COLUMN: F.O.C.U.S. Time — Growing pains

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I looked at it and it seemed to be looking back at me with nervous trepidation.

On the car ride home from one of my first speaking engagements, the gift received sat there beside me in the front seat. It was the scariest little thing – a plant. The poor little creature was doomed before I ever seat belted it in.

The conference director had no idea that I did not have a green thumb. My new friend, who would later become my greatest inspiration, was decorated with a lovely bow and card that
read, “May this plant grow as does your speaking venture.”

I wanted to cry. All the way home I continued to tell my plant how sorry I was and that its chances of survival were close to zero. I really believed I saw its leaves beginning to droop.

After that long drive home and “talk” with my plant, the decision was made to help foster a nurturing environment to aid in its survival. However, I needed to be intentional and diligent about my commitment. A promise was that I would do anything and everything in its process of growth.

With this in mind, I began to apply this same attitude towards my own life. Asking myself such questions: What areas in my life needed to improve? My finances? My career? My relationships? My mental and physical health?

Reflecting on these questions and writing down the answers, began my personal growth journey. Like caring for my beautiful plant, being intentional about growth became a priority.

So how can an individual be intentional regarding personal growth in these or any other areas of their life? Just GROW:

G – Give up all that impedes personal growth. To obtain favorable results on the
personal growth journey one must choose to give up and let go of that which stunt your growth such as harmful habits, negative influences, procrastination, blaming, etc. Make a list of these impediments. What can be changed? What steps can be taken to make these changes?

R – Receive the necessary daily nourishment for personal growth. Read books that feed the mind in a healthy and positive way. Listen to podcasts or music that will help motivate, inspire, and encourage. Nourish the mind with healthful viewing. Take steps to strengthen the mind, body and soul.

O – Overcome negative self-talk that brings about dryness, discouragement, dissension and discontent. Actions reflect what one says and thinks about themselves. Take time at the end of the day to reflect on those thoughts and the actions that followed. Focus on those areas that need improvement.

W – Willing to work on the soil and weeding is daily for optimal growth. Personal growth takes work and time, but it’s well worth it. Just ask any person who enjoys caring for plants. They learn ways to care for the plant by providing opportunities to be its very best. Always watching for pesty bugs or diseases that may bring about its doom. Be alert. Watch for the weeds that may take over. Keep working. Keep improving. Keep growing.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that growth happens overnight. It does not. Growth takes time. Growth takes work. Growth takes patience. Growth is a daily process.

Courage, determination and perseverance are a few of many trademarks of those who desire to grow and be the best version of themselves. Do not allow others negativity and doubt stop you from growing towards your full potential.

Just ask my plant. After 15 years of “close calls,” my once little car ride companion who thought it was doomed, is still alive and growing! It now looks at me and I could hear it say, “Thank you for not giving up on me.”

Diana Jaworski, F.O.C.U.S. Coaching Services, is a certified coach, teacher, trainer and speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team. Learn more about personal growth by visiting her website at www.dianajaworski.com.

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