create a Growth-Centric Environment - Figure out what inspires you and surround yourself with it. Avoid allowing negative people to sway your growth. Surround yourself with positive messaging that will encourage you and uplift you and those around you.
Remember The Past Is a Place of Reference & Not a Place of Residence - We all have ugly things in our past that hold us back. Strive to drop whatever it is that hurts you. Despite struggles in my own past, I have always lived with the firm conviction that THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!
Be of Service To Those Around You - Live a servant-focused life where you help others, show kindness to everyone regardless of their own situations or attitudes and even reach out to your enemies or those you think dislike you for whatever reasons. The list of opportunities for ensuring personal growth could continue with many more. Today, I just wanted to share enough to inspire you to WANT to grow. Thank you for all the ways you've helped me to grow...