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8 tips to build rapport

First, let’s define what is rapport?

8 tips to build better rapport

Rapport is a relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people. It is what happens at an unconscious level that makes us ‘click’ and is enhanced by a perception of likeness and liking. It includes the ability to see the other person’s point of view (even though you may not necessarily agree with it), and is a vital element in any form of communication, including the business context.

Indicators of good rapport include:

  • Similar body posture
  • Gesture in similar ways
  • Same rhythm in movement and speech
  • Breathing levels are similar
  • Voice tone

Why is rapport important?

How often have you heard “She was so rude”, “He just didn’t seem to care”, “You don’t understand”, “I’m not sure if I trust him”. Rapport gives the ability to relate to others in a way that creates a climate of trust, openness and understanding. It is a key part of building relationships in the business world.

How to achieve great rapport

Think of people with whom you already have great rapport. What is it you do, how do you communicate and what do you talk about? All these factors can give us a clue to the key aspects of building rapport. But what can you do in business if it doesn’t occur naturally? You need to pay conscious attention to Matching or mirroring (not mimicking) those elements that are part of natural rapport.

Research indicates that only 7% of our communication comes from the words that we use – for example the use of common expressions, terminology, etc.

How we say things – that is our tone, volume, pitch, emphasis – accounts for a further 38%.

And a massive 55% comes from a person’s appearance and physiology – how you sit or stand, your facial expressions and so on.

This means that 93% is unconscious.

So how do we make use of these factors? Well, the closer we can match these (not mimic) to the other person the more likely we are to build rapport.

So here are my 8 tips. 

1.    Match your tone, pace, volume and inflection – without it being obvious – to the person with whom you’re talking. I’m not talking about mimicry here, rather a subtle shift in the way you communicate.  

2.    Listen to the type of language and terminology they use so you can mirror this. 

3.    Make your body language open. Uncross your arms; avoid covering your heart and turn to face the person you are talking to. This encourages openness and trust. 

4.    Find common ground from the beginning of the conversation. Generally, people like people who are like themselves. 

5.    Show your interest. Make eye contact and ask questions 

6.    Show that you’ve been listening by asking appropriate questions. Sincerely. Most people spend 95% of their time thinking about themselves. 

7.    Ask questions: People love it when you show genuine interest in what they’re doing. 

8.    Step into the other person’s shoes and try imaging life from their viewpoint. We all have different perspectives on things, so don’t assume other people see things exactly the way we do. 

The above points are easy to practice – and you’ll be amazed at the results. Try them and watch your rapport build.

A great resource I recommend if you’re wanting to learn how to better connect with your clients, team or employees is the book Everyone Communicates Few Connect by John C. Maxwell.

Talk is cheap. Everybody does it. The question is, how can you make your words matter and influence the outcome you want? How can you really connect with others? Inside this book, Maxwell offers his proven method – five principles and five practices so you can learn how to better connect.

Want to develop this skills or practice them? Let’s connect.

How are you investing in your relationships?

Welcome to the Bahamas!

It’s ironic I’m writing about relationships and it was Valentines’ Day week. But honestly, when I first started writing, I really wasn’t thinking about it. Anyway, I hope you had a day full of love and were able to invest in those relationships that have meaning to you. So Happy Valentines’ Day.

Valentine’s Day kind of relates to my topic this week.  Last week I had the chance to travel down to the Caribbean and visit the Bahamas with two of my sisters. It’s not often I get to travel with my family, so I took the opportunity to invest in my relationships with them and I’m glad I did. If you should know anything about me, I value family and I’m extremely thankful for them, especially mine and how connected we are and have been. So many people we met complimented us and mentioned how nice it was we were traveling as a family. It made me wonder, do people still take family vacations?

These kinds of experiences certainly require effort and being intentional about investing in them. Other than my relationship with Jesus Christ, the relationship with my family are some the most meaningful relationships in my life.

