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Tips For Personal Growth

Personal growth seems to occur in spurts. We gain a little, lose a little, surge ahead or slide into a holding pattern where in growth seems to be stagnated. Here are ten ways to get back on track.

1. Recognize that growth continues, despite our best efforts to thwart it.

There's a saying: God's time and mortals' time differ. Nowhere is that more true than in the area of personal growth. Growth can be likened to fermentation; it often occurs well below the surface and appears dormant for long periods. Still, much is going on, if only we have the good sense to realize it. And, there ARE things we can do to break through the surface layers...

2. Engage in the process; give up attachment to the result.

We live in a results-oriented world. That's both good and bad. In the short term, it enables us to get more done faster. In the long term, however, it conceals a great life truth: ultimately, ALL is process, and as we engage in the process and relinquish our obsession with results, the results occur spontaneously, easily. To be involved fully in the process is to be fully in the present.

3. Work on one thing at a time.

High achievers and type A's pride themselves on their ability to keep several balls in the air at one time. For many, it works, but there is a price. Multi-tasking, as it's come called, splits your focus, reduces the energy devoted to any single task and--when the balls mysteriously begin to get out of control--leaves the serious multi-tasker at a loss for words or acts. But to work on one thing at a time is tantamount to enjoying the beauty of a single rose, savoring the clean clear taste of cold spring water, and feeling the exhilaration of a new day. Single tasking gets the body and the mind going again, inspires and invigorates.

4. Stop thinking, writing and speaking in the first person.

Here's a fun exercise. It's called, an I inventory and it goes like this. Review our correspondence file, the letters you've written, and note how often you begin a sentence with, I. Then, pay attention to your conversations with others. How often do you use that word, I? If you journal, take a yellow (better yet, red) marker and overline every single I. All of these are good measures of your preoccupation with yourself. Try taking a vacation from the word, I. You may find it both refreshing and stimulating.

5. Realize that it can take great effort to achieve a state of effortless achievement.

Sounds like double talk, doesn't it! But it's true. In order to achieve effortlessly, which is a measure of alignment, you must get beyond concepts that serve as comfort zones e.g., self-importance, personal attachment, and even enlightenment. With respect to enlightenment, it's not so much a state to be achieved as one to be recognized. If you're having trouble with this one, think of Jesus's words: Before Abraham was, I am (The Bible, John 8:58).

6. Look for the lesson in pain.

This is not a plea for a life of self sacrifice, or an argument that pain is necessary and good. It's just that sometimes, pain IS. Stopping, taking time to examine what's really going on in the present state of pain, prevents this all too common emotion from developing into anger, resentment and resignation. Looking at pain dispassionately, openly, allows you to learn the lesson and move ahead.

7. Let go of your need to have an opinion.

When things go wrong, friends offend, and our progress seems to be grinding to a halt, it's natural to have an opinion, to explain, justify and defend. Natural, yes; understandable, yes; but productive? No! To give up the need to have an opinion in such instances is to free the mind to receive answers.

8. Walk away from it.

Years ago, I was going through a rough time, but was determined to stick with it until I won out. A friend who sensed my frustration asked if I would tell her about it. With some hesitation, I told her of the problem, the struggles, and the seeming lack of progress. She listened patiently and, after I finished, hesitated a moment, and then said something I'll never forget: "You know, sometimes wisdom is knowing when to walk away from it." So, when IS it time to walk away? From a distance of some years now, I would say it's when the course you are "stubbornly" pursuing is not producing results and you have no real feeling that it will!

9. Follow your path rather than your plan.

The distinction relates to specificity. Paths are often winding, indistinct and surprising in where they lead. Plans are clear, definite, and designed to eliminate uncertainty. To follow a path is to be open to discovery, to the sudden turns that yield joy, insight and challenge. But, to really follow a path requires courage and a willingness to give up certainty. To follow a path is to go forward when you can see only a single step ahead, confident that the next step will appear.

10. HEAR what is being said.

Have you ever had a friend offer you some unwelcome advice and preface it with, "You're not going to want to hear this, but ..." Well, often when new information comes to us that conflicts with what we know, believe, think, or want, we DON'T hear it. Even while we're "listening", we're preparing our replies, defenses and rebuttals. In short, we're blocking our chance to learn. To "hear", as opposed to simply listening, is to withhold judgment, to go beyond the actual words, and to really be open to the possible lesson that may be lurking just beneath the surface. the difference between listening and hearing is that, somewhere in between, there's a filter, and it's usually our resistance to new and sometimes conflicting information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make sure your actions produce more results.

1. Start with the end in mind.

Develop a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. State the end results in one sentence that even a child can imagine, understand and remember. Consider the power of President Kennedy's goal "to send a man to the moon and bring him safely back home within this decade". Thousands of people did very detailed work and spent billions of dollars based on this simply stated goal.

2. Develop a written plan.

Get it on paper (or on the computer). Make the plan as specific as possible, in terms of what will be done and by when.

3. Enlist support of others.

Let them know what you are doing, and how they and others will benefit from the results you want to produce. Invite them to lend their support however they can.

4. Set up milestones and reporting systems.

Break the job down into segments, and set target dates for completing each segment. Develop a reporting system on paper or via a good software program. Send regular reports to people who are working on your team, or who have an interest in your project.

5. Have a support system.

Set up the supports you need in your work and in your personal life. Have one or more advisors that you meet with regularly to report progress, and get advice and encouragement. Your personal coach can be one of these key people.

6. Monitor progress and make adjustments.

Realize that even the best plans need to be adjusted in the heat of battle. Make adjustments quickly and respond to new opportunities or short cuts along the way that help you reach your destination faster. If you find it difficult to get around or through certain roadblocks, get help and advice promptly.

7. Form mutually beneficial alliances with others.

Find out what other people or groups are natural allies and team up with them so you can help each other reach your objectives more easily and effectively.

8. Work your plan regularly and continuously.

Maintain a high focused activity level yourself, and get help when you need it. Don't try to do everything yourself. Delegate as much as you can, and follow up with those to whom you delegate work.

9. Keep your allies on your side and your enemies at bay.

Inform your allies about progress you are making and problems you are having. Thank them for their help. Protect yourself from important enemies by setting up and maintaining boundaries between yourself and your enemies. Recognize that enemies can be within you as well as about you. When you find that you are doing things that impede your own progress, replace that activity or habit with a better one. Ask your advisors what you personally can do better. Then put the corrections in place.

10. Celebrate progress along the way and at the completion of your work.

Share the glory. Recognize and thank the people who have helped you produce results.

 


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