>> Be Intentional About Growth
Maxwell begins by saying:
"To become a better human being, you need to grow in character. To advance in your career, you need to grow in your skills. To be a better partner, you need to grow in relationships. To reach your financial goals, you need to grow in your knowledge about how money works. To enrich your soul, you need to grow spiritually."
This is a great reminder that you are in control of your life and to live a more fulfilled life, you must put in the work. People tend to fall into the trap of adulthood and become stagnant because they may be afraid of failure and the unknown. When in reality, we should be students for the rest of our life. Do you know those people who seem to have an answer to everything? Well to be honest, it's boring! People who are inquisitive and curious about life have a different energy about them.
Maxwell is spot on when he says, “We don’t improve by simply living, we have to be intentional about growth. To become intentional about growing, expect to make mistakes every day, and welcome them as a sign that you are moving in the right direction.” Maxwell helped me realize that I need to take every failure as an opportunity for growth. He offers an equation that will lead to success (or what some people like to call luck):
Preparation (Growth) + Attitude + Opportunity + Action (doing something about it) = Luck
>> There is Power in Self-Esteem
Have you heard of the Cherokee story? Well, the overall message is that we have two wolves battling every day. The good wolf and the bad wolf. The one who wins will be determined by which one you feed every day. My fiancé tells me to feed the good wolf whenever I feel lost, insecure, or afraid. Maxwell has a similar approach by saying, “Have faith and starve your fear.” When I tanked an interview I was excited about, I broke down in tears and questioned my competence. I told myself, “They would have never chosen you!” and “You screwed this up, now the opportunity is gone!” What I was doing was hurting my self-esteem. Instead, I apologized to myself for the negative self talk, and corrected my thoughts.
Maxwell has amazing insight on self-esteem, so I’ve listed my favorite quotes:
o If you don’t realize that you have genuine value and that you are worth investing in, then you will never put in the time and effort needed to grow your potential.
o It’s impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves. We can do very few things in a positive way if we feel negative about ourselves.
o (MY FAVORITE) If your desire is a 10 but your self-esteem is a 5, you’ll never perform at the level of a 10. If you perform as a 5 or lower, you are never going to be able to outperform your self-image.
o You can start achieving self-esteem by guarding your self-talk. The older we are, the more responsible we are for how we think, talk and believe. You should be more concerned about what you think of yourself. If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured the world will not raise the price. If you want to become the person you have the potential to be, you must believe you can!
o Become your own encourager, your own cheerleader. Every time you do a good job, don’t just let it pass; give yourself a compliment
o Your mission should be to become better today than you were yesterday. You do that by focusing on what you can do today to improve and grow.
o Most people underestimate themselves. They shoot for what they know they can reach, instead, they should reach for what's beyond their grasp
>> Discipline is a Morale Builder
Maxwell says,“Motivation gets you going but discipline is what keeps you growing.” I love this because it can apply to every single area of your life.
Have you ever had a fitness goal? You were so motivated you got new gym clothes, new equipment, and maybe even a cute yoga mat with a motivational quote on it (definitely me!) ? But once you get home from a long day, you didn't really feel like working out anymore? Well, that is the time when it really counts! Because on most days, you won’t have the motivation. Becoming disciplined will improve all areas of your life.
Maxwell gives this gem:
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments, and that bridge must be crossed every day. Over time, that daily crossing becomes a habit, and ultimately, people do not decide their future; they decide their habits and their habits decide their future.
I mean, AMAZING! And very true. If you want to grow, consistency is key! Small disciplines with consistency everyday lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.
However, with DISCIPLINE you also have to have PATIENCE. Maxwell says, "the people who grow and achieve the most are the ones who harness the power of patience and persistence. In the end, hard work is really the accumulation of easy things you didn’t do when you should have."
And remember--> When it comes to growth and successes, immediate gratification is almost always the enemy of growth.
>> Change Your Environment
Maxell says that we tend to get in life what we are willing to tolerate. If we allow others to disrespect us, we get disrespected. If we think it is okay to overwork and be underpaid, then that will most likely happen. The changes you need to make may not be easy or happen quickly, you might need to dig yourself out of a big hole, but you can do it.
He insists that you associate yourself with people that have integrity, who are positive, and are ahead of us professionally. Above else, to surround yourself with people who are growing.
Additionally, he says to find mentors and people who do what you want to do with excellence. In my experience I have found mentors through books, including Maxwell.
He says that the people whom you habitually associate are your reference group. They determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.
So, think long and hard about whom you’re spending the most time with, for wherever they are headed so are you. -mic drop moment!
>> Become Highly Strategic
Making your life a masterpiece, requires much thought, a clear idea, and selection when it comes to what paint you put on your canvas.-Maxwell
This section is one of the most difficult to implement. Nearly all successes are the fruit of initiative. Maxwell urges strategy because, “most people allow their lives to simply happen to them, they float along, wait, and reach. By the time a large portion of their life is behind them, they realize they should have been more proactive and strategic.” So even though you might WANT to grow, you need to be STRATEGIC about how you do it.
He offers a tactic that has worked for me in college which is:
Always multiply by two. If you think something will take you an hour to do, plan for double to stay out of trouble. If you think a project will take a week to accomplish, allot for 2 weeks. This will give you enough time to proofread, reexamine, and only put out your best work.
As someone who studied business analytics, I agree when he says, “Any kind of progress requires the ability to measure and for that reason, your systems must include a way to measure your results.” I also believe that sometimes it doesn’t necessarily need to be measured numerically. It can simply be taking progress pictures throughout your fitness journey.
>> Reflection is Key
Stopping to reflect is probably the most important because if you are going down the wrong road, you don’t need motivation to speed up. You need to stop, reflect, and course correct.
"There's an old joke that experience is a hard teacher because the test is given first and the lesson is given afterward. That's true, but only if the person takes the time to reflect after the experience."
One of the most helpful reflection tools I use is the happiness planner. They offer free printables on their website and now a cool app that helps you reflect daily, as well as guided journals.