Being intentional about investing not only in family relationships, but in others is something I believe makes a significant difference in a leader. Servant leadership, particularly is something I’m especially passionate about because I believe it’s most effective. People want to be valued and by knowing how to best serve your followers allows that value to be felt. In a world that’s filled in chaos and people searching for authentic and genuine relationships, serving others and investing in them is something people value and are looking for.  However, when it’s seen, it’s can very unfamiliar and even foreign to some people.

So let me ask you, how important is it for you to invest in those around you? What does serving others even look like to you? How can you begin to serve and invest in those you are leading?

As a leader, how you invest in others is dependent upon how you’re willing to serve them. I’m intentional about adding value and investing in the relationships I’ve formed and continue to form because I’ve experienced the results of maintaining them. As a man of faith, I know it’s my example that others notice. I once heard, the people you are called to lead either need to be watered or need a seed to be planted inside of them to bring about their highest potential. And its your job to do that. If we are called to be salt and light on Earth, then it’s a leader’s job to determine what their example tastes like or how brightly it’s shining for others to see.

This philosophy isn’t something I’ve seen much of in the military, their are a few and when you seen it, it’s an awesome sight and even better when you get to follow in their footsteps. I’ve served in the U.S. Coast Guard for nearly 18 years and it seems this style of leadership is something that is becoming less and less seen despite how much it’s talked about or written in our core values. I don’t mean this as a jab to the military or Coast Guard leaders because it’s something our culture has created and continues to support.  People don’t know how to get out of their own way and truly serve others, but the ones who do are making a significant difference in the lives of those they lead.

The Transformation begins with me…if you want change, be it – John C. Maxwell in Paraguay 2016.

For those of you who are leaders or who wants to learn how to best serve those around you – first, learn to be intentional about showing up – it’s the one thing people notice first. Don’t have an agenda. Make them look and feel good and they’ll reciprocate it. Leadership is not managing. It’s not about rank or title or how successful you are or what kind of car or home you own. My friend and mentor, John C. Maxwell once told me, if you have to tell people you’re a leader, you’re not and if think you’re a leader but no one is following you, you’re really just taking a walk.

I say all of this to encourage you as a leader. If you’re unsure where to start. Take an assessment of your leadership style and don’t be afraid to answer some tough questions. Even better, ask those around you for some feedback or take a 360 personal assessment. Gaining awareness as a leader can be incredibly valuable for your growth and effectiveness as a leader.

If you’d like to learn more about leadership development or are interesting in taking a leadership or personality assessment, contact me today to learn more.

Lean Into Your Potential

Just an Inch!!

Lean In – to – your potential

When you think of leaning in…what do you think of?

Immediately, I don’t think of what I’m leaning into as much as what I’m leaning out of.

That can be a little scary for some, I’m sure. But what I’ve learned and am continuing to learn is that most people simply don’t know what they don’t know because of their own lack of awareness or more commonly, they like their comfort zone where they can remain in control.

But if you lean in just an inch into your potential or your dreams, into your family, friends or even God?  What would happen?  What would that even look like for you to just lean into those areas in your life that will better it? That would boost your self-esteem and bring you closer to that hidden part of you that no one knows about or may even be lost right now because you haven’t given it much attention but you wish you could.

This is where I’m going to challenge you on what you don’t know and hopefully raise some awareness in this next question. What’s stopping you from leaning in?

What’s one small intentional step you could take this week to bring you closer?

It could be pain, fear, worry, etc. One of my mentors and fellow author, Kary Oberbrunner writes in his book, The Deeper Path that:

“One emotion infects us all–pain. But although pain comes naturally, dealing with it doesn’t. Many cope by masking their pain, pushing it below the surface and self-medicating it with apathy, aggression, and addictions. Unfortunately, these strategies only numb our pain and our potential, creating space between us and our purpose. Although we can’t escape pain, Oberbrunner believes that the path of recovery begins when we stop avoiding the ache and instead choose to explore, unmask, and understand our deepest wounds. The answer is not to rid our lives of pain, but to learn how to let our hurts lead us to healing”.

It’s within this discovery I’ve learned can be our greatest success and breakthrough in areas of personal growth and development.  But by continuing to avoid the places that scare you or even areas where you don’t believe in yourself for whatever the reason, only allows you to grow further away from your potential and allows those fears to win.

