Five Steps to Achieving A Growth Attitude
Hopefully, most of us are willing to acknowledge that we aren’t perfect. Hopefully, most of us are willing to admit that we could be, as I like to say, even better than we are today. But in spite of these admissions, for some reason many of us have become a bit complacent in what we know and how we do things. This trend seems to be related to where we are in our careers and our life experiences. At some point in our career or journey we start to feel a bit like we have arrived. We feel a bit as if we’ve learned what we need to learn, and we’ve mastered our craft, and now we can be done.
I would challenge us to intentionally and frequently demonstrate a willingness to grow so that we can avoid the risk of obsolescence. Being willing to acknowledge that we haven’t arrived so much as we’ve had a wonderful journey so far opens the door to new technologies and approaches, sharper skills, and further advancement in our fields. We avoid the danger of being left behind as improvements roll out around us. And modeling a willingness to agree that we have gotten good at something, but there’s always room get even better helps those around us step up their game, too. There’s always room to try things that are a little bit harder and push ourselves just a little bit further. That’s how innovation happens. That’s where progress comes from.
So, what exactly would this growth look like? Here are five steps I encourage us to consider as we embrace an attitude of having a willingness to grow.
1. Acknowledge it.
It’s hard to improve without first acknowledging there is room for improvement. The first step is to acknowledge that there’s something you don’t know. Acknowledge and embrace a sense of curiosity. Acknowledge feedback and welcome it as an opportunity for growth. Acknowledge that staying current with your discipline or industry is necessary for continued relevance. Acknowledge that your credentials as a Project Manager, your certification as a Business Analyst, or any other professional license you might hold requires continued education because education is important. Acknowledge it, embrace it, welcome it, and be willing to move forward.
2. Seek-out growth.
The next step is to seek out opportunities for growth. Seek out opportunities to network with people in your discipline who are more advanced than you, or perhaps, people who are brand new and looking at things with a fresh perspective. Seek out like minded professionals who are, perhaps, in a different industry to see how their perspective might help you grow in yours. Take advantage of monthly chapter meetings within your organization and go listen to the speakers. Keep an eye out for the webinars available through various disciplines and the various opportunities for further learning that we encounter by way of newsletters, media posts, or other forms of communication.
Instead of waiting for something to bust through the filter of our already over-saturated eyes and minds, make a concerted effort to seek out opportunities to grow. Perhaps you do this once a month, or once every other week. Use whatever cadence works best for you to make an intentional effort to actively seek out learning opportunities.
3. Consume and absorb.
Let’s not stop there. Seeking-out growth is good, but consuming it is when we really start to see improvement. This means reading and absorbing, and if you don’t enjoy reading, then it’s listening and absorbing. This is the act of listening to understand and reading for comprehension. Perhaps you have a series of bestselling books that you are aware of in your discipline. Perhaps it’s a regular and intentional time where you read the latest posts from thought leaders of your industry, or the latest articles or publications on a topic that you are interested in. Perhaps its cueing up a professional development podcasts (like ours!) during your commute.
This act of reading or listening is a little bit different than the more engaging act of networking and exchanging ideas because, as a reader or a podcast listener, we must be willing to accept the gift of insight that is being offered to us. We don’t get to debate or ask questions in that moment. We simply get to process and reflect on it from our own perspective. A useful next step might be engaging in conversation with someone about what we’re reading and listening to as the act of speaking solidifies the learning. I recommend that we create regular (weekly, if not daily) opportunities to read or consume knowledge being provided by other thought leaders.
4. Try it.
The next step is to put our new knowledge to work by trying something new. Try a new skill, activity, or approach. Make an effort to adjust your routine or the practice of your craft with something you have learned. As with most things in life, new is not always easy, nor is it always comfortable. Be aware that there will be discomfort as you try new things. Be aware that the first time you try a new skill or approach, it may not work, and you may have to reflect on it some more and try again. So much of how we grow happens when we try things. The majority of our growth happens, not through reading about it or talking about it, but by actually doing it. Being willing to grow means accepting the vulnerability that comes with a statement like “This is new for me, but I’m giving it a try, and I’ll adapt from here”.
5. Reflect and engage.
Likely you’ve heard me use these words before. As with most processes, the last step is reflection and engagement. Just blindly reading, discussing, or trying something isn’t enough to solidify the learning. We need to engage with it and reflect on what’s working and what’s not. We need to spend some time considering the inputs that we’re receiving and the attempts that we’re making to apply them, and then we need to be committed to do even better. Reflect on it and make adjustments as necessary and keep going. This is how we demonstrate a willingness to grow.
So, there you have it. Five tips on how to be willing to grow. What works for you? Join us on social media.