Written November 3, 2015 and updated May 23, 2018:
I have been reading the book, "The Laws of Lifetime Growth" written by Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura (2006) and figuring out ways to apply these laws into my life, business, and family. Lifetime growth starts with accepting and believing that growth is essential to feel accomplished, satisfied, and live purposefully.
So what is growth?
Growth, as defined by dictionary.com, is the development from a simpler to more complex stage or the act or process or a manner of growing (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/growth?s=t). Sullivan and Nomura (2006) defines growth as the desire/foundation underlying the goals you want to pursue and things you want in your life that is not currently present. My definition of growth is constant improvement.
Why is growth so important?
Growth is a way of satisfying our need to be fulfilled and live a fulfilling life. According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, we are motivated by certain needs and by fulfilling these needs, we are also growing. For example, a need that we have is love and belongingness. We may make it a goal to express our love to our children or family on a regular basis. The action of expressing love on a regular basis is growth. Growth does not have to be BIG. Growth can be as little as I will learn to embrace silence. It's something you have not tried before and have the desire to learn it. Growth keeps us fascinated and engaged with who we are and want to become.
How to create growth?
Sullivan and Nomura (2006) suggests that these ten laws create lifetime growth:
1. Always make your future bigger than your past
2. Always make your learning greater than your experience
3. Always make your contribution bigger than your reward
4. Always make your performance greater than your applause
5. Always make your gratitude greater than your success
6. Always make your enjoyment greater than your effort
7. Always make your cooperation greater than your status
8. Always make your confidence greater than your comfort
9. Always make your purpose greater than your money
10. Always make your questions bigger than your answers
First, in order to create growth and have lifetime growth, you have to be a hungry student of life. When you start filling full, you can be flat-lining growth. An example of how I create growth, is reading. I'm always reading something about how to be a better parent, how to better discipline my children, where my children's development should be at, self-improvement and leadership book, etc. Another example is baking. I did not know how to bake and so I looked at some recipes and started trying it. Sometimes the bread turned out good and other times, it got thrown in the garbage. But I kept trying.
How to create growth and still be content?
There is this prejudice that contentment means to be a minimalist or not needing to grow when in fact, contentment is the state of mind of being satisfied with the way things are; meaning to be happy with you, your situation, and your environment, not to stop growing. There is this wonderful article written by Leo Babauta on "The Incredible Power of Contentment" that talks about having contentment and still improving (http://zenhabits.net/the-incredible-power-of-contentment/). You can say that growth is a means to be more content. I am incredibly content with my life because I'm doing what I love; being a mom, helping others, appreciating and enjoying all the things I have, but I'm still growing.
As I reflect on this article and how I have been growing in the last 3 years since, it has been a humbling experience in letting go. I have learned to let go of who I am supposed to be and embraced who I am. I have and continue to learn to change behaviors patterns that are not in alignment with my higher-self. I have become my most authentic leader and practice discipline in being the me I have always been and want to be. I have grown a business from zero to limitless possibilities. I no longer try to control life and allow it to be my best teacher. Embracing growth has allowed me to live the life of my dreams.
How are you creating lifetime growth in your life?