A Simple Way to Grow

Tom Ziglar says, “What you feed your mind determines your appetite.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m a great collector of books. They are mentioned in blogs or social media, by someone I trust, or they catch my eye on Amazon. I buy, add to my Kindle or bookshelf. And I begin most of them…

I can’t tell you how many books I’ve begun! All good stuff. Usually my inclinations were correct; they’re good, informative, idea-generating, challenging in some area in which I need to grow. But then life happens and schedules press them off the top of my to do list.

But…

What if — for the rest of January, I — or you — chose two key books on which to slowly and intentionally “feed” — the content of which would then challenge thinking, encourage the heart, mold attitudes and increase the appetite — for more good stuff? What difference would a couple of weeks’ worth of good feeding make in the coming year?

I’m game! Are you?

If you’d take inventory of what goes into your mind, what would be the primary sources?

What two books would be at the top of your list for the rest of the month?

Who in Your Life…?

Who do you have in your life who does the following?

  •  They listen to you well. They hear what others don’t, hear what even you likely haven’t put together. They listen to what your heart and gut are saying.
  •  They identify — verbally and often — your skills, gifts, passions, values, interests and desires. And when they do, they help you grasp how you’re put together.
  •  They believe in you. Not like your 7th grade English teacher who took everyone aside and said “you have great potential!” This is the man or woman who discerns your unique design. They assist you with seeing your purpose,  related to your unique design and life experiences…therefore equipping you to know where you will make your greatest impact.
  •  Finally, they aren’t content to let you just know these things. The press you — not just to do your best, but to be your best.

Who is there who fills that role in your life?

Those practices paint a picture of the privileged role that we as coaches get to fill every day — and also helps you understand why we’re so passionate about doing it well!

Passivity Paralyzes

With eight months of the year behind us, how would you say you’re growing? In what areas are you really satisfied about your progress — and in which ones would you, in all honesty say, there’s been real blockage — even passivity?

Why should we beware of passivity? Because passivity is a usually a sign that we’ve been entertaining thoughts like:

  • I’ve arrrived. Although most of us would never actually say such a thing, it’s suggested when we sit, cemented in place.
  • I’m comfortable. Comfort says, “I know my marriage could be better, my relationships are few and weak, my fathering is part-time at best, my job performance could be great instead of average…but the discomfort I have now might be preferable to the discomfort I might experience from going on in those areas.”
  • I can’t. At my age…with my background…as busy as I am….(insert favorite phrase here) no one could expect me to make big changes in my __________ (fitness, marriage,  attitude toward work, spiritual life).

The key to breaking free from passivity is intentionality. It’s a clear and workable plan to get around growing people, to find and incorporate some new resources, maybe to add some accountability.

What kinds of passivity can you identify? What would be the first, best steps out of it for the rest of the year?

Habits of Growing People

For most of my life, I’ve witnessed it: some people are content to remain at their current level of understanding, education, development and maturity. It’s true in any facet of life where growth is possible. At some point, for them, growth became optional. So there they sit, seemingly in a recliner, on a plateau. It might be on the job, in their marriage, in the spiritual life and the like.

Others though, seem to always have a book at hand or they’re telling you about something they’ve just learned. They might be the person who always seems ready for another sharpening relationship, more input or an app they can download and put to use.

What can you observe in the attitudes and practices of people who grow and keep growing?

1. Growing people have a plan to grow.

Oh, it may not be complicated. Their plan might be as simple as a bucket list, a book club or a gym membership. Streaming entertainment excites them less than personal interaction. They prefer face time to Facebook and thought-provoking discussion to quoting sound bite.

2. Growing people have growing friends.

They associate with others who aren’t content with the status quo in their own lives. They attract the kind of people who also engage in thought and learn new skills. They might together pursue weight loss or health goals or DIY projects. They practice mutual challenge and encouragement.

3. Growing people take advantage of growth resources.

Invariably, growing people are readers. They’ll often have a book or device at hand, so when they’re waiting, they’re reading. They go to conferences, engage a mentor or take a class. They study areas not associated with their profession. They read select tweets and blogs. They listen deeply, learn intuitively and pass on what they’re learning!

4. Growing people practice growth habits even when they’re not motivated.

Motivation slows, even for growth-oriented people. But they know that growth isn’t an option. They’ve experienced that when growth ceases, the downward slide begins. People committed to growth understand that daily habits and small steps will both keep them moving forward and kick-start their motivation again.

You likely wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t committed to your own growth.

What attitudes or practices have helped keep you moving forward?

Why I Need a Coach (and you probably do too)

A few years ago, I began a coaching relationship. It wasn’t a simple decision. There were issues that held me back.

