Personal Growth and Development: You and the Law of the Growth
We love looking at our family pictures. My daughter is 10 now, but she loves when we go through her baby pictures. These are some special times. “Look, I was so cute here,” she says. Or “I still have that doll. I’m going to keep it for my kids.” You can hear giggles and happy chatter around the house when we flip through the old pics. Sometimes I look at her and tell her the truth, “You’re still cute. In fact, you are very pretty. I’m happy to have you. I’ve always been.”
We talk about the life we had back in Europe, about leaving everything behind, moving to Canada with 6 suitcases and starting all over. We look at how little we had when we came and how much we have been blessed with. The journey we walked through as a family brings happy tears to my eyes. It’s so good to look back and see what we survived, how much we were blessed with and how much we all grew.
Isn’t this a life story? When you look back at your life, what battles did you win? How many struggles did you have to go through? What have you learned along the way? Where are you compared to where you used to be?
Some people believe that growth is natural. It happens automatically. I don’t share this belief.
Growth requires help.
Just look at the trees. They require sun, water, air, soil. Animals need help too – food, water, care, survival skills. Human babies need help to grow physically – from food and care to protection, we can’t survive on our own.
Our personal growth and development is no different. If you don’t learn, you don’t grow. You start learning from others as they teach you how to read and write, just to end up doing it on your own – reading, writing, discussing…
As we grow, we go through different stages. Many people don’t even know about them because they get stuck at stage one. Some move forward and make it to stage two. Very few understand the importance of moving beyond and reaching stage four. I hope that you will be one of those few.
Stage 1: Growing up
This is when you experience the help of others. You’re not sure what you need, but others help you get just what you need. They support your growth, help you to not only survive, but grow well. You can also call this stage a dependance. You need others to survive and grow. People who get stuck at this stage will always depend on others’ approval or help. This stage is very important as this is where the foundation is formed that you will build on during the upcoming stages. Yet, it’s important to remember that it’s meant to be just a foundation or springboard. Even though this stage can last couple years or lifetime, you are the only one who can move YOU to the next stage.
Stage 2: Maturing
At this stage you start becoming independent. You start learning on your own, you shape your own opinions, you come up with your own conclusions, you start taking responsibility for your own decisions and you invest in your growth. You learn because you know it’s important. You want to be and have more in life. You don’t settle for the status quo. You fight for your independence.
This is an exciting stage to be in. You surround yourself with people who matter to you (and some who don’t because they come with the package 😉 ) and you just soak in as much as you can. Unfortunately, many people never move out of this stage. They end up learning, studying life, even enjoying it, but living it completely selfishly.
Stage 3: Procreating
Hold your horses, you stepped in the wrong direction! Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about having babies. 😉
At this stage we take what we’ve learned and we invest in others. Yes, we continue to look at ourselves, mature and move forward (I hope you know that stage 2 is never over until the day we die), but now we also start looking at who else we can help, protect, support, grow. We take lessons we’ve learned in life and help others learn.
It’s not easy to move from maturing yourself to maturing others, but it’s very rewarding. If you never helped somebody, you can’t understand this. Just like somebody who never parented a child can’t understand how parents think of their children. That sense of achievement, commitment, happiness, sorrow, anger, and all the other emotions that show up during this journey are priceless. Once you have a “child” of your own, once you help somebody out there to grow and be more, you WILL understand and more words won’t be necessary.
This stage turns some of the people around you into critics. Some will challenge your “parenting” skills, some will no longer want to hang around you. You will most likely loose friends who decided to stay behind. This can hurt, but I encourage you to hang in there. Because the new friends you meet at this stage will understand, encourage and support you. Just keep on doing the best you can and growing in the process!
Stage 4: Legacy
We all know people who left a legacy. Giants like Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa are great examples. Some of you might have great predecessors in your family tree who changed the course of your family and made a big impact. But legacy doesn’t come with age. It doesn’t even come with position. We all know old people or people in positions where the only legacy they’re leaving behind is the relief that they’re gone (ouch, this hurts!). Legacy is so rare that it’s ready to use anybody who is willing to go beyond procreation stage, beyond influencing others and focus on making a difference.
I don’t know where you are today. And I don’t know how you want to use the life that was given to you. But I know that once you choose to take your life to stage four and leave a legacy, you WILL make a difference in a small scale or a big one. Taking your life to the next level is a choice you have to make on your own. My hope is that you take your chance.
Once you get to this stage, others will have an opinion about you. Some will love you and some will hate you. But those who love you will be the ones you were meant to impact with your life. The rest might hurt you, but will not stop your influence. Your impact will be imprinted in their lives already. Remember, at this stage it’s no longer about you. It’s about what stays behind you.
We now have a new thing to look forward to in my family. I asked my mom to bring some old pictures from her childhood and life and even some pics of my grandparents. We’re going to have a blast this summer as we discuss the past and look at how somebody’s decisions impact the lives of those who are to come.
Question: What stage are you currently on with your life? What do you need to do to take it to the next level? What can you do TODAY to get started? Let me know in the comments below what you are committed to do or improve. I want to know!