What are your growth goals and how do you plan to achieve them? Having dreams and aspirations for your life is fine, but they matter little without a strategy to realize them. In every area of life—personal, professional, and spiritual—you need to establish a system if you hope to experience significant growth. You will not progress without a plan.

While your unique strategy will depend greatly on your goals and commitment level, here is a basic blueprint that can be used by virtually anyone seeking to grow...
1. Develop a growth network.

Who are the people who hold influence over you, and who is it that you are influencing yourself? In no small measure, those are the people who determine who you are becoming as well as your potential for success. At any given time, you should aim to have people ahead of you who you are learning from as well as others coming behind you in whom you are investing.

In the New Testament, Timothy had a model growth network. He looked to Paul as his mentor while simultaneously providing leadership over other believers in the city of Ephesus. Under this arrangement, Timothy was able to move forward while bringing others along with him.

2. Become an avid reader.

An insatiable appetite for reading is a common denominator among those who are consistently growing personally, professionally, and spiritually. Read books and journals that address your desired area of growth while including a few general growth books, too.

However, beware of time-consuming reading from which you gain nothing. With more information being produced today than at any other time in history, it is essential that you become selective. Stick to the books, journals, and authors who offer something of value.

3. Listen to educational media resources.

There is a wealth of material available, whether you purchase CDs and DVDs or download resources from the Internet. You can even subscribe to many useful podcasts for free. Then set aside time to review them, such as when you are driving down the highway, sitting in traffic, or going for a jog.

As leadership experts such as Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy have pointed out, you can turn your car into a “university on wheels” by simply turning off the radio and listening to educational audio resources during your daily commute. In this way, you can gain the equivalent of a college education within a few short years.

4. Attend conferences and seminars.

Keep informed about local opportunities to participate in conferences and seminars relevant to you. Once in a while—perhaps annually—invest in a trip to a larger event. Plan these events into your calendar and your budget. Then, when you get home, take the time to reflect and identify the three main lessons you learned.

5. Enact what you learn.

Lessons learned mean nothing until they are put into practice. Whenever you glean something of value from your network, reading, listening, or educational experiences, figure out how it applies to your life. Growth by its nature requires change. Therefore, if you do not enact change, then there is no growth.

Jesus once told His followers, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17, KJV). He was referring to the example He had set for the disciples, but the same wisdom can be applied to any lesson learned. You know it; now put it into practice.

In Women Under Construction, I describe how the material you use to build your mind will impact your entire life. “You are the owner builder on this job. It is your responsibility to make sure every subcontractor and vendor on your project is producing as planned. You have to be discerning as to who and what you will allow to enter the project” (p. 122).

Do not leave the development of your mind and the growth of your life to chance. Personal, professional, and spiritual growth does not happen accidentally. It takes intent and planning. Start enacting your plan today.

Tom Becker
1/24/2012 07:21:38 am

Ha! Love that reference to the New Testament under growth network. I never thought of Timothy having a master minds group, but in fact he did.

Thanks for giving me a new perspective on those scriptures.

P. Marcella
1/26/2012 02:34:41 am

Reading and acting on what you've read (points 2 and 5) can be a very effective learning combination, as I've learned running my own business.

1/30/2012 05:55:12 am

Reading is okay, as long as it keeps us focused. I find I get caught up with Facebook updates and lose track of time!

B. Cinous
5/19/2012 08:11:28 am

Wondeful post! And very relevant to what I have been seeking God about. Your advice is straightforward and grounded in

B. Cinous
5/19/2012 08:12:30 am

His Word. Thank you.


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