We all know how growth happens in plants. It starts with a seed that must be implanted into fertile soil full of nutrients to form roots. It also needs sunlight, air, and water, which, through the process of photosynthesis, helps the growing seed produce its own food source. In the right conditions, the seed begins to grow into a plant, and that plant grows to its full potential. If one of these elements are absent, the seed may never take root or achieve full growth. If you plant a seed in an environment where one of these elements is absent, growth is inhibited, and the seed’s full potential is never realized. The seed remains dormant.
That principle works the same in your life and mine. For growth to happen, your environment must be conducive to growth. It must have the right nutrients to stimulate growth. If you want to change your current situation or circumstances, you must change your present environment. To quote, John Maxwell, “Growth is the only guarantee that tomorrow is going to get better.”
In my two decades in the military. The stage was already set for growth opportunities, even though, I did not know at the time. Every new assignment I went to, something was always wrong. Logistical processes were not in place, customers were unhappy for not getting their supplies on time. And the morale of the troops was down which, compounded the unhappy-customers problem. Sometimes I complained to my peers that I always got the most challenging assignments. It was then that I recognized another of John’s principles: you must get out of your comfort zone to grow. When I finished the assignment, the logistical processes were far better than the previous ones, the morale within my area of responsibility was extremely high, and my customers were giving my operation rave reviews.
At first, I didn’t understand why I got the hard and challenging jobs. Later, I realized that the military, gave me the growth environment needed to recognize and grow to my potential. As the saying goes, with each promotion comes more responsibility. I must have impressed my senior officers because they expected my performance to be top level. My performance in my military career led me to exponential growth, higher compensation, and bonuses.
What does a growth environment look like for you?
Remember, in order for a seed to grow, it needs the right soil, sunlight, air and water.
Is your present environment helping you, and not holding you back? Assess where you are right now!
- Are you in a place where others are ahead of you, or are you the go-to person? Are you the smartest one in the room? Then what and who is pouring into you? You are not getting the necessary nutrients for growth. If you are pouring everything you have into others, who is pouring into you?
- Are you challenged on a constant basis, if not find the right environment to grow in.
Lastly, leaders must create a growth environment within their organization or areas of influence. Used these tips to build an organization with growth potential.
- Set the bar high on proficiency, efficiency, and innovation.
- Give employees challenging work, nothing beneath them. And if they do not know how to do it, train them the right way first, then expect them to maintain the standard.
- Cultivate an affirming atmosphere. Nurture and nourish your people for growth.
- Model growth in front of them. Lead from the front, not the rear. I always say: “The most valuable gift I can give to others is a good example.” There is nothing more confusing than a person who gives good advice but sets a bad example. To quote (again) John Maxwell: “A pint of example is worth a gallon of advice.”
Remember, growth is the only guarantee that tomorrow will get better. If you don’t know whether your present environment is a growth environment, do an assessment and make changes.
The bottom line is that a growth environment aids in growth. It doesn’t hold you back.
Lastly, if you are a leader, you are responsible for helping others grow and creating an atmosphere of growth. Grow leaders, don’t just tell them what to do.
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