I hope this has inspired you to take action.  Remember nothing happens until you ACT.  If you would like to discuss this further, contact me today.  I’d love to help you think bigger and break out of yourself.  You can contact me directly by clicking here.

It’s time to A.C.T!

The A stands for ACTION.  What inspired action will you take today?

The C stands for CHANGE.  What purposeful change will you make today?

The T stands for TEACH.  What can you teach someone else today?

What is Professional Coaching?

In order to effectively apply coaching to transformation, it would be helpful to understand what coaching is and how valuable a coach can be for your growth and success.

What is Coaching?

When I think of coaching, I think of it as a conversation that helps people think things through, it helps you think bigger because of the powerful questions the Coach is asking in order to get you to begin thinking bigger. Coaching engages people to raise their awareness of the limiting beliefs which may be holding them captive or influencing them in some way. A coach can help people explore areas they may have never gone to before as well as help them develop a plan of action to get to where they would like to go.  

A coach can be a catalyst and an important element in the process of accelerating change. Coaching is very different from consulting or counseling because the focus isn’t about the coach’s experience like that of a consultant or focused on past hurts like that of a counselor.

A Coach is: 

  • A partner for a period of time to come alongside you to help you get to where you would like to go in your life, career or business
  • Is focused on your growth and success
  • Listens and believes in you, your value, and your potential in life
  • Helps you discover your potential and helps you move forward with it
  • Helps you see your vision in life and then helps you develop a plan to move toward them.

A Coach Is Not:

A person who focuses on addressing past issues or that gives you advice. Not like a: teacher, trainer, facilitator, counselor, therapist, consultant, advisor, mentor, or a good friend. Below is a table of descriptions I’ve used to show the differences between coaching and other forms of practice.

Would you or your organization like to experience the value of a coach or does your company need leadership training? If you know someone who does or who would benefit from coaching or leadership training, would you introduce me to them? Have them contact me.

I hope you found this helpful. If you would like to experience the value of coaching, contact me for a FREE coaching session. I would love to help you grow and experience how coaching can help you make your 2017 the best year yet.

2016 Review

December 31st, 2016

It’s the final day of the year.

This has been one of my greatest years. I’ve made several accomplishments and am looking forward to what 2017 holds.

A year ago, I was preparing for my final project in my Graduate program. I remember preparing for this course months in advance. After studying several hundred leaders, authors, coaches, styles of leadership, I wanted to create something that culminated my experience and something I could use as a leadership expert. However, when I had the opportunity to travel with John C. Maxwell and over 250 other leadership coaches and speakers to Paraguay to help transform their nation by teaching them values based leadership, I saw what leadership was about. In those 5 long days, we trained over 15,000 leaders by teaching them how to facilitate round table discussions on values based leadership and intentional living. These 5 days changed my life and how I thought about leadership. It was here, I birthed not only final project but I found my calling and knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

The thing I love about leadership is that it is universal and leaders are needed all over the world. Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. I saw one of the poorest, yet happiest nations in South America welcome us with open arms and participate in something they didn’t know. I had never experienced a more hungry community of people who desperately wanted to transform their nation, communities, businesses, and most importantly change the way they believed in leadership.

Just like anything else. A lasting vision starts not only from the top but requires the top to join in and collectively learn alongside. I saw this in Paraguay. I met with congressmen, police and city officials, teachers and professors, healthcare professionals, bankers, and even a group of dance instructors who were getting ready for Carnival. Every person I met with had influence within their respective community and they were joining in to learn how they could help transform their nation one intentional conversation at a time. They knew it wasn’t going to happen over night, but they were willing to invest in themselves and the effort necessary to hope, dream and believe for something different.

Change can be challenging, but great leaders who lead from within can help their teams overcome obstacles that can lead to success. I saw all of this within those five days and this set my life in 2016 into an incredible year of growth.

