Change & Growth are NOT the Same — Which Do You Need?

Change and growth. Growth and change. Aren’t they the same thing? We use the terms interchangeably so often the lines between them disappear. But it matters!

Change and growth are NOT the same.

Your happiness depends on which you choose — to change or grow.

How do you decide which you need?

First, you need to identify your problem or the thing you want to be different.

Are you unhappy at your job? Do you have a negative self-image?

Are you bored with your life? Do you lose your temper all the time?

Are you depressed? Do you have relationship problems?

Are you plagued by your past? Do you have financial problems?

These are just a few possible things to address.

Where are YOU not happy?

What is it YOU want different?

Start simple. Pick just one thing.

What now?

Next, identify the difference between change and growth.

Here are 6 specific ways change and growth are different.

  1. Change can be instant — growth is slow
  2. Change can be imposed from the outside — growth is internal
  3. Change can be a one-off event — growth is an incremental process
  4. Change can be made by a single decision — growth requires consistent motivation and learning
  5. Change can be negative or positive — growth is always positive
  6. Change can be the beginning of growth — growth always starts with a decision for change

Notice every listing regarding change says change can be — NOT change will. It is not definitive.

But every listing regarding growth is definitive.

Change can produce growth.

But growth requires — and will always cause change.

Continuous growth will cause continuous change.

Change affects us. Growth changes us.CLICK TO TWEET

How do you figure out which you need?

Ask yourself these questions.

Is there something you can do to make it better? Is there something someone else can do to make it better?

Essentially — Can the situation get better?

Your answers determine if you need change or growth.

Let’s say your problem is you’re not happy with your job/career.

Change is the answer if:

Your mental, emotional or physical health are suffering. You need to change jobs — because your health matters.

Your boss is abusive or sexually harassing you. You need change the situation by reporting it and/or change jobs.

You discover something you are passionate about you wish you would have chosen earlier. You need to change professions — because your fulfillment matters.

Growth is the answer if:

You care about what your company does but you are bored. You can choose to explore your options. Step outside of your comfort zone and investigate other departments/job descriptions in the company. Learn what you need to apply and begin the process.

You have coworker troubles. You can decide to look deeper to evaluate exactly where the problem lies. Is it you? Is it them? Would reading a book or taking a class on anger management or emotional intelligence help?

You want more money or a promotion. You can decide to talk with your boss or Human Resources about opportunities. Would going back to school, taking a class, attending a seminar qualify you?

What if your problem is financial?

Change is the answer if:

Your credit cards continually get maxed out or you never pay off the balance. You need to cut up some or all of your credit cards.

Your income is not enough to cover all your needs. You need to change jobs or get a second one.

Growth is the answer if:

You spend impulsively. You can decide to look at yourself to learn why you do that. Is it emotional? Is it a lack of self-control? Would taking a class, going to a seminar or reading a book on healing emotional wounds or personal boundaries help?

You accidentally overdraft your accounts often. You can decide to take a class on finances. Would learning how to balance a checkbook make a difference?

Growth takes process and time.
― Danielle Bernock, Emerging with Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, and the Love That Heals

These are just two examples of comparing the problem to a solution.

But there are no pat answers because people and situations are all different. Humans are complicated and vast like a universe. We have eternity set in our hearts.

The answer really lies within you.

You need to look inside, answer the questions and choose which will serve you better, bring about the results you need, or turn you in the right direction.

Once you understand which serves you make the decision to act.

Change and growth are not the same.

They are very different like buying furniture compared to reupholstering. Or buying a new car as opposed to fixing up the old one.

Will the old chair serve you if you make the necessary changes? Will the old car serve you if you do the necessary repairs?

It’s YOUR decision.

And once you decide which you need, you need to make the decision to start.

You need to take a step. Decide where you want to go and a step to take to get there.

Start here

  • Ask yourself the questions
  • Can my situation get better?
  • Do I need to make a change?
  • Where do I need to grow?

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Adapted from article published at

Danielle Bernock is a the author of Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals. Follow her on Twitter at @dbernock