I’m NOT a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Part of the reason I’m not a fan is because they tend to be made in a place of hype and excitement, rather than intention and introspection, and part of the reason is because they simply don’t work. According to Business Insider, approximately 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February, and so the odds are against you.
I AM a big fan of living with strategic focus, priorities, intention, goal-setting, and planned neglect, i.e., planning to neglect everything that is not connected to my priorities. I AM a big fan of “to-do” lists, and also, “not-to-do” lists.
And no matter what your specific goals for 2019 may or may not be, growth, both personally and professionally needs to be at the top. I don’t fear failure, I fear being in the exact same place next year as I am today. And the only way I will not be in the same place one year from today is if I grow, expand, change, and evolve. Many people say they want change. The good news is, change is something that will occur no matter what. Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. So, what are the Top 9 Ways to Continually Grow in 2019?
The Top 9 Ways to Continually Grow in 2019…
1) Feed… Self-Care
Constantly feed and nourish yourself. Take time for you.
In The Teaching Of The Buddhist Master, we read the following: “Your breathing is your greatest friend. Return to it in all your troubles and you will find comfort and guidance.”
Take time to breathe. To reflect. To self-nurture. Devote a tithe, 10% of your waking hours to self-care, self-nourishment, paying attention to yourself and your own needs.
If there is any truth that leaders especially need to get a handle on, it is learning Self-Care. Leaders tend to be “high-people-care”, “high-octane”, “high-performance” people in, “heavy-people-care”, “high-stress”, “large-responsibility” environments. Thus, if we do not learn to Self-Care, we set ourselves up for disaster! We must learn to work smarter, and not always harder. I love the quote from Abraham Lincoln where he said this: “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.”
Here, the leader who led America through its darkest hour shared that though at times more effort is needed, often the right application of skill is what we really need. In other words, we need to learn to work smart, and not just work hard.
Many are burned out, stressed out, frazzled out, dried out and have dropped out, simply because they have never learned to work smart and Self-Care. Constantly feed and nourish yourself:
- Physically – healthy diet, appropriate amount of sleep, and regular exercise goes a long way.
- Mentally – nurture a positive attitude and a healthy frame of mind, not dependent on externals.
- Emotionally – Replenish yourself emotionally. The quickest way to find out? What comes out when you’re squeezed?
- Spiritually – Find your spirituality and take the time to honor it.
- Professionally – Proactively assess how you can add to a healthy workplace.
- Relationally – Relational health leads to overall health.
- Financially – Take time to review your finances and work to de-stress in this area.
Replenish yourself emotionally. The quickest way to find? What comes out when you’re squeezed?
Captain J.A. Hadfield said this: “This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men.” Part of Self-Care is giving ourselves time to heal and recover and get strength when we need it.
We are no good to others if we can’t look after ourselves.
2) Bleed… Self-Awareness
This speaks to authenticity. Vulnerability. Transparency.
It is impossible to grow if we are not self-aware and transparent, even vulnerable with others. Brene Brown said this: “You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” It’s a lot safer to walk inside your story and own it, rather than stand outside our story and hustle for worthiness and respect all the time.
This looks like being aware of your faults and flaws and taking time with quality people whom you can be vulnerable with and share them. You don’t need to confess your struggles and bad choices to the world on your Facebook page, but there needs to be 1 or 2 or 3 people whom you can take the armor off with, open up your heart, and share your life.
Personal Healing and Recovery Often Look Like…
- Quality Time with Yourself… To de-compress and de-stress; to process and work things through…
- Quality Time with People Who Replenish… Be aware of the impact of others on your personal healing and energy. People generally behave in one of three ways when it comes to their impact on our personal energy levels and our ability to heal:
- They Are Neutral… No impact. Keep the neutrals at 25% of the people you are around.
- They Drain… Negative impact. Usually unintentional. Keep the drainers at 25% of the people you are around.
- They Replenish… Positive impact. At least 50% of the people around you need to replenish you. To attract more replenishers, be a replenisher. For good or bad, we often reflect what we are.
3) Weed… Self-Assessment
Marcus Aurelius said: “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” Nothing drains energy like negativity. Part of ending negative thinking is taking time to evaluate and weed out all the negative thinking and negative influences within your life. Constantly weed out the negative and unhealthy in your life.
George Bernard Shaw: “If you leave the smallest corner of your head vacant for a moment, other people’s opinions will rush in from all quarters.”
Julia Cameron: “What we focus on, we empower and enlarge. Good multiplies when focused upon. Negativity multiplies when focused upon. The choice is ours: Which do we want more of?”
Hendrie Weisinger: “People who project negativity typically have low self-esteem. They feel badly about themselves, and their negativity is simply a reflection of those feelings.”
Gary Topchik: “Negativity is expensive. It costs companies millions of dollars each year.”
Constantly get free in every area of your life. Never allow anything to bind you up, be it a habit, an activity, a relationship or bitterness. Constantly ask where you need freedom and where you need to forgive others. Take every activity and relationship and apply to it the “3-B Test”:
- Is this beneficial? Does this activity or relationship bring benefit to me?