After I returned, I remember thinking, I just tasted something significant and I can’t go back to the comfortable life I lived before. I wanted to help leaders grow and experience the kind of change I had just experienced. As a coach, that’s what I do, I help leaders gain awareness that can lead to where they and/or their companies want to go. I started sharing my story and had the opportunity to share it with a major media outlet that shared it with over 250,000 people. I immediately started creating a coaching program that would teach leaders the value of coaching and mentoring and how it could add value to their own personal and professional growth and help lead the people they had influence over in their organizations and communities. This program would teach them the skills to learn how to be ask powerful questions and be effective listeners and how each of these skills could benefit them and their people.

It took me 4 months to create this project and I was incredibly pleased with its results. From there, in May, I graduated and completed my Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership in Coaching and Mentoring. I DID IT!!! Then I took 10 days and went to the Outer Banks, NC with my family and had one of the best vacations of my life. You could say I needed it.

In June, I had been accepted into the Coast Guard’s Reserve Officer Course and accepted my commission as a Reserve Officer. This was another accomplishment I had been working on for sometime and in July had graduated and received my commission. In August, I was asked to return on Active duty for a project and move out of DC back to Virginia Beach. This was a hard decision because I was doing what I went to school for in DC, I was working with a great organization that invested in their leaders but it wasn’t the right environment for me to grow in. So I chose to accept and moved back to Virginia Beach. This move has turned out to be a great move for me as it’s given me the capacity to really do what I wanted to do. Since moving down here, I’ve reconnected with Regent University, started networking with community leaders, launched my coaching and mentoring company, started making new relationships and even hired my own business coach that’s been helping me get clear about my business plan and how I can help leaders and organizations who are ready to grow. 

If I could choose one word for 2016, it would be “Intentional”. Every opportunity I had, I took it and was very intentional about my growth, the environment I needed to be in, my inner circle and those who were influencing me and making the moves necessary for me to thrive in. I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, growth never is.

But if you want to grow, you have to be intentional about it. Anyone can wish or have good intentions, but once you commit to it, that’s when real change starts to occur.

It’s been an exciting season to be in and I’m looking forward to what 2017 has to offer and how I’m going to be used to help other leaders learn how to be intentional about their growth too.

That being said, do you need a coach or does your company need leadership training? If you know someone who does or who could benefit from coaching or leadership training, would you introduce me to them? Have them contact me.

Also, if you would like to experience the value of coaching, contact me for a free coaching session. I would love to help you grow and experience how coaching can help you make your 2017 the best year yet.

Happy New Year!!!

John Mullins

What questions are you asking yourself?

Hand pointing at a Personal Development Word Cloud on white background.
How do you determine your personal growth?

Regardless of your position, title or industry, leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. I believe this to be. However, to grow as a leader, I believe their is one important element you MUST be doing as leader regardless where you are at in your organization. This one thing is something only you can do and can’t rely on others to do it for you.

It is a question you should be regularly asking yourself and it is: Am I investing in myself? This is a question of personal growth. My mentor and leadership expert, John C. Maxwell states, there are 3 main factors that determine if and how you will invest in yourself. In his book, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, Maxwell lists these factors as:

1. Your self-image: How you see yourself.

How do you view yourself? Would you be the type of leader you would want to follow? Do you serve others before yourself? Are you a positive person to be around or do people avoid you? This should be an easy question to answer, if you’re honest enough with yourself. If you were to describe yourself, what would you say? What you don’t realize, is how you view yourself determines how you will invest in yourself. And the way you view yourself will always match how much you invest in yourself. If you were to rate yourself as a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, this also describes your willingness to invest in yourself and this will never change. Which explains why those with low self-esteem usually don’t make great investments in themselves because they feel they’re not worthy.  Maxwell writes,

“its not what you are that keeps you from investing in yourself; it’s what you think you are or are not. You will never be able to bet on yourself unless you believe in yourself.

2. Your dream: How you see your future.

I often ask people what their dreams are and I often hear, “I don’t know” or I’m not sure. If you don’t know what you want in life or how you want your future to look like, how do you know you’re on the right path? Furthermore, if you’re not dreaming, how do you know what its going to take to achieve it. Maxwell states, “the size of your dream determines the size of your investment. If you dream is large, you will invest in yourself to achieve it. If you have no dream, you may not invest in yourself at all. Your dreams should fuel your desire to grow.

