4 Bold Ideas to Change the Way You Look at Personal Growth
I think it’s imperative to follow your heart and choose a profession you’re passionate about, and if you haven’t found that ‘spark’ yet, if you’re not sure what you want to do with your lives — be persistent until you do. — Coach Steve Kerr
I’ve spent most of my career leading major strategic initiatives for Fortune 500 companies, start-ups and senior leaders in government. These days, I’m focused on helping individuals remove obstacles from their path, by coaching them on ways to boost their emotional intelligence, define success for their lives and think more creatively about what they truly want to do.
This continuous transformation in thought has led me to redefine the way I view personal growth. I’ve become obsessed with the maximization of time. What works for Elon Musk might not work for you and me. We all have different obligations and we’re all blessed with different talents. We all mature and grow in our unique way.
So I offer up these four ideas as starting points. I think you’ll find there is room in our life to add them in. It’s a matter of being strategic and committed to doing so. Without further ado, here are four bold ideas that can help you grow both professionally and personally:
1. Build Relationships with Empathy and a Teamwork Focus
Steve Kerr and his brilliant coaching staff in Golden State would tell you, caring instruction and devoted listening make an enormous difference between success and failure. Schemes and sets matter, to be certain, but strategy only gets you so far — at any level.
Coach Kerr is a “player’s coach,” which is an endearing way of saying, he listens to his players. Personal touch — true, heartfelt empathy — is often the difference maker, whether in the NBA or in the relationships you seek to build. It is through building relationships that we learn about ourselves and help others grow in the process.
The Warriors are a true team — one steamrolling the competition in pursuit of a second championship in three seasons. Surely, they have the talent. But equally as important, they don’t care who gets the credit, as long as the team benefits. Golden State is leading the league in assists for a third straight season, the mark of a truly unselfish team that cares more about winning than individual glory.
The lesson in this for you is, the team success of the Warriors is, in partly due to a leader who listens with empathy and cares deeply about the feelings and opinions of his players. Ask yourself, how can you start today by actively leading with this style? It’s the mindset of a winner. It makes the selfish style of “leadership” look like an unpleasant alternative, by comparison.
Make empathy, focused listening and a teamwork mentality a greater part of your personal growth repertoire. In order to learn, it helps when we immerse ourselves in observing success and helping others to be their best.
2. Define Success for Every Goal You Aim to Achieve
My business career has taught me that any new goal or project should clearly define precisely what success will equal. We all define success for ourselves differently. The key in writing a book, landing a new job or completing a home renovation, is to define success specifically for that venture. Everything begins with that definition of success.
In The 4 Disciplines of Execution, the authors list their fourth discipline as, “Create a Cadence of Accountability.” This involves regularly self-checking your progress in an effort to, “share stories, check the scoreboard, celebrate successes, and talk about lapses and what to do about them.” This increases your productivity and keeps you engaged and aware of what’s going on.
Sometimes, we get obsessed when we think about our moment of victory — the end goal — that we lose the concentration and energy we need to diligently concern ourselves with the fundamentals of execution. Make sure you always understand what success looks like, so you can excel in any endeavor.
3. Concentrate on Professional AND Personal Development
The great President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Amen. It’s of paramount importance that we focus not just on our personal development — how we improve life skills and emotional intelligence — but also our productivity and how we make those around — in the workplace — more successful.
Psychologist Fredrick Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygeine Theory sets the table for what matters most to the satisfied employee. Things like recognition, achievement and advancement matter dearly. But not just professionally, personally as well. People want to know that their team members and managers care. Otherwise, it seems like we’re dealing with robots. And that sucks.
The development of trust and confidence, on both a professional and personal level, have mattered more to me than any other traits. I know many others who would, deep-down, say the same thing. These factors drive our emotional intelligence, motivations and aspirations. They fuel both our personal and professional development.
4. Be Yourself in All Creative and Imaginative Ways
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde
The secret to unlocking our potential is to use our creative imagination to dream big dreams and set goals that are uniquely crafted for our lives. Some people spend their whole lives trying to be someone else when all they need to do is think deeper about what matters most to them. Once you have that part figured out, it’s easy to line up what you want with who you truly are.
As St. Catherine of Siena once said, “Be who you are called to be and you will set the world ablaze!” You need a sound structure, a rock-solid foundation of core values and a believing mindset. When you have room to create, you are able to operate with less stress and pressure. This clears your mind to put forth your best effort.
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