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Some people will rise and achieve the dreams in their heart.  Others will stop short and settle for less.  We used to sing a song in high school show choir that Garth Brooks made famous, “I will sail my vessel”.

I always loved this verse:

“Too many times we stand aside,
and let the water slip away.
And what we put off till tomorrow,
has now become today.
So don’t you sit upon the shore line,
and say you’re satisfied.
Choose the chance to rapids,
and dare to dance the tides.”

This past week I’ve been reading John Maxwell’s Thinking for a Change.  He emphasized something that I know to be true deep inside me.  It’s us who decide to settle with where we are and stop advancing.  In the moment that we decide to stop learning and growing, we put a cap on our potential and a coffin around our dreams.

Here are some ways to keep growing so you can achieve everything in your heart!

4 Ways to Keep Growing

1.) Believe You CAN Change: For some reason we reach a certain age and we think we just can’t change anymore.  My leadership professor, Dr. James Bailey, shared this article with me this week: http://on.wsj.com/Mqlper  The key idea is that people who believe that they can continue to develop are more likely to be successful.  The minute you decide you can’t possibly grow any more is the minute you’ve stopped pursuing your dreams.

“I haven’t arrived yet…and therein lies the secret to greatness”

2.) Battle Lethargy: Most people wouldn’t believe me, but I have a serious battle with lethargy. Despite all of my personal ambition, I fight with myself everyday to do what’s important for my personal growth.  Some days I just want to coast through and do the easy day-to-day stuff without pushing myself to grow.  The problem is that giving in for the day very often turns into giving in for the week.  Before I know it, a month has gone by without any personal development.  The only way to stay on top of lethargy is to battle it everyday.  Make a decision to wake up and take on your personal growth by force.

Awesome post by Michael Hyatt on this subject.

3.) Read: I know, I know.  “Readers are Leaders”  blah, blah, blah  I hate to read!  I much more enjoy being inside my own head than somebody else’s.  The problem is that what is going on inside my own head can’t possibly be growth.  If I can already think it, it’s only from what I already know.  Here’s a tip, though:  Don’t be intimidated by those super-readers out there who demolish 10 books a week.  I’m not there, yet.  But what I do is very powerful.  I pick a book that I know will challenge me and I spend some time with it.  I don’t stop at absorbing knowledge.  I think through it.  I apply it to my life.  Even if I only get through one every couple of months, I know that’s it’s made a difference.  And that encourages me to keep going!

4.) Stop and Listen.  There are two voices that will always tell you the next area where you can grow.  Sometimes a commitment to growth is just taking a moment to listen to what they’re saying.

The 1st voice comes from the people around you.  It’s easy for us to breeze past the critiques of others.  But I’ve noticed that some of the greatest growth in my life has come from taking a moment to understand their criticism and do some real soul searching.

The 2nd voice is the voice of God…that still small voice on the inside of you.  Did you know that He put the dreams that you have inside your heart?  He wants you to fulfill them more than you do!  He also knows exactly where you need to development to take the next step He has laid out for you.  Stop and Listen.  You’ll be amazing what He has to say!  Here are some more tips on prayer.

So…What secrets do you have to share on how to keep growing?