3. Your friends: How other see you.

I once took the Leadership Circle assessment – its a 360 assessment that assesses your creative competencies and reactive tendencies. This shows where you view yourself and how others view your in those same components. I was surprised to see how others viewed me, especially in areas where I scored myself low, they saw them as some of my greatest strengths and also where I thought I was strong, they showed I needed some improvement in. It can be beneficial to your personal growth to participate in those kinds of assessments because they can unlock the realities and raise your awareness if you want to invest in yourself. Maxwell writes, “People need others to help them stay inspired and growing. Missionary Doctor Albert Schweitzer asserted, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle our inner spirits”. If you have friends who list your inner fire, you are very fortunate’ they will make you want to keep investing in yourself and keep growing. If you don’t, find some, because nothing is more important for your potential as a leader than your personal daily growth.

This last one can be very challenging but it’s essential to take a look at your inner circle. Your potential as a leader is determined by those closest to you. This is the Law of the Inner Circle. Those around you, have influence over you whether directly or indirectly and how they see you can inspire you or bring you down. Its important to have those around you who will add to your investment in your own personal growth.

I hope this has been helpful to you as a leader. Are you wanting to grow personally? See my free tips and articles at the sites below and be sure to sign up to receive my weekly newsletter.

8 Steps to achieving success

What do you want, John? This is a question I’ve been asked several times and one I haven’t always had an answer to it. I think that’s why I believe in the power of coaching so much. It’s because when I allow a coach to coach me, I allow him/her into that sacred place of vulnerability where I can describe what it is I want to achieve looks like. Coaching allows me to uncover the answers that are only within me. That’s the difference between having a mentor and having a coach.
My mentor and leadership expert and author John C. Maxwell says,

“A clear picture of what I wanted to accomplish gave me the will to persist and the creative spirit to overcome barriers and make up for deficiencies”.

These barriers and deficiencies are false beliefs you allow yourself to believe. As a believer is Jesus Christ, I believe in Jeremiah 29:11. Here the Lord is telling Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. However, it’s in the pursuit of following God, I believe as you grow closer to Him, you’re going to be tried, test, and challenged, especially by the enemy who wants to keep you from God. It’s also in this pursuit, where you begin to transform, especially in your mind. A strong mind has the capacity to overcome challenges. What you believe, the body will follow. Leadership author Michael Hyatt states, “When a person is strong-minded, they have the energy and stamina to face a challenge without being robbed of inner strength”. If you allow barriers to form in your mind, you’ll keep yourself from believing you’re capable of achieving that dream.

Once you identify what you want to achieve, a few things need to occur.

1. Write it down. If you don’t know it, describe it.

A lot of times, we are unsure of what we want, but we have an idea of what it looks like. By describing it, you begin gaining clarity on what “it” really is and what steps you need to take to achieve it.

2. What is your purpose in it? What’s your role?

3. Identify your starting point. Where are you currently at? How healthy is your mindset? What roadblocks, false beliefs, or bs (bogus stories) are you believing about yourself?
4. What’s your strategy? How are you going to achieve it?
5. Find the creative tension. Imagine a rubber band – at one end is your current reality, on the other is your vision. In between the two places is a gap. It’s within this gap, creative tension can be found. Without a vision, nothing happens just as without awareness of your current reality, nothing happens; it’s the same day to day process. You need creative tension because it will pull you towards your vision.
6. Write out your plan and get to work. Just like your daily workouts, write out your daily, weekly, monthly activities.
7. Hire a Coach. A coach can help you identify the gap between your vision and your current reality by raising your awareness, forming a path, uncover false beliefs and move to closer, faster to where you want to be. I’m a big believer in a quote by John C. Maxwell, he said, “Teamwork makes the dream work”. Partnering with a coach is a great way to make your dream work.
8. Trust the process. As you put these principles into place, what you want to achieve will begin to come closer to you, this is true as an individual goal or as an organizational goal. As you stretch your thinking, the energy will pull you closer to it and then you need to keep doing this to keep the business or organization and its people growing.

