These Seven Words

Posted: October 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

Leaders Develop Daily, Not in a Day.  These seven words have played a critical part of my personal development, as well as my vocation.  The best leaders I have worked with view their growth as a leader as a process, not an event.  This growth process is a daily investment that becomes a lifestyle of constant curiosity, learning and practice. As Jason Jennings said in a recent presentation I attended, “If you aren’t moving forward, then you are falling behind”.

Dr. John Maxwell has taught five principles to encourage all of us to adopt a lifestyle of personal growth as a leader.  I have these written in my journal and review every Sunday night to start my new week off with a focus on getting better as a leader through personal growth.

The five principles are:

  1. Growth separates those that succeed from those that do not.  We all started on the same level but commitment to the process of personal growth can make the difference.  Spend an hour a day on your personal growth by studying, reading, teaching others, filing articles or lessons that impact you, writing or talking with a mentor.  Does this make you smarter? Maybe, maybe not.  The commitment to this process may create a gap between you and others in your potential and value.
  2. Growth takes time, and only time can teach us some things.  There is no substitute for time in personal growth but time alone doesn’t make us wiser.  One of the bet strategies to use to leverage the time of the process and experiences is reflective thinking. Take a few minutes every day and look back on the day. What happened? What lessons did I learn?  What would I do differently?  Document your thoughts in a journal or notebook.  The act of writing these thoughts down will increase your ability to use them in the future.
  3. Growth inside fuels growth outside. The late Jim Rohn said “We don’t get what we deserve, we get who we become.”  Don’t ask the question “What am I getting from spending an hour a day on my personal growth?” rather ask “Who am I becoming?” You and others will notice the new person you are becoming. 
  4. Take 100% responsibility for your own growth.  In my opinion, the #1 sign of maturity is when a person declares that they are 100% responsible for their life. We no longer have schools, teachers, or parents to map out our next steps. If we want to become better leaders, we must take responsibility for this. We must develop a game plan to become students of leadership to learn new things and draw upon our experiences.
  5. Determine the areas of your life which you need to grow. Many of you may be able to relate to my personal development area of patience.  I realize that I will never be a 9 or 10 on a 10 point scale of patience.  I would rather focus on fine-tuning my strengths as a leader.  Think of the 3 or 4 areas that you are 8, 9 or 10 on with regards to your leadership. We typically like to learn more about the areas we are good at.  John Wooden, the great UCLA basketball coach, had his players focus on shooting the ball from the place on the court they had the highest percentage of success. During a game, that is where they shot the ball. Not from places that they had a lower percentage of success.  Enhance your “sweet spot” or strengths and you will have an incredible potential to make a difference as a leader.

This focus on your personal growth may seem overwhelming. Pick a couple of things to start out with. Buy the best $25 empty notebook (a journal) you can and use it daily. I promise it will be worth more than $25 to you once you fill it up with lessons learned, observations, and notes from your daily life. Check out a book or audiobook from the library and listen to it on the way to and from work rather than listening to the radio.  Learn one new thing a day.

Simple positive choices in your personal growth will compound very quickly to produce an amazing attitude and life. Remember you are 100% responsible for you and your development. Go get it!

Until next time – Leaders Develop Daily, Not in a Day.

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