How many times do we take time to think that “life is not a session”? And that life is happening now! Do we put intentional effort to improve ourselves and our lives? Or do we just hope that everything is going to be better by a chance?
John C. Maxwell in his famous book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, analyzed why putting such a conscious effort is vital in order to reach our full potential; i.e. to grow.
There are different aspects to growth as Maxwell described in his book:
“To become a better human being, you need to grow in character. To advance in your career, you need to grow in your skills. To be a better spouse or parent, you need to grow in relationships. To reach your financial goals, you need to grow in your knowledge about how money works. To enrich your soul, you need to grow spiritually”.
The question now is how do we do that in a structured way? Well, the classical answer is by putting specific goals in each area of the above and working hard to achieve them. In reality, such approach will not be enough if we don’t consider what Maxwell described as Personal Growth Goals.
Many of us assume that we will personally grow as soon as we are getting old. More specifically, Maxwell illustrated 8 growth gap traps that hold us from setting personal growth goals and hence reaching our full potential. These gaps are:
- The assumption gap: “I assume that I will automatically grow”
- The knowledge gap: “I don’t know how to grow”
- The timing gap: “it’s not the right time to begin”
- The mistake gap—“I’m afraid of making mistakes”
- The perfection gap—“I have to find the best way before I start”
- The inspiration gap—“I don’t feel like doing it”
- The comparison gap—“others are better than I am”
- The expectation gap—“I thought it would be easier than this”
Every one of us has some or all of these gaps, but in order to overcome them, Maxwell suggested four key actions as the following:
- Ask the big questions now: in order to grow, we need to set clear directions for our life. We may start by asking: “Where do you want to go in life?”,“What direction do you want to go?”,“What’s the farthest you can imagine going?”
- Do it now: Maxwell suggested that we shouldn’t wait until we feel that we are 100% ready or fully inspired to start setting and working on personal growth goals. We need to start now; we need to just do it now because “motivation is like love and happiness. It’s a by-product. When you’re actively engaged in doing something, it sneaks up and zaps you when you least expect it”.
- Face the fear factor: during our growing journey, we will definitely have some fears and doubts such as: “Fear of Failure”,“Fear of Trading Security for the Unknown”,“Fear of Being Overextended Financially”,“Fear of What Others Will Say or Think”,“Fear that Success Will Alienate Peers”. No matter what, we have to be honest and face these fears in order to achieve the required growth.
- Change from accidental to intentional growth: if you still confused what it is important to apply the Law of Intentionality in our lives, take a look at the difference between accidental growth and intentional growth.
We have to remember, “Growth doesn’t just happen—not for me, not for you, not for anybody. You have to go after it”, so start by identifying your gaps, creating your strategies to close them and most importantly, starting now.