One of the things that can easily be overlooked in the busyness of everyday is your own personal growth. How do you know you’re not repeating last year, without learning new skills, becoming more productive, or growing in character and maturity? Perhaps there are even some areas where you’re losing ground. When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Personal growth takes energy
Growth involves change, and change takes energy. Busy people do not always have energy left over for personal growth.
We are creatures of habit. We all develop patterns and ways of doing things that help us to cope with work and life. These patterns need to be challenged every so often, or they can become ruts in which we get stuck.
Depending on our personal behavioural style we might change it up, play safe, become perfectionistic, or do whatever most pleases the people around us. In a busy role, when things get tough, we can tend to focus on surviving, and just do what feels safe. This is usually what is easiest or has worked for us in the past. The challenge for every busy leader is to keep developing ways to approach our roles with creativity and with an eye to continual improvement. How else do we keep growing personally, and thus challenge and inspire the people around us?
Personal Growth in one area affects your whole life
Experience has taught me that the things most likely to undermine your long-term business success come from neglected areas of your personal life.
Here’s a big one: getting fit. Starting an exercise program will, at first, be very uncomfortable, but if you stick to it, has the power to provide the impetus and fresh energy for making other changes in your life.
Making significant physical change also leads to positive mental and emotional effects. You’ll release stress and create more energy in your body, assuming you are also getting good nutrition and sleep.
Creating a Personal Growth Plan
Start by setting personal growth goals for 1–2 key areas of your life. Do an assessment of your world with someone who will help you be totally honest and identify weaker areas.
Perhaps it’s your fitness, marriage, friendships, or self-awareness.
- Being fitter in your body will boost your energy, give you greater clarity, reduce stress and improve your focus when you’re with others.
- Working on your relationships – whether with a partner or friend – is always a worthy thing to do. Busy people can so easily grow apart emotionally without even realising, and lose the deeper connection required for a great marriage or close friendship.
- Self-awareness is the key to increasing your emotional intelligence, and developing your EQ is essential to growing your leadership capacity.
How to Measure your Personal Growth?
Set some ways to measure your goals:
- It could be to lose 5 kilos; run a certain time or distance; lift a particular weight; walk upstairs without getting out of breath; or for an item of clothing to fit.
- Discuss, plan, and have a date with your partner once a week, over activities that you mutually enjoy. The goal is to re-discover and enjoy your partner and increase the freedom to be able to communicate together at a more intimate level.
- Check in with yourself and write down how you’re feeling, what your body is saying to you, and what’s challenging you at the moment – do this in a journal 4 times over the course of the day, from morning to evening. Ask 2 or 3 people in your team, or hire a mentor, to monitor you over a year, checking in with you to reflect on how you are tracking in your capacity to be self-aware and tune in to others around you.
After an honest assessment, pinpoint the area you may most need to grow. Carve out time in the calendar and start working on it. We all need to become more deliberate in our personal growth to ensure our lives are moving forward and we are becoming a better version of ourselves each day. A key to fulfillment is a sense of progress in your life personally. Achieving work goals is important, but self-work is more important for wellbeing. If all you have is a full diary and an exhausted body and mind, it is time to set KPI’s for your personal growth plan.