What comes to mind when you think of the words “personal growth”?
Social media posts featuring a guy driving a Lamborghini and boasting that he can teach you how to make seven figures in six weeks? Poorly written books that serve no purpose, other than to provide a bunch of vague, “feel-good” advice?
That’s not the type of self-growth we are talking about today.
Owning and growing a business is challenging. Anyone who has one will attest to that. You need all the help you can get, which is why dedicating time to daily personal growth is crucial.
Mentorship, in any form, including self-growth, is vital to keeping a business open. As shown in research from Kabbage, “92 percent of small businesses agree mentors have a direct impact on growth and the survival of their business.”
In addition to business survival, another huge part of being a leader is growing other leaders. You can’t do this if you never learned how to lead in the first place. You’ll just end up creating a toxic work environment full of leaders at every level who don’t know how to lead either.
The key to personal growth is developing consistently in a few select areas. Learn more below about exactly what they are and how to strengthen yourself in these places.
What is Personal Growth in a Leadership Context?
Personal growth, or self-growth, is a constant dedication to pursuing the growth and development of new skills in life and business. There are various ways a person in a leadership role can experience growth as a person. This includes working with a business coach or mentor, joining a mastermind group, attending workshops to develop specific leadership skills, reading leadership books, or listening to business podcasts. No matter what activity you choose, self-growth requires setting goals fulfilled by daily habits.
What to Focus on During Your Personal Growth Journey
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”Oscar Wilde
Reading a million books on personal growth won’t do any good if you don’t know who you are. This is because identity, first and foremost, is the foundation of self-growth.
Think of becoming a great leader like growing into a gigantic oak tree. Identity is the seed from which a healthy tree grows. If you don’t have a good seed to begin with, your tree won’t grow.
Develop your identity by:
- Recognizing your natural gifts and top abilities in life: What do you feel you were called to do with these? Why do you have them? Getting clear on what you do best helps you identify your purpose.
- Pursuing your passions: “Find your passion and it’s no longer work,” famed record producer L.A. Reid explains. Think about what problems you see in the world, why they fire you up, and what you plan on doing to solve them.
- Getting clear about your life vision: Tie your self-growth to the top goals you have in life. It will help you determine what skills you need to develop to flourish in those areas. For instance, if you want passive income for the rest of your life, you need to educate yourself on different investment strategies.
- Knowing and living your values in life: Author Joe Batten writes, “Our value is the sum of our values.” Put your credo into words and place it somewhere you’ll see it every day, like on your desk. It’ll help remind you of who you are as you’re faced with challenges and big decisions.
- Being intentional about the company you keep: As personal growth expert Tony Robbins says, “The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” Remember, you’re the sum of the five people closest to you. For this reason, surround yourself with positive influences who will challenge you and hold you accountable.
- Building a positive self-image: The way you talk to yourself matters. For instance, if you have limiting beliefs like, “I’ll never be able to get my business off the ground” or “There’s no way I can be the leader my team needs,” you’ll end up living this reality. Change the narrative by conditioning yourself to think positive thoughts. It’ll help grow your confidence and transform what you believe is possible in life.
“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”Richie Norton
One of the greatest leadership tools is visualization. Visualizers set strong objectives throughout their personal growth journey and operate with intent. When you practice visualization, you condition and prepare yourself to achieve what you see. It’s the same strategy Olympic athletes use when training. Research shows simply visualizing the performance of your actions develops muscle memory. You can win whatever race you’re running when you know the course.
Start setting intentions through visualization by:
- Imagining every aspect of the end goal you have in mind: “Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask,” Tim Ferriss, best-selling author and expert in excellence, writes in Tribe of Mentors. Think about what it feels like to accomplish your objectives. Who is there to celebrate? What does this moment look like? Visualize this for at least 15 minutes each day to finetune your focus.
- Pressing rewind: After you fall in love with the vision, start reverse engineering it in phases. Working backward helps you understand what daily intentions you need to set.