Shifting from good intentions to intentional thinking

What makes you take ownership of something significant? What makes you do it now versus waiting for later?

Napoleon Hill once said,

You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of a referee”.

When you’re the man in the middle, you go back and forth between offense and defense.

I’m currently reading John Maxwell’s Intentional Living book he released last year. He states, “Intentional living motivates us to take immediate action in areas of significance”.   Being intentional is a state of mind. Anyone can have good ideas or intentions, but having a good idea doesn’t go anywhere. Good intentions don’t make a difference or do anything other than a good idea. The difference is taking action versus just talking or thinking about it. We have enough thinkers and talkers… I’ve found myself here many times between this state of having a good idea versus being intentional. It inspired and excited me, but I would give into fear, procrastination, and doubt myself. And it’s easy to stay in between these two positions. When I think back of the times I was intentional, I took action and once I did, it created momentum and propelled me into being apart of something bigger than I had originally thought.

John C. Maxwell says, “Intentional living is all about knowing what you want. Often that desire will be elusive or even seemingly impossible to achieve. However, when we feel that way, necessity disguised as creativity can kick in. When it does, intentional living turns the doubt-filled question “Can I?” into the invigorating, possibility-inducing “How can I?”

When you know what you want and can’t find what you need, you must create what you need, so you can get what you want!”

It’s in this place where you start taking one step at a time, that you begin to experience intentional living. It’s those initial steps that are always the hardest to take, but once you do, you see the good idea come to life and how it needs you to give life to it. This is where living the life of significance begins. It’s in those first few steps where you begin to overcome the fear, doubt and false beliefs and you begin to gain the confidence and realize you can do this.

When I find myself in that place between where I am and where I want to be, I meet with my coach who helps removes those false beliefs I’ve allowed myself to believe. He pulls out the truth and passion behind the original idea. It’s here; I begin to fuel the passion and motivation to take the intentional action I need.

Taking action looks different for all of us. For me, writing this article was the one step of being intentional I needed to take today and I’m thankful for my coach holding me accountable to writing it this week. What about you? What would your life look like if you became more intentional today?

Are you wanting to become more intentional in your daily life? Try a free 7-day experiment where you’ll learn how to intentional.

Asking yourself WHY.

Great sermon in Church today by my friend John Allen.

He spoke on a topic I love…transformational life coaching and learning to ask the why behind the what.

Do you ever take the time to ask yourself why? Why do I follow this? Why am I challenged by this? Why am I doing this? These are all questions that can lead to an understanding of why things are the way they are. As a leadership and life coach myself, I ask the kind of open-ended questions that gets others to come aware of the why behind their what. Do you take the time to reflect and be honest with yourself about why you’re chasing the things you are chasing? Often times, I meet with leaders who are so laser focused on their goals, yet they don’t know why they’re chasing them. It’s something the world chose for them or were told to by societies’ standards. So much so, they fail to take the time to reflect on why they are pursuing them and the cost it has taken on them. This is why it’s so important to take the time to reflect and ask yourself or have a coach ask you those powerful questions. For instance, we all have our challenges, but why are we challenged? What makes it challenging and how are you going to overcome it? Do you speak about, explore it and develop a plan to overcome it? What about when it is a personal challenge that you face in your own mind?

Being asked these types of curious questions forces you to explore beneath the surface of your sub-conscious. Only you have the answers, however, its’ in the exploring of that search that creating learning more about yourself. There is no wrong answer when you ask yourself these kinds of questions because they invoke further exploration.

Simon Sinek wrote a great book titled, Start with Why. In it, he states, sinek2

“Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?” the questions must be asked, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life considering all the technologies and market opportunities available today?”

Your why should never change either. Sinek adds, “Regardless of WHAT we do in our lives, our WHY—our driving purpose, cause or belief—never changes”.

