Have you ever thought about the essential ingredient for growth? It’s the one thing you absolutely must have if you want to increase your ability to get better in any area. And yet it’s often the hardest thing for a person seeking growth to find.
What might that one thing be?
Now, that may sound a bit overstated, but I promise you it’s not. The appeal of just “good enough” is powerful, so whenever someone decides to go beyond “good enough,” there is always push-back. You see, people love average. Average doesn’t require much more than showing up. Average gets you through life with minimal fuss, which makes it very appealing to some folks.
And that’s okay. People can be average. But average people often want others to be average too, and that’s where the challenge comes in. When you decide to grow, it threatens average, and the push-back inevitably begins. Suddenly, growth doesn’t look so appealing.
But if you’re committed to be the best person you can be, if you’re committed to something greater than average, you must choose to grow. And that starts with finding the courage you need.
So, where do you look? Here are three significant sources of courage for your personal growth:
1. Encouraging People
Anything you do in life requires other people, and finding the courage to grow is no exception. We all need cheerleaders, people who are in our corner giving us the confidence and courage to take on challenges. As Truett Cathy once said, “How do you know if someone needs encouragement? If they are breathing.” Spending time with even one or two people who believe in you and in your ability to grow will do wonders for your courage.
2. Encouraging Environments
A close second to encouraging people is encouraging environments. Whether it’s your office, your church, your community or your home, you need to spend time in places where your growth is not only allowed, but embraced. I believe so much in creating an environment that encourages growth that it’s something I strive for within my own organizations. I want team members to know, from the moment they join us, that they have support in pursuing their growth goals. Don’t minimize the importance of this in your life. Environment has a huge impact on all of us. Make sure to spend the majority of your time in an encouraging one.
3. Encouraging Words
Lastly, you can often find the courage you need in the words of other people. That’s one of the reasons I decided to write books: to be able, with words on the page, to offer courage to grow to people I might never get to meet. But maybe books aren’t your thing; perhaps you need some other way to get positive words into your soul. Encouraging words can be gathered from a wide variety of sources, like web seminars, podcasts, or online videos. Just make sure the people you choose to listen to have your interests at heart more than their own.
Growth isn’t for the timid. It takes honesty to admit that you aren’t as good as you could be. But being honest about your need for growth is only half the battle; to truly see change, you must summon the courage to act. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Courage [is] not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” If you’re looking for courage to conquer fear and grow, surround yourself with encouragement.