“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Khloe Kardashian (just kidding)… Jim Rohn
When I was a kid I used to measure my height once a week. I had a spot on the wall that my parents allowed me to draw lines on to record how tall I grew over time. I was always so excited to notice the slight differences in height. I wanted to grow more and more so I would eat as much food as I could and drink as much milk as I could handle (I later found out I was lactose intolerant, the constant stomach aches make total sense now). I was constantly growing and getting taller every week. With a wide, bright and eager smile, I’d run to my parents to let them know that I grew half a centimeter! Then one day I stopped growing. I was 18 years old and I realized getting taller was no longer possible. I stopped measuring myself. I had reached my growth limit. It was a sad reality. A reality that I’m sure most of us can relate to.
The good news is that even though we all eventually stop growing in height, we can continue to grow in other ways every single day. Mentally, I’m becoming brighter. Emotionally, I’m becoming stronger. Physically, I’m becoming more balanced. Socially, I’m becoming kinder. Spiritually, I’m becoming more accepting. Financially, I’m becoming wiser.
However, there’s something that we tend to forget when it comes to growing. We forget how important it is to measure our growth. In order to understand our growth we need to read into it. Just like the little kid, measuring his growth by marking up the walls, we need to measure our growth as well. The more we measure our growth, the better we become at understanding how to grow, and in turn, we grow faster and stronger.
How do we measure our growth?
The metrics around growth are very real. Understanding these metrics is actually pretty simple. It just takes a little bit of effort and A LOT of self-awareness.
A lot of people feel like they are stuck. They feel as though their lives are stagnant and unmoving. They want to make a change in their life but are frozen and can’t get the first foot to move forward. I’ve felt this way many times and I know that my friends have too. To get you started, I drew my
To get you started, I drew my SEVEN STEPS TO CONTINUOUS AND MEANINGFUL GROWTH:
STEP ONE: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Gaining knowledge is not something that you should only be doing in school. Graduating does not mean you get to put the books down. You should be spending your entire life gaining as much knowledge as you can.
Why do we need to be knowledgeable? Being knowledgeable allows you to become aware in life both of your surroundings and of yourself. It allows you to discover what you’re passionate about, what you’re good at, what you’re bad at, where you’re strong, where you’re weak, what excites you, what scares you, what interests you, what repulses you, and what motivates you. You need to understand these things if you are ever going to grow. This is the first step.
How do we continue to be knowledgeable? Read every single day. Pick up a book. Read the news. Watch a documentary. Educate yourself about a new topic every single week. Write an opinion paper on something and then write another paper arguing against that same opinion. Get creative and stimulate your mind!
You’ve finished step one. Make your mark on the wall. Look at that! You’ve grown a centimeter! MOM!!!
STEP TWO: SET YOUR GOALS
Having real goals in life gives you meaning. If you don’t have goals, you will never be successful. That is the harsh truth. A goal can be anything from lose 10 pounds to make a million dollars. People often say “start small and work your way up”. However, I’m the complete opposite. I say THINK BIG. Make a goal for where you want to be 10 years from now and plan your path to reach that goal by setting smaller targets.
How can I start setting goals?
Grab a pen and paper and have a seat. Have you ever heard of a forecast meeting? If you’re in the business world you definitely have. If not, let me quickly explain. Forecasting is where you plan part of your future based on experience, knowledge, judgement and opportunity. It can be a weekly projection, monthly projection, quarterly projection (every three months), or annual projection. Hell, it can even be a 3-5 year plan. It doesn’t matter, as long as you are forecasting your life in some way. Build a plan for your future. What do you want to get done this week? What do you want to get done by the end of the month? What about in 3 months? Where do you want to be next year? What about 3 years from now? What about 5 years? 10? 20!? I know… It’s scary to think that far in the future. You don’t want to wish your life away. Believe me, I feel you. You want to be in the present. But the truth is, if you want to see success, you need to plan ahead. Success doesn’t just happen. I HATE the term, “whatever happens will happen.” Not true. SOOOO not true. You have a say in how your life turns out and it all starts with planning.
You completed step three… Put another tick on that wall. Another whole centimeter! Look at you growing! DAAAAAD!!!
