Monday, April 2, 2018

Is Personal Growth and Self-Leadership Even Important?

Most people I know have a desire to do something significant with their lives.  I’ve observed some be energized and motivated by this desire and some be deflated and depressed.  "Maybe", they think, “I’m not cut out to do anything significant.”  My question to those people has always been and always will be, “Why not you?”

I think I’ve found a clue to why some seem to be able to step into big new worlds and others seem to just stay stuck in the same frustrating life they’ve lived in for years.  I believe the difference between the do’s and the do not's is their willingness to take responsibility for their own growth.  Another way to say it is leading yourself.  It’s ironic, and even ridiculous, that some of us desire other people to follow us when we’ve not even made the effort to lead ourselves well.  In fact, I’ve seen this be a repetitive theme in my own life and in the lives of many of the people I’ve worked with over the years.  It seems that seasons of personal breakthrough are usually preceded by seasons of personal growth and good self-leadership.

Unfortunately, for some of us, it’s way too easy to sit around and complain about how everyone else gets the breaks and even how God seems to call everyone else to bigger and better things in life.  But, how likely is it that God just likes those people more than he likes you?  Does that even make sense?  Isn’t it more likely that God is actively looking for people who are already on the right trajectory? 

I still remember when I first discovered personal growth.  It was the second half of 2007 when I discovered two growth tools that seemed almost magical to me – blogging and podcasts.  I wrote my first blogs on my account.  Remember MySpace?  Those were the days.  I launched my current blog in December 2010.  It was hardly a launch, really.  I just started writing because I liked writing and it gave me a great outlet to process the growth happening inside me.  Prior to this time, I had listened to a few podcasts, but I thought they were just a tool for struggling bands to get their music out to a new audience.  I had not realized what rich content there was for the taking – for free!  Only once someone introduced me to the Catalyst Podcast, did I realize the growth potential.  For months, my mind was blown by the guests I heard interviewed.  This was the time I was introduced to Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley, Dave Ramsey, Francis Chan, Mark Batterson and dozens of other great leaders I’d never been exposed to before.  I can still hear that introduction by Andy Stanley . . .  “Leadership is a stewardship.  It is temporary . . . and you’re accountable.”  That literally sent chills up and down my spine every time I heard it.  I was hooked on leadership.  I was hooked on growth.  Not surprisingly, as this growth was taking place, I was seeing and walking into all kinds of new opportunities in the world.

Now, that’s my story.  But what’s yours?  Do you value growth and self-leadership or is that just for the self-help gurus to talk about so they can sell books?  I’ll tell you the truth.  If you value yourself, you’ll value personal growth.  You’re either growing or you’re dying.  There is no such thing as a plateau.  That’s the term we use to comfort ourselves when we know we’re dying a slow death.  

Now it’s time for you to take a step.  What is one new piece you will introduce into your life to foster growth?  This could be some kind of career training, beginning a new reading plan, solitary times of prayer and meditation, listening to podcasts or any number of other avenues. I can’t define this for you.  It’s your life.  It’s your responsibility to find what works for you.

The final piece (for now) is accountability.  Who is one trusted friend you can share your plan with?  You will not only give this person permission, but you will charge them with the responsibility to hold you accountable on this new growth mechanism you’ve decided to introduce into your life.  Choose wisely.  This must be someone who loves you completely and has no hint of an ulterior motive.  Depending on your situation, your pastor, a co-worker, and even your spouse may or may not be the best choice.

Choose wisely.  Choose to begin a life of personal growth.  Choose to lead yourself well.