Success in any area of life requires change and growth. As we journey through life, we are in a continuous state of change. Hopefully, the decisions we make will result in positive change and growth. Whether we are experiencing positive change and growth or not depends largely on our self-concept—that bundle of beliefs we have about ourselves. Our self-concept fundamentally determines the next steps in life’s journey.
However, it can be challenging to always move forward with confidence. There will be times of doubt and discouragement. We all have those times in our lives. It’s during these difficult times that we need to believe in ourselves and our talent, skills and knowledge. It’s important to remember that we have both internal and external resources available to us. Our circle of friends, family and colleagues can be a tremendous resource to help overcome the hurdles we encounter.
Positive change and growth can start with taking in new information to create fresh dimensions of our self-concept. As we begin to see ourselves with more potential, more competence than we previously thought, or as we discover new areas of interest, we start to move out of our comfort zone and remove our self-doubt.
New insights can come from many sources. It can come from practical experience, from study and academic learning, or from specific interactions with others. It’s the positive interaction, encouragement and support of others that has the most powerful impact. It’s one of the strongest motivators that drives us to stretch and to grow. You may wonder why support and positive interaction are so powerful—it’s because they tap into our emotions.
Two powerful emotions constantly wrestle within us—fear and desire. The stronger emotion will always dominate the weaker one. The stronger emotion will determine whether we hold back or grow positively in our personal and professional lives. At this threshold of growth, positive interaction with someone we respect can be very powerful. A word of encouragement from a parent, a colleague, a team member, a supervisor or manager can change the direction of our lives.
The impact of support and encouragement is especially powerful in early childhood. Someone who has experienced continual negative criticism as a child is likely to grow up with the fear of trying anything new. Because of this, change and growth can be very difficult. Fear of failure will dominate. It’s essential for any employer, colleague or team member to recognize the power of positive thinking, positive mentorship and encouragement. Positive, supportive interaction within a positive team environment creates a pleasant work atmosphere, which will lead to reduced sick time and staff turnover, increased productivity, and will significantly contribute revenue growth.
In addition to encouragement and support from others, positive change and growth requires that we must have our own desire for growth and the willingness to make it happen. There are five key personal requirements for this to occur.
I call them the “Five ‘Ds’ of Success”. They are:
- Dream—create a vision of the person you want to become and set clear growth goals for yourself to get there.
- Desire—you must have a desire to grow. How badly do you want to achieve your dreams and goals, and how much are you really willing to change to achieve them?
- Decision—a firm decision to move forward is essential. Have you made the decision to take action? Are you fully committed to do whatever is necessary to change, grow and achieve your dreams?
- Discipline—personal discipline to develop successful habits is the final key to sustained positive growth and change. How disciplined are you at managing your time and your talents so that you can achieve what you are striving for?
- Determination—do you have the willpower to keep going when problems and challenges arise? Are you determined to achieve your personal and professional goals despite any complications that may occur?
These five essential elements, combined with the power of genuine support and encouragement from the significant people in your life, will inevitably result in positive change and growth for you. That doesn’t mean easy street is around the corner, but it will provide the essentials necessary to overcome obstacles and challenges. It will result in the achievement of goals and dreams you’ll be proud of.
“Progress always involves risk: You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first!”- Frederick Wilcox