- Is this bondage? Could I end this activity or relationship if need be?
- Is this bitterness-producing? Does this activity or relationship cause bitterness or bitchiness in me?
Charles Reade famously said: “Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
4) Read… Stimulate
There can be no doubt that where the mind goes, the man follows. We are what we think and become the product of the thoughts we consistently believe and embrace.
Effective people work on themselves down to the detail of their daily thought life and teach themselves how to think healthy thoughts consistently which will empower and inspire them.
Leaders develop a “Healthy M.E.S.S.” – a Healthy Mental & Emotional Support System: a system of beliefs, thoughts, and emotions which support them in their dreams and aspirations, rather than hinder them.
So much of personal growth is about growing a bigger mindset… Before any major goal can be achieved, the goal must first become a reality in the mind. When we learn how to use the imagination, when we imagine a goal being achieved, so much that the feelings we have about the goal are the same as if the goal as already been achieved, then the goal becomes a reality.
Mahatma Ghandi: “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
James Allen: “The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.”
Hebrew Proverb: “As a person believes in their heart, and as a person thinks in their mind, so are they.”
Anthony Robbins: “Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.”
George Bernard Shaw: “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”
Buddha: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”
Jesus: “All things are possible to him that believes…” Mark 9:23
“According to your faith, be it unto you…” Matthew 9:29
So, we need to devote ourselves to reading, if you are a natural at this or not. People who consistently read grow more and are “fresher” than those who do not. Set a goal to read at least one book per month, progressing to one every two weeks and then one per week…
5) Seed… Sow
Constantly sow seeds into the lives of others. True leadership is about pouring time, encouragement, counsel, positive energy, validation, affirmation and mentoring into the lives of others. Mentoring and coaching people keeps us sharp and healthy.
R. Buckminster Fuller said that, “You can rest assured that if you devote your time and attention to the highest advantage of others, the Universe will support you, always and only in the nick of time.” Thus, it makes sense to support, strengthen, encourage and build others up!
Be a light in their darkness. Offer hope when they are hopeless. Give kindness when they have been mistreated. Gently heal when they have been wounded in the rough of tumble of life and work. Share solutions when they are looking for answers. Be a bundle of support and life for others and they may return the kindness.
Ann Landers said, “Warmth, kindness and friendship are the most yearned for commodities in the world. The person who can provide them will never be lonely.”
An irreversible principle of life is that we always harvest the seeds we have sown.
6) Intercede… Support
Advocate for others and support them. Operate with kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion. Operate out of a place of non-judgmentalism. Support others on a consistent basis. Speak for those who cannot or will not speak for themselves. Create opportunity for others where opportunity has not been created. Open space and warmth and a healthy environment for those who have not had that happen for them. As we step out and lead others, we grow.
Dalai Lama: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
Leo Buscaglia: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
George Washington Carver: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”
7) Need… Surrender
Don’t walk in pride. Keep yourself constantly humble and needy. Keep your ego in check. Don’t have an inflexible agenda. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.
The power of humility is that it draws all the support and help you need to thrive and be successful. Pride and ego repel people. It discourages them from offering the help you may need, because you project that you do not need anything.
Be like the Greek word for “meekness”, a war horse that is trained and powerful, yet under control. Benjamin Franklin said that, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.”
You may feel like Ted Turner, who famously said that, “If I only had a little humility, I’d be perfect.” The truth is that for many great leaders, humility is the missing ingredient…
8) Lead… Set an Example
Life and leadership are about setting an example. It is about being a pattern, a model, a guidepost. If you want a brutal assessment of your personal leadership, ask yourself this question: Can you generally tell people that if they want to be a leader, to watch you and listen to you, and pattern themselves after you:
- To see things as you see them,
- To frame things as you frame them,
- To think as you think,
- To speak as you speak,
- To respond as you respond, and
- To do what you do
9) Breed… Succession Plan
You don’t need to be at the top of a large corporate organization to succession plan. Humanity is currently facing a leadership vacuum, and even if you don’t believe that, it would be hard to argue that there are enough positive and responsible people in the world. So, if you believe that you are a good person and add value to the planet, then breed and constantly reproduce who you are into others. Do something today that your future self will thank you for, and that something is reproducing yourself into others.
Mentoring and coaching others keeps us sharp and healthy. There is no greater exercise to strengthen the heart than to reach down and lift someone else higher. Leave a positive footprint somewhere! See your role as reaching out and lifting up. In the words of George Bernard Shaw: “This is the true joy of life: being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
Fight for your best 2019. No matter what your specific goals for 2019 may or may not be, growth, both personally and professionally needs to be at the top. How can we guarantee growth in 2019?
1) Feed – Self-Care
2) Bleed – Self-Awareness
3) Weed – Self-Assess
4) Read – Stimulate
5) Seed – Sow
6) Intercede – Support
7) Need – Surrender
8) Lead – Set an Example
9) Breed – Success Plan
Read the last blog post here featuring one of our graduates.