How Do You Experience Personal Growth?

How to Know When You Are Experiencing Personal Growth

I recently watched a video of Brian Tracy explaining the different cycles of personal growth, from the exhilarating highs of starting a new adventure, to the inevitable lows as we work our way through obstacles and challenges. However, for most of us, we seem to be in the interminable stage of personal growth that Brian referred to as plateaus. Nothing seems to be happening, and if there is something, it certainly isn’t happening fast enough.

Ever feel like that? I know I certainly do!

Now just down the street from my condo building here in Toronto is some new construction. For many years now, I’ve used the analogy that personal growth is very much like putting up a skyscraper. Let’s see if you agree.

You Experience Personal Growth Even If Nothing Is Happening

Looking out my bedroom window from my 23rd floor view, I see a blank field. For all intents and purposes, nothing is currently happening here. Oh sure, they come by and cut the grass every week or so. But for right now, the piece of land is vacant… there’s nothing happening.

Or is there?

Just a couple of weeks ago, there were survey teams and road crews working on the streets around that property. Somebody, somewhere is planning something. It’s inevitable.

So how does this apply to personal growth in your life? You know your life is in a constant state of change – there simply is no status quo. In fact, “Stop the world, I want to get off,” is a sentiment that many of us feel a good part of the time.

Just remember this; even if you think your life is floating along gloriously on an even keel right now, somebody, somewhere is planning something. And it will directly affect your personal growth.

You Experience Personal Growth When All the Wrong Things Are Happening

After the planning and ground clearing stage, what’s the first thing the workers do when building a skyscraper?

That’s right, they dig a hole – the bigger the structure, the deeper they dig!

This hole digging stage seems to go on and on forever. It’s dusty; it’s muddy; it’s dangerous.

Think of when you take on a new project, whether it’s starting new career or business, a new relationship or even tackling a major health challenge. Personal growth in these situations is exactly like a construction site.

You start off with grand plans and ideas of how your perfect life will be. But then there are things to clear out from past experiences. Often you find yourself digging a huge hole, sinking all your time, money and energy just to get things going.

The encouraging news here is that just like the big building, you don’t start reaching for the sky until all the concrete and steel reinforcements are put into place. At this stage of personal growth, you may consume the most energy, but you’re also getting all the strength you need to move onward and upward.

You Experience Personal Growth Especially When It’s Not Fast Enough

The new high-rise condos down the street were supposed to be occupied by this summer, 2009. Unless some kind of miracle takes place, it simply isn’t going to happen until no earlier than spring 2010. Again, as in your own personal life, even the best plans rarely go without some kind of a hitch.

I’m sure there were many delays due to supplies, workers, schedules and a whole myriad of snags and snafus. To be sure, there’s still a buzz of activity around the construction site. People are busy but things don’t seem to be getting done fast enough.

This is the plateau stage where it’s still costing you time, money and energy but you’re not seeing any kind of return. It’s discouraging. It’s frustrating. It’s infuriating.

It’s certainly sapping all the strength you gained during that foundation laying period. A lot of people quit at this stage, abandoning a nearly completed project to go and start something new.

This kind of thinking wouldn’t make any sense at all in the construction industry. Yet, people do it every day with their lives. Something to think about.

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