I’ve been contemplating words beginning with the letter “g” — specifically growth.

Not the normal, buzzy “growth” talked about in the circles of marketing and startups. I’ve been thinking about personal growth.

“What does personal growth mean to me right now?”

“What is best for me in this moment and in the following years?”

I’ve been flattered, humbled, and excited by job offers and recruitment inquiries lately. They’ve been wonderful, and they’ve really given me a larger perspective on things.

The biggest blessing they gave me, however, was a chance for me to contemplate what I really need most right now.

I’m 23, newly engaged, and growing a marketing agency. I’m living with my fiancé and our 3 pets in a wonderful apartment in Florida. I don’t need more money to get by, so what is more important than that? I have a great deal of personal freedom, and I can set my own pace (which is usually pretty fast) for my work environment, most importantly though (from a career perspective) — I have something that I can build and achieve myself, and learn from.

I say all of this because there has been a lot of thought about ambition racing through my head lately. What ambition truly means, and what a truly ambitious personal would choose to do right now. There’s been a lot of thought about my name, my “reach” and what all of that really amounts to. I’ve had a chance to jump to bigger, more well known companies at very highly sought after positions. What would this give me that I currently don’t already have?

It would give me a larger audience, more connections, and make me look more authoritative in my industry. It would also give me (potentially) more money, and open up further opportunities down the line. These are all things that sound fantastic, they don’t sound bad, but for some reason I recoil from them.

When I felt this initially I didn’t understand why. I actually got mad with frustration. I was angry at myself because these job offers and opportunities were something I’ve been working my ass off for, so why not jump on them? I finally felt the reason why — because they’re simply not what I need right now.

I bring this back to my current state. I’m 23 and I’m embarking on a brand new life experience by getting married. My fiancé and I could end up anywhere in the matter of a year or two, and that excites me. There are no shackles holding me to any location with the company I’m building. There is also no one telling me when I have to get to the office, giving me a ton of freedom to be agile with my schedule.

Don’t think this means I’m choosing to be lazy, quite the contrary. I’m choosing to build something — which carries far more stress, guilt, anxiety, and excitement than working on somebody’s ‘something else’ ever could. Taking a job would feel like a vacation in comparison to what I’ve been living for the past year. However that’s part of the excitement.

There’s really nothing better for personal growth than putting yourself in a situation where you don’t know all the answers, and learning quickly while your back is against the wall and you have people to provide for.

Limitation is the mother of focus, failure is the mother of hustle — just as necessity is the mother of invention.

The reason I’ve turned down opportunities lately that 2 years ago would make my head spin is because right now, in this moment, I don’t need more money, I don’t need a bigger audience, I need more experiences, more failure, and more possibility for personal growth. I need to figure things out myself, live through the mistakes, learn the inner workings of this machine by putting my finger on the pulse, rather than wrestling at the surface. I need more wisdom, not more feigned merit.

This personal growth is what I need to set myself even farther apart from the pack that would not only jump at these opportunities, not knowing the mistake they were making, but think in their haste that they had made the right decision and will live a bouncing life of indecision and uncertainty for years to come.

I will be certain that with each failure I will learn, with each success I will grow stronger, that each new connection will be worth more because it was based in reality and work rather than romanticized ideals of what I was worth due to the name I carried under my resume. I will grow faster, not in wealth, not in notoriety, but in wisdom. That’s what matters to me right now, it’s what always has.

“When the student is ready the teacher will present itself”

Sometimes the lesson you need though is not the opportunity that hits you in the face, but a different opportunity that would be shrouded, if not concentrating deep on introspection.

“Know thyself”

I’m grateful for everything that has been offered to me lately, and I’m excited to grow faster so that in the coming years, when I’ve learned all I can from this, I will be able to provide more value to those that have been so gracious to send opportunities my way, and in that, the deal will be worth it more for them and that will feel better to me.

Invest in wisdom, and constantly invest in your own self growth.

So, this is where I ask you:

What’s the growth that you need right now?

Coffee Time

Short, quickly digestible, thought provoking reads for the coffee break. Productivity, design, and growth focused. By @snsmth

Sean Smith

Written by

Co-owner @SimpleTiger. Writing words on TNW, 99U, Moz, Copyblogger & more. Making marketing better with quality communication.

Coffee Time

Short, quickly digestible, thought provoking reads for the coffee break. Productivity, design, and growth focused. By @snsmth

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