Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Does It Mean to Experience Personal Growth?

Professionals (Photo credit: gwilmore)
by Dr Bruce Johnson

When you read the phrase "personal growth" it is often associated with an analogy of planting seeds and providing adequate water.

But experiencing true personal and professional growth is really about cultivating conditions.

It includes a mindset and an attitude that is necessary to support changes in your life and your career.

The idea of growing personally or professionally is usually born out of a desire to do more, become more, seek a different result or outcome, or adapt to changes within your life that were either expected or unexpected.

That desire creates a feeling it is time to begin to take action but when circumstantial evidence suggests that it may be uncomfortable or require existing habits to be changed, we may retreat back into our original comfort zone, replacing dreams with fear.

Any type of growth requires both a willingness to look past and look beyond. If you look only at the past you may allow questions, regret, or any other conditions you've associated with those events to become the dominant thought and stall the initial steps towards growth.

When you look to the past, use it as an opportunity to objectively evaluate your strengths and your weaknesses. Consider what worked well and what did not. Then prompt your growth by looking beyond and imagining something new.

When you are willing to conduct an internal self-evaluation do it from a place of respect for yourself rather than from a position of condemning past decisions so that you can discard thoughts, habits, and beliefs that are not serving you well. You always have a choice regarding the thoughts you focus on.

It is not an easy process at times when you become accustomed to patterns of thought that maintain the status quo, especially if you have developed comfortable routines for your life and career.

Personal and professional growth does mean that you have to completely change, rather it encourages you to learn and expand upon what you are capable of doing.

One of the most important steps you can take towards cultivating a mindset or condition for allowing personal and professional growth to occur is to not wait for an opportunity but make yourself opportunity-ready.

Learn to become proactive instead of reactive and you can accomplish through the development of an attitude that will allow you to grow without waiting for circumstances or conditions that force you to change.

Growth is an ongoing process, a constant evolution that you allow through your determination to never give up on reaching your full potential.

You can begin professional growth and move on through your attitude and mindset even if your career hasn't reached that point yet. That's what many people refer to as a leap of faith.

You believe in yourself, you ready yourself for change, you take proactive steps to learn, and you start the growth from within. That's how you experience personal and professional growth.

It's not from experiencing extrinsic results but cultivating an intrinsic state of mind. Every opportunity you receive, you create, and you do this through consistent and ongoing development.

Dr. Bruce Johnson has had a life-long love of learning and throughout his entire career he has been involved in many forms of adult education; including teaching, training, human resource development, career coaching, and life coaching.

Dr. J has completed a master's in Business Administration and a PhD in the field of adult education, with an emphasis in adult learning within an online classroom environment. Presently Dr. J works as an online instructor, faculty developmental workshop facilitator, faculty mentor, and professional writer.

Dr. J's first eBook, APPRECIATIVE ANDRAGOGY: TAKING the Distance Out of Distance Learning, is available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. Learn more by visiting

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