Growth Goal


“Growth is the only sure evidence of life.” -John Henry Newman

In business and in coaching we often speak of establishing SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound). Checking off SMART goals can create a mental trophy case of accomplishments and achievements. The practice may also have a dark side of accomplishment addiction and anxiety.

If you have a high need for achievements, then you need to read “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck and “Flying Without A Net: Turn Fear of Change Into Fuel for Success” by Thomas J. DeLong.

Achievement addiction can create enormous drive and motivation to achieve great accomplishments. It can also mask an extremely fragile ego or sense of self which requires constant protection from the harsh reality of needing to accept responsibility to change. The need for achievement can force a person into only pursing accomplishments which are safely within one’s strengths and area of expertise. We tend to repeat variations of past successes instead of risking feeling like a beginner and needing to practice and learn new strategies and techniques to blaze new trails. We would rather not try than risk failure or feeling incompetent. We become a mere caretaker of the fixed monument of our past success. We live a life of repeat, rehash and face-saving self-preservation. We stop growing and risk stagnation and obsolescence.

What if we make our SMART goal for life growth? Can one redefine accomplishment to mean not what one has done, but by measuring how much one has grown? Can getting better at being human be as satisfying as getting successfully done? A growth goal will not ask what have you achieved? Rather the key question will be what have you learned? Do you want to get done with life or get better?

Who could you become if you focused your efforts on growing up?

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