STEP THREE: TAKE LEAPS AND MAKE MISTAKES
Making mistakes is one of the most important parts of growing. You need to make mistakes in order to grow. Do not be afraid to fail. Failure is your best friend. However, you can’t just make mistakes. There is a part two. The key to growth is to actually learn from your mistakes. Understand why you made them and how you can improve. Ask yourself the question where did I go wrong and what can I do better next time?
In order to make mistakes, you need to take risks. Life is too short to not take risks. Have an idea for app you wanted to start? Do it now. Want to write a book? Start typing today! Is there a girl you’ve always liked? Hike up the courage and ask her on a date. Don’t wait for the right moment because it won’t come. Don’t let the fear of what other people think get in the way of what you truly want. If you hate your current life but you’re scared to make a change, then I hate you. I’m kidding, but seriously, do something about it. Take a big long breath and leap as far and high as you can! You can do it! Find the courage within. Courage is running through each and every one of you, just like the blood that runs through your veins.
STEP FOUR: MEET NEW PEOPLE
This one is huge. The importance of networking is often overlooked. This is vital for constant growth. Get out there and meet people. Find a mentor. Learn from their experiences. Learn from their mistakes. Humans are supposed to interact.
How can you do this? LinkedIn is great for this. I use it every day. Look for 2nd connections and ask for warm introductions to people in your field or even the field that you want to get into. Ask them if they’d be interesting in going for a coffee at some point or perhaps having a quick phone call. Talk to your friends or family and find out who they know. Talk to people at work. Talk to people on the subway. Talk to people in the elevator of your building. Just get talking. Get of your shell. Get out of your bubble.
STEP FIVE: CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Having the right mindset in a necessity when it comes to continuous growth. What is the right mindset? Determination. Positivity. Self-Awareness. Remember those three traits.
Having determination is about never stopping and always pushing yourself harder than ever. This doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire life working without taking any personal breaks. It means that you have to always be thinking about your goals and how you can move forward to achieve them. Do not forget about where you want to be. Stay driven. Stay focused.
Being positive is extremely important as well. Make sure you surround yourself with the right people. Being around people who are in the same mindset is vital to growth. People who wake up excited to do something great, people who are passionate about something, people who look at life as an opportunity to continue to become a better person. These are the people you want to be around.
Self-awareness is about understanding who you are, where you want to be, and how you are going to get there. This is key is developing the right skills to grow.
Determination. Positivity. Self-awareness. You need all of these if you are going to continue to grow and achieve something great.
STEP SIX: REVIEW, REVIEW, AND REVIEW
This is a big one. One of the most important steps is to analyze what you’ve done over a certain period of time. Track the progress you have made. Step back and take a look at everything you’ve done. What did you do well and where did you go wrong. Be your own critic and provide yourself with constant feedback. In the business world we have bi-weekly, quarterly, and annual reviews. This is where we remind ourselves what our goals are and find out if we are on track to meet them. What have we been doing in the past month to get to where we need to be? You always need to be asking yourselves these questions. It helps you to stay focused and on target. Once you’ve reviewed yourself, ask others to review your progress as well. Accept their feedback. Don’t be oversensitive and defensive when you hear their viewpoints. Embracing criticism is vital to learning and growing.
STEP 7: BECOME A MENTOR
This is the last step to growing. Really, this one will come with experience. Once you’ve completed the other steps you can start to teach people what you’ve learned. Use your knowledge and experiences to help the people around you. Teaching is the best way to gain a better understanding of what you already know. You haven’t mastered something until you can effectively teach it to someone. Plus, you never know who you are helping and what they can offer you in return. This is the real value of networking.
YOUR TAKE HOME
As you grow, don’t forget to make your marks on the wall along the way. From now on I will always be that boy, excited to wake up on a Saturday morning to see how much he has grown, ready to eat breakfast because he knows it will help him get there. Always be that kid, standing with their back against the wall to measure themselves and see how much they have grown, running to their parents, wide eyed, excited to tell them about the progress they’ve made. ALWAYS, continue to grow and ALWAYS, continue to measure your success. You are responsible for your own growth. Make it happen.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain