Guys, today I want to talk about when and how to challenge yourself to grow as a person.
Because personal growth is ALL THAT and MORE. Personal growth – taking action to increase self awareness and learn from your experiences and those of others in order to improve your life – is pretty much the KEY to happiness.
And no, I’m not even exaggerating. 😀
But anything with THAT kind of a promise is bound to be complicated. Personal growth is one of those processes that’s easily misguided. How do I know? Well, I know because my own personal growth efforts were a big fat waste for the longest time. I was making every possible mistake and getting nowhere fast.
So because I’m so intimately familiar with what happens when you do it wrong, I want to share with you how to do it right. I want to give you a sort of road map that hopefully allows you to avoid some of the pitfalls you might otherwise get stuck in along the way.
Here are my 5 rules for when and how to challenge yourself to grow as a person.
When And How To Challenge Yourself To Grow As A Person
1. Recognize Your Starting Point
Every journey has a starting point and so does a personal growth journey.
You arrive at that starting point with some luggage. Your luggage is your personality. You’ve had it with you since birth.
If you haven’t opened that suitcase for a while, examining these questions might be a good place to start.
It’s also good to note some things about the starting point you are standing in today.
- Where are you at in terms of life satisfaction?
- What is working and what is not?
- What is your greatest unmet need in this moment?
Personal growth requires the willingness to admit that some kind of change is in order. You need to be able to recognize when you’re banging your head against the wall – when doing the same old is just going to give you more of the same old.
You also need to be able to recognize that this is about YOU and nobody else. Your luggage is unique. Your starting point is unique. This means that whatever works for someone else’s journey doesn’t always apply to you.
You gotta pick and choose the lessons that apply to you based on who you are and where you’re at today.
2. Think Long And Hard About Who You Want To Grow Into
One potential pitfall on a personal growth journey is trying to grow yourself into someone you were never meant to be. This happens when you become hyper-focused on “self-improvement” and “working on your weaknesses”.
This focus on weaknesses stems from misunderstanding the goal of personal growth. The goal of personal growth is NOT to become “well-rounded” or a jack of all trades.
While it’s good to be aware of your weaknesses and develop in those areas just enough that they don’t hold you back, the main goal of personal growth is to develop your talents in order to achieve your fullest potential in life.
3. Don’t Challenge Your Feelings
Another personal growth pitfall is engaging in a losing battle against your feelings. You fight your feelings, because many of them are unpleasant and you simply don’t want to feel them. Or maybe you think you shouldn’t feel them.
But here’s the thing. Feelings – both good and bad – are always going to happen. Humans have six basic emotions:
And these emotions are persistent. They are going to keep nagging you until you allow yourself to feel them. The harder you shove them aside, the harder they fight back. But if you just let them come and go, they will do exactly that. They will come and GO!
Having feelings – good and bad feelings that come and go – makes you a normal human being. The goal of personal growth is not to become a robot without feelings – the goal of personal growth is to know how to process your feelings so that they don’t hold you back in life.
Having negative feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. You need to remember that your feelings say nothing about you as a person. It’s your actions that determine your character – not your feelings.
4. Do Challenge Your Thoughts And Beliefs
Feelings get a free pass, but thoughts and beliefs don’t. 🙂 Challenging your thoughts and beliefs is where real growth happens.
Do challenge the beliefs that lead to your feelings.
Perhaps you feel frustrated at work, because you BELIEVE that there is nothing you can do about the fact that you hate your job.
- Is this a 100% accurate belief?
- Is it really 100% impossible to improve the situation in any way, ever?
- What have other people in a similar situation done?
Do challenge the thoughts you have about your feelings.
Perhaps you feel frustrated at work and you beat yourself up for feeling that way, because let’s face it, at least you have a job.
- Is beating yourself up for having feelings really the most productive way to use your brain power?
Do challenge yourself to take action in response to your feelings.
Perhaps you feel frustrated at work, but you a) tell yourself there is nothing you can do about it and b) try to convince yourself to “think positive” and stop feeling that way. As a result, you take no action. An alternative approach would be to:
- Accept your feelings are valid.
- Feel your feelings.
- Ask yourself what actions you can start taking today to make these feelings less likely to occur in the future.
5. Do Challenge Yourself To Take Baby Steps Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Same old might suck. Same old might make you feel bad. And changing nothing changes nothing.
Yet, you resist change. That’s because same old is familiar. Same old is safe. Same old is your brain’s comfort zone.
When you step out of your comfort zone in order to grow – when you try anything new and different – you are going to be filled with insecurity and self doubt. It’s mighty uncomfortable.
But the secret to success is to anticipate this feeling and be prepared for it. It’s going to happen! You are going to freak out!
Just let yourself and then proceed anyway.
That’s the only way you’ll grow.