Navigating Your Personal Growth Journey

We’re all on our own unique journeys – and one person’s progress can’t be measured against another’s. Henry David Thoreau hit the nail on the head when he said: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured of far away.”

 It’s not always easy to find the source of our challenges. I’ve made a practice to carve out time for quiet time and reflection each morning before anyone else is up. Just writing down my thoughts for a few minutes allows me to check in with myself apart from all the tech and gadgets that increasingly dominate our days.

 I believe personal growth in the meaning of life.  The only measure that matters is a measure of your own progress.  At its core, personal growth is about self-discovery and creating a plan for improvement. It involves understanding oneself, identifying areas of improvement, and taking actions to achieve one’s full potential. It’s about adding, removing, or changing behavior habits.  It’s not always a pretty sight – it can require us to look deeply inward and confront tough questions about who we are and what we’re willing to do to become who we want to be.

 You know when you sense that there is something that is trying to capture your attention.  Sometime from within.  But you often can’t quite identify it.  You “know” in our gut/heart/soul/body something is wrong or right for you. It is vital that you pay close attention to this.  Sometimes it is quite subtle and vague, so going deep within is key to sorting out the noise from the truth. 

 Paying attention to your reactions to things is an essential component of personal growth. Your emotional reactions can provide valuable insights into what is driving your thoughts and behaviors. By exploring these reactions and understanding their underlying drivers, you can gain new insights and take actions towards your goals.

 But it’s a necessary journey, if we agree with Socrates that “the examined life is not worth living.” Self-actualization (the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities) is what we are all after in the end.  This of course requires a deep understand of self.  Whether you are an athlete looking to improve your physical performance or a professional seeking to enhance your leadership skills, personal growth is essential for reaching your goals and living a fulfilling life.


So how to get started?

 ·         The starting point for personal growth is self-understanding. This means taking the time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and understanding what drives them. It is essential to identify any blind spots or limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from achieving your full potential. This can be done through meditation, journaling, spending quiet time alone, asking yourself questions, seeking feedback from others, and using profile assessment tools like the Myers-Briggs or 360 feedback. For example – these tests showed me that I’m a classic overthinker which can lead to counter-productive thoughts and sensitivities.  With this knowledge I can direct my growth needs more specifically, thus allowing me to adjust my approach accordingly.

·         One effective way to improve oneself on a daily basis is to create your own personal growth supporting self-management program. This program should involve a set of habits or routine that help you develop self-awareness, gain new insights, and take action towards your goals. This can include activities such as journaling, mediation, exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and seeking feedback from others. The key is to start slowly and add one new habit at a time, making it fun and easy for you to follow.

·         Staying motivated is key to making progress towards your goals. One effective way to stay motivated is to visualize your ideal self and believe in your process of self-improvement. I personally find it helpful to focus on what you want and stay committed to being the person you want to be, even when you encounter setbacks or obstacles. By exploring new ideas, testing them out, and adjusting your approach, you can make steady progress towards your goals and achieve your full potential.

Again, it’s not always easy. There are several common obstacles to personal growth that you will encounter. One of the most significant is your willingness to look deeply at yourself. This can be difficult, especially when there are past traumas or limiting beliefs that need to be addressed. You may also struggle with consistency and discipline, finding it challenging to establish new habits and stick to them over time. It is essential to develop a growth mindset and believe that you can change and improve, even when faced with setbacks or challenges.  Allowing yourself time, patience, and the inevitable setbacks.  Keep going!

Measuring progress towards personal growth is the “cheat code” to staying motivated and on track. I’d suggest that you measure your progress to create a scorecard or questionnaire that captures key metrics related to your goals. This can include tracking your sleep, exercise, diet, relationships, and work performance – any metrics related to the goal you have laid out for yourself. By reviewing this data regularly, you can identify trends and make adjustments to your self-management program as needed.

For example – rate myself every morning on the following dimensions – hours of sleep, minutes of mediation, quality of my relationships with my daughters, how deep and consistent is my leave of peace?, did I over eat?, did I exercise?, what is holding me back from being my authentic self?, what powerful questions I could have asked yesterday but didn’t?, what am I grateful for right now?  This allows me to think through the key areas of growth I’m working on every day.  I adjust the questions as appropriate I go along my journey.  

Ultimately, consistency is critical to personal growth. And that requires making a commitment to yourself. While a support system of others is important, you need to build a capacity for holding yourself accountable, even when nobody else is looking on or tracking your progress. There won’t be someone else making sure that you go out for that early morning run or make another cold call.

It takes discipline and commitment to establish new habits and stick to them over time. However, once you find the right habits that work for you, you will want to do them every day. Self-management is a daily process that involves assessing progress, scoring, re-evaluating, adjusting, and continuing forward. By staying disciplined and consistent, you can make steady progress towards your goals, celebrate progress and “wins on the board”, and ultimately achieve what you know you are capable of achieving.

Once you’ve got it right your own self-management process may just end up being your favorite part of your day.  Mine is.

 What steps have you taken to facilitate your personal growth? What have you found to be effective in holding yourself accountable?