The primary task of an educator is growth. To that end, I apply nine practices to my own journey of self-growth and to the quest to grow others. Obviously, each person grows in different ways and in different areas. The specifics of growth that life demands from each unique individual may be different but certain practices remain the same. For me there are nine growth practices: Priority, Reality, Agility, Curiosity, Tenacity, Intentionality, Credibility, Elasticity, and Sagacity (PRACTICES). See below.
What one focuses on, grows. The chief question that one should answer for self frequently is “How have I grown lately?” When we prioritize growth as a necessity, we will do what it takes to put in place all the systems that are needed to facilitate it. I choose to make growth a priority. Growth is a highly necessary priority.
A mentor once told me, “When you are green, you are growing. As soon as you ripen, you begin to rot”. That’s a hard reality. If we are not growing, we are diminishing. But the hard truth is that, if growth does lead to ripening, then the person who has attained it should juice up and be flavorful. Growth is good.
One must see value in a growth opportunity and take quick advantage of it. Motivation is vital in order for one to be nimble in embracing growth. This motivation must be developed internally. The ambition for achievement and aspiration for accomplishment requires an agility for growth. One cannot tap into the totality of personal potential without a swiftness that seizes the moment to embrace growth.
What makes growth tricky for some people is a level of passiveness about being aware of the knowledge that they lack. For that matter, a healthy curiosity is helpful in developing a pursuit of growth. Continual growth is more or less a refining of one’s level of awareness under the guidance of a focused curiosity. Growth is not automatic. One has to commit to curiosity that enlightens.
Tenacity is simply persistence. I’ve seen it’s power in my little backyard garden. Whenever I create a seedbed of vegetable plants, I’ve noticed that the shoots that survive and prosper are those that remain steadfast in the face of numerous hazards. I discovered my tenacity when I first embraced books as a mode of personal growth. Through perseverance and grit, I worked my way through a terminal degree. I’ve come to personally define growth as having the guts, resolve, obstinacy, willpower, toughness, and heart needed to engage in daily practices that result in gradual development.
The gradual development of a person doesn’t just happen. One must be determined mentally to engage in specific planned actions that facilitate improvement. The path toward bridging the gap between where one is and where one wants to be is a growth gap that is paved with aims, motives, and objectives that must be acted on with a focused deliberation. Growth does not happen automatically and should never be postponed. The most common phrase that I have heard from mentors and coaches is ‘just do it’. We must act now and pursue growth daily.
Credibility is the integrity, reliability, trustworthiness, and validity of an object, thing, or even a person. As an educator, I’ve always wanted to ensure that any information I share is credible. As a human, I want to be trustworthy in all my engagements and interactions. The key to credibility is growth. Personal development is looking in the mirror and telling that person reflected in it that he or she is valuable and worth the time needed for growth. That self-image of credibility is powerful and it takes commitment to growth to arrive at it’s fullest expression.
The practice of elasticity has been one of the most joyful endeavors of my personal development. Elasticity is simply the demonstration of a springiness or flexibility about one’s personal development. I like to stretch and to be stretched. What I have discovered is that my mind, once stretched to a certain point, does not revert back to it’s original proportions – it grows! For that matter, I choose to be adaptable and have embraced resilience as a pillar in my life (see the leader qualities of HERMAN). Stretching and elasticity have become a lifestyle choice for me.
This is my ‘Aha!’ practice. Sagacity! It is a foundational element of a series of six factors that I model as a dominant trait (See Orasis). Sagacity is the practice of applying wisdom to personal growth. Wisdom dictates that one has to make choices and trade-offs in order to reach for what’s possible. Growth has to be designed and good strategies implemented to facilitate advancement. It is like climbing a ladder – with every step, you are giving up on the lower rungs so as to go higher. Sagacity is the guidepost to actualization in life.
Dr. Herman Najoli, PO Box 7112, Cincinnati, OH 45205