Fear held me back. I knew if I launched out and actually discussed goals, dreams and plans that I’d actually have to do something about my goals, dreams and plans! And of course, like most people, I so often prefer the comfort of “what I know” (even though it’s not very comfortable) to the discomfort of decision-making…choices which mean change…and communicating my goals to others. In all of it, I of course, also feared failure. But I began to realize that the road I was on was a slow track to a more ultimate failure: the failure to actually be what I knew I could be!

The idea of accountability held me back. Like a lot of people, I was hiding under the radar of glib statements like: “I’m busy” or “I’m doing the best I can with the (time/money/resources/relationships) I’ve got. But then I realized, accountability isn’t about just exposing excuses, it is about ownership and intentionality – things which move me forward – past excuses, out of my comfort and into the kind of effective and fruitful life about which I had only dreamt!

So what’s coaching done for me?

Just given me an honest environment where I can speak freely, dream greatly and choose repeatedly to do what I know I really want! It offers me a confidential “sounding board” environment. My coach provides absolute confidentiality. We can discuss and analyze fear and hesitations. I can talk through dreams – even the ones I’ve never spoken aloud to myself before. Coaching also provides me support and encouragement like I’ve had in just a couple of other relationships. And my coach’s encouragement isn’t the “pat on the back”/“you can do it” kind. He challenges me relentlessly; questions me progressively; gives me the freedom to admit it when I’m making excuses. And the best part: he reminds me of the astounding value and purpose that are part of how I’m created!

His encouragement literally consists of “pouring courage into me” when my human nature would rather excuse, be lazy or fall back to my lack of confidence.

So, if you’re in need of challenge, clarity, insight…and support, encouragement and accountability, I urge you to get in touch! It’s the first in a long series of good choices you’ll make!

Leverage Your Discontent

Thomas Edison said, “Discontent is the first necessity of progress.” When I consider change (almost any change) the risks associated or the pain (i.e. discipline, work) required by that change can keep me firmly fixed in place. Two views can give me the motivation to “move out”:

One view is the vision of your preferred future. When I paint a clear, vivid, compelling picture of what life will be like (a deepening relationship, growing sales, financial freedom, increasing health) I suddenly have a powerful tool which gets me moving and keeps me motivated.The second view is what Edison described. It is the real and honest view that comes when I evaluate my present state. It is coming to terms with where today’s path will get me if I continue on it! It likely will feature descriptions of my future which – when I see them on paper – will repeatedly get me “unstuck” and move me into a growth mode.
If you want help to think about where you really want to go, click or call! I love helping clients redesign their futures.

What could you do about it today?

Pythagoras must have known about human nature as well as mathematics. He wrote: “The beginning is half the whole”.

Not having “enough” time or energy tends to make us hold off until there is “enough” to begin a new or major project or tackle an issue (in a relationship for instance) which we know will be involved. The mathematician’s word would encourage us to just get started. Then, we make a discovery: once a first step is taken, movement in the same direction becomes more fluid!

What’s on the back burner and has been for a while? I’ve got a couple of those – and I’m reminding myself today, “You cannot finish something you don’t start!”

Need help getting started?

What questions could you ask and answer to take the first steps?

A Word from the General

Ever “feel” like doing something you’ve planned to do, but somehow, other parts of you (body, will, emotions) just don’t cooperate? General George S. Patton said,

Now if you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.

 

Whatever you decide

Ralph Waldo Emerson described what happens when we decide on a course of action or goal.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

You’ve likely experienced the “fruit” of critics in your life. From family members at an early age to co-workers and “friends” later in life, we often have a ready supply of those who tell us how unlikely it is that our goal or plan will come to fruition. Summoning courage at those junctures means putting ourselves “out there” and it means operating without the encouragement of people who ought to believe in us.

What an appropriate time that is to:

  • Get with someone who’s been there, who’s been experienced a similar journey. Examples might be a business owner who’s taken signficant risk or one who’s worked through huge financial hurdles. A key individual might provide the need of the moment: mentor, counsel, encouragement, prayer or challenge. Be ready for the response that’s right!
  • Write out a clear and compelling vision. Answer for yourself the “why am I doing this?” question. Spend time yourself in meditation and prayer. Ascertain that you’re not doing the wrong thing your critics asserted.
  • Keep the vision connected to reality. Great visions rarely come together in the time and manner we’d prefer. Put realistic and measureable goals together, get them into your plan and work your plan.
  • Get some coaching. Coaches specialize in listening and we believe in our clients. I believe what God has put into people — by way of vision, purpose and passions — is what needs to “come out”. In nearly every session, I hear a clients discuss things they are hestitant to share even with spouses, best friends or co-workers.