Growth That Matters!

Here’s a simple model for understanding personal and professional growth: 1) Feed Your Mind;  2) Engage Your Thoughts; 3) Establish Your Purpose.  Here’s a short description of each part.

What We Know

Intentional or not, our minds constantly take in new information and increase what we know.  So, people everywhere should be asking: “Am I living a low-information or a high information life?”  This is not a question about quantity.  It’s about quality.  Maybe a better question would be: “Do I stuff my mind with the junk food of pop culture, gossip, salacious novels, and the babbling of talking heads OR do I strategically feed my mind with high-nutrition information from sources that matter?” If you want to grow, don’t just feed your mind.  Nourish it!

“You are what you are and where you are because of what has
gone into your mind.  You can change what you are and where you are
by changing what goes into your mind.”
-Zig Ziglar

Some information scratches an itch or tickles a funny bone.  Some plays around with our moral compasses and plants seeds of negativity that influence the stories we tell our selves about who we are or should become. Even if we believe we can manage the negative impact, we reduce the available time and energy we have to take in beneficial information that prepares us for growth.

“You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day
by reading and listening to positive, life-changing content, and
by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”

-Zig Ziglar

The first part of the growth equation is this: “Growth begins with better management of your mental diet.”

What We Do With What We Know

“Information’s pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience.”
Clarence Day

The value a person gains from collecting and sorting information is barely a scratch on the crystal of potential.  Why?  Because gathering and organizing information is done faster and more efficiently by computers.  Information is what it is and nothing more until people get involved.  It’s real value is released when a person, not a machine, connects with its innate qualities, conceives a use for it, and creates context that places the information and its users into a leveraged position.  Whenever this occurs a person grows professionally and in market value.

Growth is the understanding that comes from engaging in real-life activities.  The potential value of what we know becomes more real as we put it to use. Everything we do to understand more broadly and more deeply paves the way to wisdom.Prepare to Win !

“There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot
 be realized until personal experience has brought it home.”
John Stuart Mill

Action has a way of forcing us to think, evaluate, rethink, and try again. When the brain is fully engaged, more than simply gathering and sorting, new wisdom is born.   This uniquely human phenomenon cannot be automated.

A one-and-done experience has some value, albeit limited. The greater value is released when we add two more elements to the experience: Commitment and Repetition. Commitment is the attitude of integrity. It says, “I insist on doing this right and I will do whatever to takes.” Repetition is the consistent practice that honors the promise you made to yourself.  “Committed, repeated action” is what we mean when we say, “Prepare to Win!”

“I’m not gonna give up, shut up, or let up…
 as a matter of fact, I’m just getting warmed up.”
-Zig Ziglar

The second part of the growth equation is this: “If you want to grow, do something useful with what you know.”

Why? The Question That Seeks Purpose

Many coaches and mentors teach the importance of identifying the why in life when choosing a career or making some other major life decision. This advice is invaluable. It’s equally important to periodically ask, “Why?” as a gut check and motivator. Why am I doing this?  Why is this task or rehearsal important?  A periodic revisiting of your purpose is every bit as important as discovering it on the front end of forming your mission.  Most why’s in life center around people.  Therefore, we must remember that people need us and we need to reconnect with our purpose if we are to remember them.

The third part of this basic growth equation is this: “Growth is sustained by serving a purpose bigger than you.”

Always Prepare to Win!

This message is the kind you would expect at a graduation ceremony.  However, I believe the essence of it belongs almost everywhere: in college recruiting conversations, freshmen orientation, classroom lectures, course assignments, student meetings with the dean, family meetings, parents advising their children, employee meetings with the boss, team meetings, church services and blog posts like this one.

“Knowledge gives you power… The more knowledge
you have about a subject, the better equipped
you become to link your daily experience to new opportunity.”

– Zig Ziglar and Tom Ziglar, “Born to Win”, p. 79, 81

Knowledge is Important, But…

Apparently, when it comes to formal education, we get it!  Formal education is widely considered invaluable as part of life’s preparation.  Although I tend to qualify this because the college experience is valuable only to the extent that one pays attention.  The late Jim Rohn said it this way: “Rarely does a good idea interrupt you.

Educational opportunities created in school make way for the acquisition of knowledge and a controlled environment where students can experiment with what they learn.  Of course, the diploma that one earns has value as a key credential for employment and advancement.  However, there’s one success factor that is widely overlooked — self-education.  College isn’t the only development opportunity and it doesn’t meet all growth needs.

“Formal education will make you a living.
Self-education will make you a fortune.”
– Jim Rohn

…Knowledge Without Wisdom is Impotent!

Your diploma is not a guarantee for success.  It’s not an invitation for a seat at the boardroom table.  It’s not a ticket to employment.  It’s not even a promise of getting an interview.  It is merely one of many essential credentials to be considered for employment.  While having an education will not always lead to the interview you want, you can be certain that not having one will likely disqualify from getting the interview.  The reason is simple.  Employers hire people, not repositories of knowledge.  The value you bring to the market goes beyond what you know.

Preparation Increases Your Value

Whether the task is small or large, always prepare.  Preparing means, “equipping yourself with the tools, skills, knowledge and attitudes you need to turn your plans into reality.”  Preparation includes learning, planning and practice.  Only then can you expect consistent and successful execution.

“The few who do are the envy of the many
who only watch.” – Jim Rohn

Success is the result of our daily commitment to preserving and increasing our value in the marketplace.  So, every day we should ask ourselves the following three questions:

  1. What will I do today to learn and grow?  (my promises)
  2. What will I do today to implement what I’ve learned and who I’ve become?  (my promises)
  3. How well did I do today in the areas of learning and implementation?  (assessing my promises)

“You must get good at one of two things:
planting in the spring or begging in the fall.”
– Jim Rohn

Prepare to Win is more than a slogan.  It’s the name of a program to help you become a better learner and a better implementer.  Click HERE for more information.