How Personal and Professional Growth is Based on New Beliefs, Actions, and Outcomes

The Gist:

  • Every human being has potential greater than they can imagine.
  • The main challenge to growth and development is our inability to change our beliefs and our actions.
  • Activating your potential comes from giving up who you are not, to make room for the person that comes after the person you are now.

There is a recipe for personal and professional growth: follow it, and you will become something more than you are now. You will become the person that comes after the person you are now, the person you are meant to be. Most avoid the recipe for growth because it is uncomfortable and, at times, difficult. Others find the recipe so compelling that they continue to follow it over the course of their life, recognizing that they always have greater potential available to them.

Every step of this process is both challenging and necessary. It is impossible to grow while avoiding the few things that cause you to grow. All who have tried have failed. But here’s the good news: at any time, under any circumstances, you can grow. The first step to growth is found in accepting that the current version of you is nowhere near your full potential. Pretending that you’re done growing does nothing but arrest your development.

New Beliefs

New Beliefs

There are a number of things that prevent growth. The first is our built-in desire to hold on to our beliefs long after they stop serving us. The second is our tendency to only strive to the point that we are comfortable. The third, and most significant, is the difficulty of giving up who we are now.

It is impossible to grow without changing one or more of your long-held beliefs. If you can’t change your mind about something you have believed for as long as you can remember, your growth is almost certainly stagnant. Some people who experience a major trauma often describe their experience as being “the best thing that ever happened to them,” even though the trauma itself was terrible. It helped them, they explain, because it let them recognize what is truly important, providing them with a greater sense of clarity.

Fortunately, a traumatic experience is not necessary to update your beliefs, but some find the alternative equally troubling. To change your beliefs you have to be willing to accept the idea that something you have long believed may not be true. You have to question your existing beliefs before you can replace them with new ones.

Once a human being gets comfortable, they tend to let themselves stop growing. Maslow’s hierarchy requires that you meet your physiological needs, your security needs, your need to belong, and your self-esteem needs. Self-actualization, the idea of recognizing your full potential, doesn’t seem to be a need in that sense: some people take to it naturally, while others have to make a conscious choice.

Human consistency is necessary to our social nature. After all, it is difficult to trust people who say one thing and do another. This is both a feature and bug in our programming. It’s good to be consistent, but it’s not so good to never change your mind about anything. It can be incredibly difficult to give up the person you are, as you have committed to certain beliefs and a certain way of being. The people who know you best will, no doubt, recognize the change. Some will be shocked that you are different, while some will worry about losing you. But once you shed a certain belief or set of beliefs, they will learn to love the new and improved version of you.

If that doesn’t sound so hard, know that what comes next is no picnic.

New Actions

New Actions

There is a certain truth about growth that is rarely acknowledged:  you grow only when your skills are inadequate to your challenges. When you are inadequate to reach a certain result, you have to stretch yourself to be able to perform the actions that will deliver the outcome you want or need.

Your first challenge allows you to gain a little more competency, and that improvement provides you with a little more ability. Your increased ability gives you a shot at tackling something even more difficult. One of the keys to growth is found in the new actions that greater challenges require of you. A lack of significant challenges will prevent your growth and development.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for someone to provide you with a new challenge to address. You can seek out the challenges you believe are necessary for your growth, the kind of challenges that lead you to become the person that comes after the person you are now, the better version of yourself that is presently locked up inside you. I don’t believe anyone has ever reached their full potential, and I’m sure that I’m nowhere close. If anything, I’m a work in progress—as a realtor might put it, a charming little fixer-upper.

Growth starts with new beliefs and is nurtured by the new ways you act on those beliefs.

New Outcomes

New Outcomes

The new—and better—outcomes you want are just on the other side of your new beliefs and new actions. In any area you are not creating the results you want, your beliefs are incorrect or inadequate. You can lie to yourself, telling yourself that you do believe something to be true, but some part of you will know you are lying, sabotaging your progress.

The truth about your beliefs is that they are not true for you unless and until you take action on them. No new action, no new results. The new outcomes and results you want are not available to the person you are now, as that person isn’t willing to take the new actions or commit to them for as long as necessary to achieve their goals and ambitions. You can’t get there until you level up, becoming the person that comes after the person you are now.

Do Good Work:

  • What dearly-held beliefs might be preventing you from growing?
  • What actions would those beliefs require of you if you truly believed them?
  • How will the person that comes after the person you are now be different?

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