The Path to Growth

With the full height of summer upon us, July brings to us the summer solstice, a reminder to turn inward and find nourishment needed to grow and evolve. One way to GROW is to set goals for ourselves. Achieving these goals and celebrating the victory is really about challenging the status quo to elevate our wellbeing . After all, the reason why we set goals is to improve our current situation, aspiring for better – better health, better work, better relationships, better outcomes!

Through effective goal setting we develop, learn new skills and improve not only our own lot but also our organizations. The drive to self-actualization stimulates our own well-being and also has a ripple effect that contributes to the improvement of ourselves, our organizations, our families, our communities, and ultimately our world!

When we stand still our society also stagnates as a by-product. Investing time and effort in our personal growth is vital to creating and sustaining a thriving global community. As we open up our own horizons by venturing into creative outlets that liberate our full potential, the expansion and growth of others is also made possible because we are all interconnected. Regardless of the objective, in order for growth to take place it requires us to step boldly out of our comfort zone. We need to take charge and set into motion the pieces and actions that are necessary to propel us and to create the growth we seek. We need to drive past our current boundaries and get creative! No growth happens unless we push past the confines of our comfort zone and stretch our limits.

Even though growth is a process, in order for growth to occur, it requires a great deal of input of energy, effort and commitment. It doesn’t mysteriously transpire on its own. Even in nature, the seed seamlessly turns into a blooming flower supported by numerous forces at play. When we want to foster growth, regardless of whether it is within ourselves, our teams, our company, we need to pay mindful attention, tap into our inner awareness to guide our growth. If we apply our efforts towards providing the right conditions, i.e. the right supportive environment and the right resources, progress can happen!

Significant growth requires setting aside time for reflection to define the type and extent of development that is called for. This allows creative ideas to germinate, percolate and finally take hold. Ponder on the following:

  1. Contemplate WHERE you see yourself in the future. Looking at the gap between where you are, or your organization is now and where the future trajectory is will help you define WHERE the growth needs to take place.
    HINT: Start by doing an inventory and have a look at where you are today. Consider investing some time to do a personal or organizational environmental scan, analyze your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to uncover your next steps.
  2. Unless you have unlimited time and unlimited resources decide WHAT degree of growth you want to invest your energy on and what aspects of your life or organization need the most improvement and change. WHAT would be some short term and/or long term objectives to help manage within your constraints?
    HINT: Prioritize and choose only a few growth areas to focus on. Don’t get inundated and overwhelmed. Spreading your time and effort over too many focus areas will result in stagnation not growth and become counterproductive
  3. Ask yourself WHY you want to challenge the status quo and change your current situation? Define the benefits of growth and be clear about the reason growth is necessary. Being able to refer to this when your enthusiasm starts to diminish. Knowing the WHY will give you a clear sense of purpose, keep you going and help prevent you from throwing in the towel!
    HINT: Keep yourself inspired. Reach out to others who are on the same growth path – sort of a “study” group to keep you motivated. Join others in creative pursuit of their own growth. We always go further when we grow in a community.
  4. Figure out HOW to best approach your growth and development. Will it be through self –study or formal education/training? HOW do you best learn? Is it by seeing (watching someone else go through), hearing (listening to someone explain their growth journey) or doing (jumping in feet first and figuring it out on your own)? Make sure to adjust your learning plan accordingly. Stay curious and make sure to add creative outlets in your learning plan.
    HINT: Ask someone you respect who is already at the level of growth you want to achieve to be your mentor. They will provide you with a sounding board and will help to be your compass as you navigate your own growth journey.
  5. Keep TRACK of your progress. There are many algorithms out there for calculating growth rates. Start with where you are today, subtract the past that doesn’t serve you and only keep what you have learned from it. Build your growth and development upon your past.
    HINT: Recording your headway shouldn’t be a chore. Make it fun. Incorporate a variety of tools such as photos (before and after), colourful logs, or whatever will help to motivate you and to serve as a reminder of how far you have come.

Armed with your insights on where, what, why, how, you want to grow, there is one caution to keep in mind. Growth and development are not something you can finish or be done with. Never stop growing. To quote a famous Chinese proverb “Be not afraid of growing, be afraid of standing still.”

To nourish yourself and keep growing, check out all the current programs that Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre has to offer to help you fill your growth quotient, visit www.joshuacreekarts.com

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