Overview of Chapter 1 of “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John C. Maxwell

Posted: September 5, 2016 in Quintessential Leader Basics
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Striving to become a quintessential leader and growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally into the character, integrity, and knowledge that being a quintessential leader requires is not optional for us.

15 Invaluable Laws of Growth - John C. MaxwellThe 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell offers some very practical insights into both the mechanics of growth and the obstacles that we must overcome that hinder us or stop us from growing.

In this series of posts, I will be summarizing the main points of each chapter – each chapter covers a particular law of growth – in hopes that each of us will be more consciously aware of our need to grow, as well as the things that can stand in the way of our growth as we strive to become quintessential leaders in all areas of our lives.

Chapter 1 covers the Law of Intentionality

Too often we live our lives focused on increased activity – doing more – assuming that growth automatically be a by-product, instead of living our lives focused on growth and improvement in who we are, what we are, and what we think, say, and do.

This chapter addresses the need for us to intend to grow first and lists the growth gap traps – the erroneous believes we have that keep us from growing – that we must overcome (not all will apply to everyone, but these certainly cover the gambit):

  1. The Assumption Gap – we assume that spiritual, mental, and emotional growth is automatic and will simply happen with time. This is untrue. To bridge this gap, each of us must take personal responsibility for our own growth, including taking the actions necessary to begin growing and to continue to grow for the rest of our lives.
  2. The Knowledge Gap – we don’t know where we need to grow or how to do it. To bridge this gap, we must first do a thorough analysis of where we are today, where we should be and/or need to be, and where we want to be when everything’s said and done. My suggestion is to write things down during this self-analysis because it helps with focus and it also gives us a concrete reference point to start from. Then we begin to, with purpose and deliberation, take continual steps forward, finding the best resources we can to take rights steps in the right direction, toward our goal, increasing not only our knowledge, but our ability to apply that knowledge, as we grow and improve along the way.
  3. The Timing Gap – we use this to put off undertaking growth and improvement by either saying we don’t have the time to do it now or by delaying it to a later time (tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, when this or that event happens, etc.). There is no time like right now while you’re reading this and I’m writing it for us to commit to and undertake intentional growth and improvement. There is a undeniable correlation between delayed action and a diminished sense of urgency and immediacy that will set in with us and keep us exactly where we’ve always been if we do not take action now.
  4. The Mistake Gap – we don’t take action toward growth and improvement because we’re afraid of making mistakes. Growth, by its very nature, is messy and mistakes are part of the learning process. Because growth includes a willingness to take risks (doing things we haven’t done before or trying to do things better – and, therefore, differently – than we have before), mistakes are inevitable along the way. Mistakes serve two very valuable purposes in our lives. They both teach us to consider things from every angle (to think critically) and they clarify what does work and what doesn’t work.
  5. The Perfection Gap – we can’t start growing until we find the best and most fail-safe way to do it. Waiting for the perfect way will find us at the end of our lives having achieved nothing in terms of growth and improvement. The only way to learn what the best way to grow and improve involves is to actually begin and utilize the tools and resources we have to gain the knowledge and ability to continue to move forward.
  6. The Inspiration Gap – we don’t “feel like” doing it or we are waiting for inspiration to begin to grow. Life consists of many things that we may not feel like doing or we’re not inspired to do, but to live, we have to do them anyway. Growth, however, should be something we so strongly desire that we push forward in it by just doing it, whether we feel like it (sometimes we won’t) or whether we’re inspired (sometimes we won’t be).
  7. The Comparison Gap – we compare ourselves to other people and use them both as a measure and a reason not to undertake growth. When we compare ourselves to other people, we will find plenty of reasons not to undertake growth. Often, we end up comparing apples to oranges in these peer comparisons and we use the faulty conclusions we draw to undermine our own growth process. Each of us is a unique creation, with different abilities, strengths, and talents. We may often find an area where we need to grow that is comparable to climbing Mt. Everest for us, but it may be an area that somebody else has no trouble growing in (or it’s not even a problem area). To start drawing comparisons between ourselves and that other person will inevitably throw up a strong deterrent to us taking the first step toward growth that we need to take.
  8. The Expectation Gap – we expect growth to be faster and easier than it actually is. The reality is that growth is long and hard work. It takes dedicated time and concentrated, diligent effort. It is often at the point where expectation meets reality that we are most tempted to – and many people do – quit altogether. Instead, we must just keep putting one foot in front of the other, even if we’re at the point that just doing that requires all the energy and effort we have. Each step forward moves us closer to the goal.

So how do we begin the process of intentionally growing?

There are four areas we need to consider:

  1. Ask ourselves the right questions
    1. Where am I?
    2. Where do I need and want to be?
    3. What direction to I need to take?
    4. What limits am I placing on my growth and how do I remove them?
  2. Do it now
  3. Face the fear factors
    1. Fear of failure
    2. Fear of trading security for the unknown
    3. Fear of what other people will think and say
    4. Fear out outgrowing people (this often happens)
  4. Change from accidental growth to intentional growth

Comparison of accidental growth to intentional growth

As quintessential leaders, intentional, purposeful, actionable growth and improvement must be taking place in our lives continually and the results of our ever-moving progress forward must be evident at all times and in every part of our lives.

How are we doing?

Comments
  1. […] the last post, we reviewed Chapter 1, which discusses the Law of Intentionality. In this post, we’ll review Chapter 2, which covers the Law of […]

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