“Wisdom doesn’t always come with age, sometimes age comes alone” – John C. Maxwell
Every day presents us with new opportunities for personal growth. If we’re intentional with managing our spiritual, mental, emotional, physical health, and wellbeing, through self-assessment, we’ll discover a lifestyle that’s energizing and rewarding.
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway credits much of his success to spending most of his career reading and thinking. It takes discipline to schedule some quality time to slow down and reflect on where we’ve been and how aligned we are with our stated purpose.
Before I learned the value of contemplation or reflecting, I was not in the habit of assessing the pros and cons of past performances and outcomes, in the light of my purpose, “sharpening my saw” as Covey says, wasn’t always a priority with me.
The Power of Self-Awareness
Carl G. Jung says, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”
Self-awareness can be difficult; sometimes we’re unprepared to grapple with the truth about ourselves and the fact that we’re directly responsible for many of the undesirable outcomes we experience. Character development requires work; the lifelong learner understands that the greater the challenge, the more rewarding the payoff.
Personal growth in all areas of life increases balance in living a highly productive lifestyle. Avoiding or putting off working out our flaws denies us the benefits of balanced spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health.
Commenting on the synergy between spirit, heart, mind, and body, Stephen R. Covey says, “Living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. It’s all up to you. You can renew yourself through relaxation. Or you can totally burn yourself out by overdoing everything.” (1)
We all need a checkup from the neck up from time to time
I believe it will be helpful to revisit the following five questions several times a year; they can help us focus and keep our “intentionality meter” up to date.
1. Are you setting aside time for reflecting assessing and planning?
“Stopping to think about where it’s all going will save us from having to stop and think about where it all went.”-JSP
I assess myself each quarter to grade my performance to see if I’m on track to hit my yearly objectives. To help outperform my previous year, I read daily and take notes, between Kindle, hard copies, and audiobooks I’m going through several books each week. I continually write and speak on different topics; I’m on a constant stretch for self-improvement.
I like Rabbi Nachman’s statement, “If you are not going to be any better tomorrow than you were today, then what need have you for tomorrow?”
2. Are you prioritizing and “all in” with your personal growth?
You must be focused and specific when it comes to personal growth. If your personal goals aren’t in sync with your life’s purpose, you’re wasting your time.
- What new things have you been pursuing in the past six months?
- Do you have a checklist, wish list, or a bucket list?
- What items on your lists best contribute to your life’s purpose?
- Choose those items that best drive you toward your purpose.
Warren Buffett says, “Spending time on secondary priorities is the reason you have 20 half-finished projects instead of 5 completed ones. Eliminate ruthlessly. Force yourself to focus. Complete a task or kill it. The most dangerous distractions are the ones you love, but that don’t love you back.”
3. Are you immediately implementing what you’re learning?
Are you intentional with implementing new practices that fit your skillsets? Reading books, articles, listening to podcasts, watching videos, or discussing something new should be a part of your weekly habits.
Where do you go for guidance? Are you reaching your objectives? How much of what you apply is making a difference in your growth journey?
4. What are you doing daily to facilitate your growth?
Don Miguel Ruiz says, “You don’t need to change the world; you need to change yourself” Lifelong learners measure their choices then continue to manage their decisions. Personal growth happens one decision at a time, one day at a time.
5. How are you actively influencing others?
Are you intentionally adding value to those within your sphere of influence? We should all have vast deposits of wisdom and knowledge as we age, passing on our experience to the next generation. The more we grow, the more value we pass on to the next generation.
“We can’t improve what we don’t assess.” – Michael Hyatt
(1) “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” by Stephen R. Covey