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Growth Is Intentional

“What are you doing?”, I asked my son as he stood looking intently at his reflection in the mirror. “I think I grew last night”, he replied. “I am sure you did, but I don’t think you will be able to see the results in the mirror”, I said. This was an actual conversation with my youngest son years ago. Now, my son was right. He did grow. It was automatic and required no effort whatsoever. He couldn’t see it, but it happened.

Unfortunately, as we become adults, we seem hang on to the assumption that our personal, spiritual and mental growth happens automatically like our physical growth did as a child. However, this growth doesn’t just happen. We don’t wake up one morning and “poof” we are a polished speaker. A leader to whom everyone turns for answers. Our businesses don’t miraculously quadruple overnight. John Maxwell calls this the Assumption Gap, the belief that growth will just happen. Growth must be intentional and you must remain intentional about it if you want to see results. So, how do you start?

Start with a plan

I love to hike. I had an opportunity to take a group of Boy Scouts hiking in the Shenandoah mountains a couple of years ago. The plan was to hike to several outposts over five days and camp at each outpost. We knew where we wanted to go and where we wanted to end up, but we needed to plan our route before we embarked on our journey. Otherwise, we would just be wandering in the mountains.

A growth plan, like a hiking plan, is essential if you want to be intentional about growing. When we built our hiking plan, we didn’t consider distance as much as direction. It is less about how long will it take and more about how far can I go. Personal growth is a lifelong journey. We didn’t hike to the first outpost and stop for the rest of the week. Each day was a new destination. Each day offered a new set of challenges. You may have to change course along your journey to your destination. The discovery is what makes it exciting.

Set the direction, if not the distance. Where do you want to go in life? What direction do you want to go? What is the farthest you can imagine going?

We all start out at the same point in life. We start with a dream, a desire, a hope of a destination. In the beginning we long for becoming better than we are now. We have potential. What happens to that potential is up to us. Will it be fulfilled or will it remain unfulfilled? In order to fulfill our potential, we have to be intentional about it. We have to chart a course that will ultimately take us to our desired destination. Or, at least, in the right direction.

Start now

What are you waiting for? The greatest danger you face is that you will make intentional growth a priority later. In an article by Jennifer Reed in SUCCESS, she writes,

Can there be a more insidious word? Later, as in “I’ll do it later.” Or, “Later, I’ll have time to write that book that’s been on my mind for the past five years.” Or, “I know I need to straighten out my finances…. I’ll do it later.”

“Later” is one of those dream-killers, one of countless obstacles we put up to derail our chances of success. The diet that starts “tomorrow,” the job hunt that happens “eventually,” the pursuit of the life dream that begins “someday” combine with other self-imposed roadblocks and lock us on autopilot.

Why do we do this to ourselves, anyway? Why don’t we take action now? Let’s face it: The familiar is easy; the uncharted path is lined with uncertainties.

What are YOU waiting on? Pick a resource that will help you grow and begin learning from it today. Join me next week as I discuss facing the fear factor.


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