- Being actionable: While visualization and intention-setting are important, strategizing and planning doesn’t amount to anything if you don’t put it into action. Once you break down your goals into yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily actions, write them into your calendar. As leadership expert John Maxwell says, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”Anne Sweeney
People working on personal growth seek a successful life. But, what many don’t realize is that success doesn’t exist without failure: something most adults are terrified of experiencing. In a survey conducted by Linkgoal, 49 percent of respondents said the fear of failure was a major setback for them. Out of this group, 43 percent felt this fear prevented them from giving their goals another shot. All of this shows that living from a place of fear is often what prevents growth in life from occurring on a major scale.
To eliminate your fear of failure:
- Get out of a victim mentality: “You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength,” Marcus Aurelius, one of the emperors of Rome once said. Powerful people refuse to let others act upon them and negatively influence their lives. They realize it’s no one else’s job to bring them success or happiness. Of course, there are times in life where someone is legitimately a victim. Even then, it’s important for this not to become a core part of your identity. It will only hold you back from personal growth.
- Shift into a growth mindset: One of the best ways to stop fearing failure is to change your perception of it as a negative experience. People with a growth mindset value the times they aim for the stars and miss because they view it as a learning opportunity. Instead of letting failure break them, they study what went wrong so they can avoid their mistakes and do better next time.
- Work toward your definition of success: If you aren’t confident in who you are, you’ll try and fulfill someone else’s version of success. Doing this will make you feel like you must perform well for people to love you. Not only does this increase your fear of failure, it also causes you to play it safe constantly. Go back to the first point and work on your identity to prevent this from happening. It’ll help you craft your own definition of success.
4. Multiplying Leaders
“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”Harvey S. Firestone
One of the key duties of a leader is growing other leaders. However, a person can’t do this if they don’t make leadership development a top priority. It’s like a dry well attempting to nourish an entire village.
As a leader, personal growth isn’t a choice—it’s a responsibility. Like anthropologist Jane Goodall said, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” When you took on a leadership role, you made a commitment to take care of those around you. Your personal development and growth as a person are crucial to your team members’ job success, well-being, and ability to develop into great leaders themselves.
Building leaders at every level is how organizations thrive. For this reason, make learning to lead a daily habit.
When it comes to personal development as a leader, start with:
- Learning about servant leadership: The quicker you figure out leading is an act of service, the quicker you’ll become more effective in your role. For instance, servant leaders put the needs of others ahead of their own. Above all, they believe they must care for others. Get more insight on how to become a servant leader.
- Being intentional about developing leadership skills: Do something every day that makes you a better leader. Make it a point to schedule time into your calendar for this. For example, select one of the top leadership traits to focus on for a week. By the end of the month, you’ll have four new leadership qualities.
- Understanding your measure of success: Your success as a leader hinges on how many people’s lives you’ve helped change. At any given time, look at the people around you. Are they growing into great leaders? Have they accomplished amazing feats? Are those on their team developing into great leaders, too? If not, make it a point to schedule time to invest in your team. To do this, host team leadership calls, provide leadership training, mentor your employees, and discuss leadership books together.
Don’t Write Personal Growth Off as a Weakness
A lot of people roll their eyes at the words “personal growth” or “self-help” because of the writers, speakers, and influencers out there giving superficial—and frankly toxic—advice. It’s phony, inauthentic, and unattractive to people who want to become great leaders. When you don’t identify with this advice that is either self-centered or too flowery, it can be easy to dismiss your personal growth altogether.
You just need to find the right people to follow. Start studying leaders like John Maxwell, Michael Hyatt, Simon Sinek, Brené Brown, and Stephen Covey. Your opinion will change because YOU will change.
Take growing as a person seriously. When you don’t, you put everyone’s livelihood and happiness at risk: your, your team, and their families. If the business fails because of your poor leadership and lack of commitment to growth—that’s on you.
Pour into yourself so you can pour into your company and the people who work there.