Are you accidentally growing?


A number of years ago, I switched from floating through life to intentionally pursuing a fresh vision for my life and career.

Photo by Tasha M. Troy

Photo by Tasha M. Troy

At the time, I had been working in my field of ESL (English as a Second Language) for a few years, and I had even achieved my primary career goal.  It was a season of becoming established in the place I found myself, but I didn’t have a vision for what might be next.

It was a gradual process, but through my love of learning, eventually I developed a new vision for my life and career, and it continues to evolve.

Previously, I wrote about the eight growth gaps that John Maxwell describes in his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, eight limiting beliefs that prevent us from pursuing a path that enables us to grow to our full potential.  I know I’ve fallen into some of them, and I still struggle a bit with one or two.  Others I don’t struggle with myself, but I talk to many people who do.

Here are the top 5:

1.  The Knowledge Gap (I don’t know how to grow) leads people to depend on their raw talent to accomplish their goals.  I think this prevented me from moving forward for a long time.  I didn’t know where I wanted to go next, so I didn’t know in what areas I needed to grow.

2.  The Inspiration Gap (I don’t feel like growing) leads people to talk big about their hopes, plans, and dreams yet never take action.  I have to be careful about this one.  I often come up with “brilliant ideas” that I don’t follow through on.  There are many reasons for this, but basically, I have “shiny object syndrome” – I get excited by new things and don’t always follow through to completion.

3. The Expectation Gap (I thought it would easier than this) leads people to depend on good luck and to quit when things get difficult.  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this is the gap I struggle with the most today.  I am learning to expect difficulties and not be thrown off balance when the unexpected happens.  I am developing my ability to stick with a project and see it through to completion, no matter what obstacles I encounter.

4 The Timing Gap (It’s not the right time to grow) leads people to put off until tomorrow what can be done today.   This isn’t a personal struggle but I talk to a lot of people who choose to spend their time in other areas and not prioritize personal growth.  The bottom line is we will make time for the things that are truly important to us.

5. The Perfection Gap (I have to find the best way before I start) leads people to play it safe and avoid risk.  I have come to realize that, even though I am a “recovering perfectionist,” this is not a gap I fall into.  However, most people avoid moving out of their comfort zone for fear of failing at something.  I have found that you only fail when you give up.

Do you find yourself struggling with any of these “gaps”?  In what areas do you need to grow?  What do you need to do to move from accidental to intentional growth?


I highly recommend reading The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell; it will get you started on the road to intentional growth and reaching your full potential!

If you are ready to take your intentions to the next level, I invite you to join  for an online seminar on book study on John Maxwell’s Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters.  For  details, dates, and a link to register, click here.


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