Whatever you feed daily will become the reality of your life. We will always grow exactly what we sow, nurture, and cultivate. So, if we want to experience personal growth on a daily basis, we need to practice certain disciplines on a daily basis. Incorporating healthy best practices daily will lead to an abundance of renewal, refreshing, recalibration, recharge, replenishment, and resilience.
A personal daily reboot is critical.
Here are 7 Simple Paths for Daily Personal Growth…
1) Feed… Self-Care
Constantly feed and nourish yourself. Take time for you. In The Teaching Of The Buddhist Master, we read that, “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 to Self-Care. Leaders tend to be “high-people-care”, “high-octane”, “high-performance” people in, “heavy-people-care”, “high-stress”, “large-responsibility” environments. So, 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 how-to 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 quick test: What comes out when you are squeezed?…
- Spiritually – Find your spirituality and take the time to honor it. This can be as simple as healthy values…
- Professionally – Proactively assess how you can add to a healthy workplace, using what you can control…
- Relationally – Relational health leads to overall health…
- Financially – Take time to review your finances and work to de-stress in this area…
Pooh’s Little Instruction Book gives us wisdom here: “Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” Captain J.A. Hadfield said it like 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 cannot look after ourselves.
Personal Healing and Recovery Often Look Like This:
- 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 3 ways when it comes to their impact on our personal energy levels and our ability to heal:
- They Are Neutral… No impact.
- They Drain… Negative impact. Usually unintentional. Keep the drainers to at most 50%.
- They Replenish… Positive impact. At least 25% 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
2) Weed-Out… Self-Assess
Marcus Aurelius said that, “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 this process 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.
“If you leave the smallest corner of your head vacant for a moment, other people’s opinions will rush in from all quarters.” – George Bernard Shaw
“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?” – Julia Cameron
“People who project negativity typically have low self-esteem. They feel badly about themselves, and their negativity is simply a reflection of those feelings.” – Hendrie Weisinger
“Negativity can only feed on negativity.” – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
“Negativity is expensive. It costs companies millions of dollars each year.” – Gary Topchik
“It’s the simplest properties that will help you clear yourself of negativity … The profound power of a simple prayer. The strength of a deep breath. The gentle guidance of good music.” – Jeffrey Wands
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.”
3) 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 Mental & Emotional Support System: a system of beliefs, thoughts, and emotions which support them in their dreams and aspirations, rather than hinder them. We are really talking here about Stimulating Learning…
So much of personal growth is about growing a bigger “bowl” … 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.
“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.” – Mahatma Ghandi
“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” – James Allen
“As a person believes in their heart, and as a person thinks in their mind, so are they.” – Hebrew Proverb
“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.” – Anthony Robbins
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Your faith box and self-mirror determine your whole life: what you think, feel, experience and do; what you create, grow, build and dream. You are thinking, feeling, experiencing and doing what your faith-box contains and what your self-mirror shows. You are creating, growing, building and dreaming what your faith-box allows and what your self-mirror permits” …“Your perception of yourself is so important. How you view yourself determines & affects so much. You’ll never behave consistently in a way that contradicts your view of yourself. Until you start seeing yourself for who you really are, and stop thinking of yourself as rejected, inadequate, or unable to do anything of value, you will never achieve all you can!”- Abe Brown
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” – Buddha
So, we need to devote ourselves to reading, if you are a natural at this or not.
Leaders who consistently read, grow more and are “fresher” than leaders 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…
4) 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. When you do all these things, you will constantly reproduce who you are into 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.”
So, 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. Karma is what karma is. So, work it to your advantage!
5) Intercede… Support
Advocate for others and support them!
Support especially those you lead, 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 up 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. 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:
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
“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.” – Leo Buscaglia
“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.” – George Washington Carver
“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.” – George Bernard Shaw
6) Need… Surrender
Do not 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 will 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…
7) Lead… Set An Example
Leadership is about setting an example. It is about being a pattern, a model, a prototype, 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 Believe the Way You Believe (in a leadership context),
- To Frame Things the Way You Frame Things,
- To Think the Way You Think,
- To Speak the Way You Speak,
- To Respond the Way You Respond, and
- To Do What You Do?
7 Simple Paths for Daily Personal Growth. So powerful. So personal. So simple. And yet a challenge. Dale Carnegie Gave Us An Amazing Definition Of Leadership, Which Also Serves As A Reality Check:
“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: What we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”
4 Critical Measures: What We Do. How We Look. What We Say. How We Say It.
7 Simple Paths to Personal Growth:
- Feed – Self-Care
- Weed – Self-Assess
- Read – Stimulate
- Seed – Sow
- Intercede – Support
- Need – Surrender
- Lead – Set an Example
In your own personal leadership development, I love the words of George Bernard Shaw: “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”
Please take a few moments to check this video out – “You Are Powerful Beyond Measure”
Missed last month’s blog post – read it here!