From a spiritual viewpoint and the most important one, you should be asking yourself, why am I doing this? Understanding your why, brings you closer to who God has called you to be. It forces you to be honest with yourself to ask am I going down this path for my own personal choice or am I following where God is leading me. When we lose sight of our why, we allow society or others to define it. Whereas, when you are strong and secure in who Christ has called you to be, you’re on a much firmer foundation and are able to see the bigger picture a little more clearer.


The Law of Intentionality and Awareness

I just started a virtual mastermind group with a very ambitious group. When you have a group of hungry and intentional people who want to grow and invest in themselves, it really makes my job a lot of fun. This is a summary of tonight’s call as we discussed the laws of intentionality and awareness.

The Law of intentionality teaches that growth doesn’t just happen. Growth requires taking an intentional step by taking action. It will be the best one you’ve ever taken.

There are countless questions leaders can ask themselves to gauge their growth. For example: How can I improve? How can I gain wisdom? How can I improve relationships with those around me?

Each of these questions offers great insight into progress and growth. However, in order to move forward, leaders must apply the insight and be intentional in bridging the gap between plans to grow and actually growing.

“If you have dreams, goals, or aspirations, you need to grow to achieve them. But if you’re like I was – and if you are like most people – you have one or more mistaken beliefs that create a gap that keeps you from growing and reaching your potential” (Maxwell, pg. 2)

Each of us has the opportunity to bridge that gap and bring our current realities closer to our vision. But we must make that a goal and follow through. Join me as I dissect a few traps we often get stuck in that can hinder our personal growth:

The Assumption Gap

I assume that I will grow automatically” – No one improves by accident – (Maxwell, pg. 3)

Personal growth does not come naturally to us. Leaders must take ownership of their own growth, and take individual steps to figure out a plan for growth. Bruce Springsteen said “A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become and start being the man you want to be”.

The Knowledge Gap – “I don’t know how to grow”.

“I was hoping that someone had figured [a growth process] out, and I could simply learn from him. Not one person said yes. Nobody in my world had a plan for growing and improving. I didn’t know how to grow and neither did they.” (Maxwell, pg 4)

Decide where you need to grow and intentionally plan how you are going to learn lessons to get there. Being disciplined in your growth process is imperative to help you not get stuck in the lie of “I don’t know how to grow.”

The Mistake Gap – “I’m afraid of making mistakes”.

“Growing can be a messy business. It means admitting you don’t have the answers. It requires making mistakes. It can make you look foolish. Most people don’t enjoy that. But that is the price of admission if you want to improve.” (Maxwell pg. 6)

Getting over the fear of making mistakes is hard. However, all leaders must overcome that fear if they want to grow. Expect to make mistakes every day. With each mistake, we learn and fail forward. Welcome mistakes as a sign that you are moving in the right direction.

The Inspiration Gap

“When Curt suggested I needed to be intentional about growing, I had thousands of reasons not to do it. I didn’t have the time, the money, the experience, and so on. I had only one reason to do it. I believed I should do it because I hoped it would make a difference.” (Maxwell, pg. 7)

Intentionality with growth does make a difference. A little bit of growth each day lends to a lot of growth after 12 months. At the end of the year, you will be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.

The Law of Awareness teaches that you must KNOW yourself to GROW yourself. You have to know who you are to grow to your potential. To reach your full potential, you MUST know where you are, and where you want to be. But you have to grow in order to know who you are. This is where we need to be really honest with ourselves. Do you know the direction you’re going in? Growing into your potential is a process, but as well as knowing yourself, you must take intentional steps in order to initiate that growth process.

Overall, growth can be hard but there are others out there just like wanting to grow and have these discussions. Joining a mastermind group can allow you a safe and fun environment as you explore and learn how to grow. Valuing personal growth is a crucial part of being a successful and influential leader. Take the steps to grow today and see your leadership transform over time.
Growth begins with a small step in the right direction. If you’re ready to be intentional with your growth and would like to join in on our discussions, I encourage you to join my next mastermind group by here. Make sure you sign up and join my mailing list to stay informed of my start dates.