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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
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...
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
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.
that it can take great effort to achieve a state of
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
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!
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.
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
How to make
sure your actions produce more results.
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.
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.
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
5. Have a
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Celebrate progress along the way and at the completion of
Share the glory.
Recognize and thank the people who have helped you