by Thomasina E. Skipper
If I could tell you how to double your income, improve your relationships and reduce your stress in life and at work, would you be interested? Well the answer to all of these questions is just a four letter word -GROW!!
Grow, a small word that packs a big punch.
As adults we are usually referred to as grown-ups. Now that’s kind of a misnomer. The term grown-up implies that growth is complete, through, over. Physically adults don’t grow like children. I haven’t grown an inch since I was 17 years old. As adults our growth takes place on the non-physical plane. We can grow mentally, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and financially.
You can’t see adult growth, but you can see the results of an adult’s growth. The quality of our daily lives is a reflection of our growth. I asked if you were interested in the results of growth at the start of this article: better finances, great relationships, more joy or life. Most us want what growth brings! Why then is it so difficult to achieve it?
Why!! I believe it is because we have to Know to Grow! that’s the fundamental difference between adult growth and children’s growth. Children are on automatic pilot. They breath, they grow. But adults have to know to grow. In other words we have to make a conscientious decision to “GROW”. Once we have cleared that first hurdle, we as adults need to discover How to GROW.
The first step toward your Personal Growth and Development is to do a self-analysis. Let’s examine that point a little closer. “Who am I?” “What do I believe in?” “Do I believe in myself?” “Am I where I want to be in my career or my life?” “Have I taken responsibility for my HAPPINESS?” “Do I like me?” “Do I love me?” These are some tough questions, but unless you take the first vital step to look inside yourself and get to know yourself, how can you determine what or where you should GROW TO—!
In Greek mythology, there was a god named Apollo, the son of Zeus. Apollo loved all mankind and he wanted to give mankind the single greatest truth of life. So he went to his father Zeus, the king of the gods, and asked for that truth so he could share it with all of mankind. Zeus wasn’t a nice god. He sat High and looked Low. He didn’t want to give mankind the great truth, but he couldn’t refuse his son. He told Apollo to hold the world on his back until he, Apollo, could discover the truth. After a very long time of carrying the whole world on his back he called to his father and said “I know the truth, the greatest truth for mankind is “Know Thyself”. In Greece today there is a statue if Apollo carrying a globe of the world and the at the base is inscribed with those words-KNOW THYSELF. You need to know Who you are and Where you are! The person in the mirror should be your best friend, that person should never be a stranger!
The next step in our “How to GROW” is a very hard step. Now that we know who we are we need to LOVE ourselves. The bible states that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The author of that great book of wisdom could have been more direct. He/She could have just said love your neighbor.
Have you ever thought about why that statement suggested that there should be a relationship between being capable of loving ourselves and our ability to love others? Do we need to love ourselves in order to be capable of really loving others?
If you don’t love you, how can you know or have a clue, how to love me? Work with me? Care for me? Console me? Pearl Bailey once sang “You cannot belong to anyone until you belong to yourself.” Loving yourself is not only crucial to your growth, it is the foundation of any personal growth.
The most difficult step in the “How to GROW’ journey is for us to take responsibility for ourselves. It is so easy to abdicate responsibilities for ourselves to others. Sometimes, we find ourselves in circumstances and difficult situations and we want blame someone else.
What I have learned is that life either happens to you or it happens with you! We have to work purposefully toward happiness, we have to take responsibility for our happiness. The moment I accepted that I was responsible for my current situation, Where I am, What I do and Who I am, I was empowered to take me anywhere I wanted to go. I am responsible for finding the work I felt called to do and to be proud of the person I was becoming. I realized I am responsible for my Happiness at work and at home. My coworkers, boss, husband or my children are not responsible for my Happiness. Just ME! The freedom we gain by taking total responsibility allows us to move forward! To GROW!
I discussed this journey in terms of getting to know ourselves, to love ourselves and a willingness to take responsibility for ourselves. So, now that we have the answers, all we have to do is get on with this Grow thing, right?
Wrong. This is the real world and sometimes there is a breakdown between knowing the answer and living the answer. In my observations there are at least two (2) main culprits, there may be more than two, but for most of us it is at least two major obstacles in being able to live the GROW answer.
The first and greatest is FEAR. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of losing something or someone, fear of embarrassment. FEAR=False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear will keep you from going back to school or from learning a new job. Fear can keep us from living the answer. We have to work to remember fear is false. We give it power in our life! When we look FEAR in the eye and deny it, Fear goes away.
The first cousin to fear and our second foe is PROCRASTINATION. Not as bad as fear but closely related. Procrastination will leave us a day late and a dollar short. Ask yourself why you waited until the last minute. Could it be that you committed to a person or activity that you really don’t want to.
Put it to your test of 1) Know, 2) Love and 3) Personal Responsibility. Is fear lurking in the shadows, or are we abdicating the responsibility for our own happiness to others and showing our defiance through PROCRASTINATION?
What I’ve talked about so far is classic goal-setting techniques. Life is the journey, not the destination. But how can we apply these theories to our home, work and community?
If you are raising children and you are not reading or studying to improve yourself, they won’t either. If you are unhappy and living daily with discontent, what other way will they know? If in picking your mate you act like a peasant, but you want to treated like a King or Queen, aren’t you sending confusing signals? Have you stopped to meditate to hear the answers to the questions and dilemmas that can only come from within you? Have you tapped into your inner peace that allows you to say with conviction – “this too shall pass”. Or are you a willing victim of every crisis? The Chinese, one of the oldest civilizations known to mankind, have a symbol for their words. In the middle of the word for crisis is the word OPPORTUNITY.
It doesn’t matter who signs your paycheck – you work for yourself. Your work – be it data input, customer service, selling, teaching, etc.– has your signature stamped on it! What you sow, so shall you reap. Poor or mediocre performance at anything is a habit that will carry on into other areas of your life. When I was a self-employed business owner, I was paid by hundreds of people. When I was a corporate employee, I was paid by thousands of people. In both incidents I worked for me! Your company, your community and your country needs everybody to carry the load to create an improved and enlightened society of the future. We all have something to bring to the table.
I started this article by asking you “If I could show you how to improve your finances, relationships and reduce stress, would you be interested?”
We have discussed growth philosophies and attitudes. I want to leave you with this thoughts:
- Teach Yourself to THINK. Exercise your brain daily.
- Learn the MAGIC OF BELIEVING! What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
- Use Failure as a LESSON TOWARD SUCCESS. Thomas Edison said he did not fail at inventing the light bulb 101 times, he just discovered 101 ways it would not work.
- Know when, where and how to REINVENT YOURSELF.
- Understand in any given situation that you only have three (3) choices: 1) Go, 2) Stay or 3) Change Your Attitude.
You Grow when you believe you control your destiny!