I had a phone call with my friend and colleague, Chris, last week, and before we jumped into the official purpose of our call, he blew me away with his contagious enthusiasm. From the minute we said hello, I could tell he was fired up, but the reason caught me off guard: he had been intentionally practicing three or four specific strategies to improve his keynoting skills. (Okay…I admit it - it may not sound all that exciting all typed out like this, but go with me for a minute here.)
Let me tell you about my friend Chris to set the stage.
He holds a Ph.D. He’s a New York Times bestselling author, and he is a dynamic speaker who presents to audiences all over the country. He is successful and at the top of his field, he is positively brilliant, and he is a fantastic speaker.
But, I’m telling you, the man was absolutely ecstatic about the results he was seeing from these new tweaks to his public speaking approach. His commitment and enthusiasm to intentional growth captivated my attention for the rest of the day.
What would it look like for me to dial up the intentionality on growth in my life?
As an executive? As a public speaker? As a Bible teacher? As a wife? As a momma? The list went on and on.
I found myself somewhere between conviction and motivation as I contemplated this simple truth: we never outgrow growth.
Do we? Gosh, I hope not!
(We don’t. In case there’s any confusion.)
None of us have tapped out our full potential. While it’s tempting to sit back for a minute and coast - especially in areas where we’ve found some success or hit a stride - that’s not the posture I want to hold for the long-run.
Perspective on Growth
Growth is a privilege not a burden. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. But, instead of it being a “have to,” it’s a “get to."
Our enthusiasm for growth rubs off on others. Just like Chris’ enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I see this almost daily with my young children - if I’m excited about something, they are more likely to get excited too. If you lead a team, facilitate a small group, or just rub shoulders with other people on any sort of regularity (which we all do), your enthusiasm for growth is bound to rub off on someone else!
The best growth is intentional. We all know we need to grow, but having a specific strategy to do it is something entirely different. Chris’ plan is specific, and because it’s specific, he knows when he hits the mark and when he misses. We don’t need a long list of things - one or two specific, intentional growth action items will take us miles down the road.
A great starting place is learning from someone who has skills, knowledge, or experience we don’t have. It may look like finding a person in real life to sit down and talk to, or it may look like finding a book or podcast to learn from. You better believe I took the opportunity to ask Chris about his specific strategies to improve his keynoting skills. I thought, “chances are - as seasoned and experienced as he is, if he needs to work on these things, I most certainly do too!” And, you know what? He was so happy to tell me! I grabbed the closest notebook I could find and wrote down everything he said, then I spent some time after our call contemplating how I could practice those same strategies. I have a speaking engagement on Saturday, so it’s great timing to get some reps in!
One other thing I’ve realized about myself that you may be able to resonate with. If I’m not careful, I get stuck in the research and learning phase. I can invest hours and hours of scrolling, reading, and talking about something to the point I feel like I’m actually doing it. I posted this quote on Instagram a few weeks ago and it received hundreds of likes: “It’s easy to spend so much time learning we start to believe we are actually doing.” Something tells me I’m not alone.
Friends, growth is when our learning becomes our doing.
I want to hear your thoughts - comment below! What skill or area of your life are you intentionally growing right now? Where does learning threaten to highjack your doing?