How to Make a Growth Plan
When I lead discussions about personal development, I always ask who would like to experience personal growth? Everyone raises their hands. And I love that. But when I ask who has a growth plan… Silence. Usually, no hands are raised.
In this article I’m sharing a link to my own growth plan template, along with two principles to guide our thinking about personal growth.
Growth is not automatic. It must be intentional.
Many people think personal growth is automatic, that we will naturally grow if we live long enough. This is a myth. While some growth can occur without intentional effort, the best growth happens when we are deliberate and strategic.
Personal growth is not automatic. It must be intentional.
When I adopted this principle eight years ago, I began to devour everything in sight that promoted growth. I read, attended seminars, and met with mentors. However, my efforts were random and immeasurable. I was passionate about growing, but I lacked a plan and metrics to intentionally track what I was exposed to. I quickly learned that in order to maximize my growth, I must be intentional to plan it.
Without a plan, growth is inconsistent.
Early on in my growth journey, I also failed to implement a means of accountability. I passionately pursued growth, but when my schedule would become demanding, my growth efforts would plummet. After some trial and error, this led me to another vital truth about personal growth.
Without a plan, growth is inconsistent.
I became intentional to create specific growth plans for myself. Once I did, my growth became targeted and measurable. This is a link to the simple Growth Plan Template I created. This sheet allows me to list what I plan to do and to record what I actually accomplish in each category. I hope you will find it useful as well. Each year, I fill it with the growth opportunities I plan to engage throughout the course of that year.
I continue to refine my plan as the year progresses. For example, two nights ago I was honored to hear Mr. Gilbert Montez speak about writing to approximately twenty of us at our clinic. A professional writer for over twenty-five years, Mr. Montez offered excellent ideas and resources on writing. I took copious notes, including the titles of several books he recommended. Later that night and the next night as I reviewed my notes, I added those titles to my Growth Plan under the section Books to Read. I also included newspaper reading at his suggestion, as newspaper writers are experts at concise writing.
We must record what we intend to pursue if we are to deliberately expand our personal growth. Remember, the adage what gets measured, gets done not only works for others, but also for ourselves. When it comes to personal growth, strategically planning what we want to be exposed to and tracking whether we have accomplished it is of great importance to us as leaders.
If you have another method of planning and tracking your growth, I would love to hear from you. Hit “reply” and shoot me a quick email. If you don’t already have a system in place, I invite you to use this template to get started. Feel free to edit it to fit your own journey. You may want to add or remove certain categories from it as needed. I review mine once a week to update it.
Keep in mind, this sheet only represents the first stage of growth: Exposure. All of these growth activities expose us to new ideas. While this first step is crucial to growth, exposure does not imply change. Real personal growth results in change in our perspectives, thoughts, and habits. In the next blog, I will share the subsequent steps of growth which must happen for change to occur.
Actionable Step: If you do not have a written growth plan, use this template as a starting point.
What I am reading now: Is The American Century Over? by Joseph Nye. Former Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Professor Nye clearly presents a soft rebuttal to the pundits bemoaning the impending end of American global leadership in his 132 page book.
For Further Reading: