With so many investments required of us to succeed--time, resources, talents, responsibilities, even finances for our retirement-- it's easy to lose sight of the most difficult investment of all to commit to.
Getting to the point where you're ready to start upgrading to you 2.0 isn't easy. But it doesn't mean dropping the ball everywhere else. It's not about omissions, but admissions. The eight that follow, in fact. Come clean with yourself to kickstart your personal growth.
1. Unstuck starts with "u".
No one overtly chooses to stop learning and growing again, it just kind of happens in the deluge of daily responsibilities (and life). And if it were easy to just kick it into gear again, you would have already done it.
But the truth is inescapable, if you want to get off that plateau to higher ground, it's up to you--and only you. No one will just hand you a steady stream of opportunities for growth.
2. You've been working in your life, not on it.
Activity is often confused for acceleration. I was guilty of this for years in corporate, staying incessantly busy, but not admitting I was bored. I was lost in activity, simply working in my life and what it had become and not stepping back to take time to question, rethink, and reframe what I wanted my life to be.
Once I did that, once I began working on my life, quitting corporate, becoming an entrepreneur, restructuring my life, I started growing once again. And I've never been happier.
3. Things aren't happening to you, they're happening for you.
A victim mentality is the mortal enemy of personal growth. Lamenting over everything that has gone wrong in your life only saps energy from working to make more things go right.
If you want to kickstart growth, you must view setbacks as having a purpose, and then put them in their place. The past shouldn't run or define you--only fuel you.
4. "If only..." is corrosive.
Here's the truth. Things are rarely exactly the way they should be. Wishing and waiting for them to be so is folly. Being bitter doesn't make you better. It just makes you bitter. The stars will never align, perfect sailing conditions are a fallacy. If only you had this, if only that hadn't happened, if only...
As a mentor once told me, "If only you'd drop this sentiment, you'd start growing."
5. The perfect time to start doesn't exist.
Related to number four, waiting for the perfect time to kick off your new growth agenda is waiting for stagnancy.
Again, guilty as charged. I had so many things that had to be just right before I could make my long-planned leap from corporate. I'd tell myself, "I'd love to go for it right now, but practically speaking..." Well, guess what?
Practicality is poison.
It's the convenient excuse holding you back from what you're meant to become.
6. If you don't broaden your horizons, you won't narrow your inhibitions.
Growth doesn't happen without some level of risk. Any financial manager, or just plain manager, will tell you that. Positive experiences with risk taking and trying new things reduces fear and begets more smart risk taking, further enhancing your personal learning and growth.
And yet caution rules over courage.
Here's the ironic part. Research published in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning indicates that we consistently overestimate the consequences of taking a risk, while discounting the cost of status quo. So avoid catastrophizing and don't underestimate the cost to your growth of choosing not to take chances.
Risk taking is a skill that must be built. So get building to build yourself.
7. It's time to unplug others opinions.
Grow where you want to grow. Learn what you want to learn. Everyone else can stuff it--why should they slow you down?
Wherever you are on the scale of what you want to learn next, be it novice or near-expert, own it, be proud of it. Pretenses are for pretenders. You're just trying to become a better version of your genuine self.
8. Good is the enemy of great.
Good enough. Two of the more evil words in the English language.
I definitely fell into a cycle of feeling that good was good enough in my life, that I should probably feel fortunate to have a good job, to be good at that job, to have done good things. Which is good and all.
But it isn't great.
Have a clear picture of what great looks like for you, map out what it takes to get there, and start investing in yourself once again. It's an elixir of joy.
It's time for sky's the limit thinking, not limited thinking. It's time to get growing going.