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BisMan Mastermind Study Group Blog: The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

John knocks another one out of the park, this time with a book that guides you through the process of how to grow. But first he asks an important question, “Do you know what your potential is?”

Growing Yourself Enables You to Grow Others

What is your passion? What are your strengths? Do you think that knowing these two components could be essential to know what your contribution should be.

If my weakness is in math, what makes me think I should teach math, or do peoples taxes.

Once you find out what your strengths are, build upon them so that you can help others do the same.

Be a river, not a reservoir, whatever comes in needs to flow through you.

Ask these questions to identify someone who can encourage you to be your best:

  • Who mentors you and offers you a baseline of wisdom?
  • Who mentors you to aspire to be a better person?
  • Who challenges you to think?
  • Who cheers on your dreams?
  • Who cares enough to rebuke you?
  • Who is merciful when you have failed?
  • Who shares the load in pressurized moments without being asked?
  • Who brings fun and laughter into your life?
  • Who gives you perspective when you become dispirited?
  • Who inspires you to seek faithfully after God?
  • Who loves you unconditionally?

If you’re mentoring someone turn these questions around on yourself and reflect how YOU can be this person to someone else.

I think that in order to be a great contributor, you first have to be humble. Is it hard to truly give and not be humble? Or do you give to feed your ego? You need to have a giving attitude.

John lists a couple of things to do to cultivate an attitude of contribution;

  • Be grateful – Like I just mentioned about being humble, being grateful is the same. I like the quote from Zig Zigler;

“You can get everything in your life you want if you help enough people get what they want.”

  • Put people first – I can’t see how you can be a contributor if you don’t put people first. The real magic happens when you put people first and in turn, over time, they start to put you first.
  •  Don’t let stuff own you – What happens when stuff owns you? I think it makes you feel more entitled to what you didn’t work for and makes you greedy. It’s hard to be a contributor when you’re wondering what the other person owes you.

What happens when you make great contributions? I don’t think it gives you success but something even better, significance.

Think about how you can start to become a contributor and become more significant.

This concludes the weekly blog on John C. Maxwell’s book “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” Thank you to those who followed along.

      “If you’re not doing something with your life, it doesn’t matter how long it is!”

Growth Always Increases Your Capacity

Most people set their own capacity without even realizing that they are preventing themselves from growing to their next level. They convince themselves that they don’t have the ability or knowledge to do what they truly desire.

© Marek _ Fotolia

© Marek _ Fotolia

If they truly desire it then how come they can’t believe that they can do it?

Or is it that they don’t want to give up something in order to develop the knowledge and skills to do it. Basically they don’t want to give up to go up. Unfortunately these are the folks who lay in their death beds and have the, “could’ve, should’ve and would’ve” symptoms of life.

How do you not come down with those symptoms? You need to believe in, and give of, yourself.

The Law of Expansion requires you to get out of your comfort zone, which usually means change. If you don’t like change, you’ll struggle. But even more important is, if those closest to you don’t like change, you’ll still struggle.

In this Law John outlines some ideas on how to increase your thinking capacity.

A. Stop thinking more work and start thinking what works. You need to ask yourself these questions about what works:

  • What am I required to do?
  • What gives me the greatest return?
  • What gives me the greatest reward? 

B. Stop thinking can I? Start thinking how can I? This is one of the biggest roadblocks to people achieving their dreams, not believing that they can. Self-limiting beliefs start with the doubt others have in us. That could be our parents when we were still kids who said we would never amount to anything, or the controlling boss that tries to keep you in your place. 

C. Stop thinking one door and start thinking many doors. To many people get stuck on one course of action, and that rarely works. If you’re driving down the highway and hit a detour that goes around the road construction, do you wait for the construction to be over or take the detour? As long as your vision is strong your destination should be the same.

The next step to the Law of Expansion is to actually do it. You have to increase your willingness to do more in order to get more. There are no long term handouts in this world for the majority of us, you have to work to become successful.

Listening to some training the other day I heard Jim Rohn say, “Formal education gets you a career but self-education gets you rich.”

Expanding beyond your own potential is to first believe that you can. Take some time to think about what you want to do and what you need to do to do it, and then make it happen.

Growth Is Stimulated by Asking Why?

What really makes someone smart? Is it all the classes that they take, all the experiences they have, all the books they read?

© - Fotolia

© – Fotolia

Sure, you need to be exposed to the information in order for you to learn from it.

But I don’t think that information and experiences REALLY makes someone smart. Don’t you first need the desire to learn, and that desire starts with curiosity, doesn’t it?

So what makes a person want to be more curious? In The Law of Curiosity John lists ten ways to cultivate your curiosity;

1. Believe you can be curious – For some people it starts with just wanting to. More people need to understand that the difference between success and failure is curiosity.

2. Have a beginner’s mindset – Can you ever learn something new if you already thing you know everything about it?

3. Make why your favorite word – Believe it or not, Thomas Edison was kicked out of school for asking why so many times. (If not we may still be living in the dark)

4. Spend time with other curious people – If the people around you don’t like to ask why, you’ll drive them crazy asking them why.

5. Learn something new every day – Yes, everyday!

6. Partake in the fruit of failure – Why did it fail, why did you fail, why did they fail? If you don’t ask why, do you ever get the answer?

Stop looking for the right answer – Look for a different answer.

8. Get over yourself – If your ego won’t let you admit mistakes you won’t learn from them.

9. Get out of the box – Do what you’re afraid of, do something you’ve never done, learn something new.

10. Enjoy your life – Why wouldn’t you, you have only one, why live it in misery?

It all starts with action, away from activities that leaves you with little imagination.

What are you curious about? If you struggle to answer this then think back when you were a kid.

Once you figure that out ask yourself what can I do to live it?

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

   ~ George Bernard Shaw


You Have to Give Up to Grow Up

How many people think about what they need to give for more success?

© fotomek - Fotolia

© fotomek – Fotolia

How many people think about what they do give up for more success?

Sure, you may need student loans to get a college degree, you agree to the trade-off when you sign the student loan documents. But in reality, are you really giving up to go up? Not immediately, but eventually. The real tradeoff is working enough to pay your tuition without having to rely on student loans. (Something I wish I would’ve put more thought into.)I think the real impact in tradeoffs is what you give up daily.

Do you get up an hour early to work out?

Do you read for an hour at night instead of watching an hour of television?

Tradeoffs really force us to make difficult personal changes and sometimes those around us don’t like those changes. So there’s another piece of the tradeoff that we sometimes forget.

Are those around us willing to make tradeoffs for your growth?

You see this happening when the spouse works an extra job so the other one can go back to school, or they watch the kids every night for two hours so the other one can study. That’s a tradeoff supporting couple’s make.

When you look at the following list of commonly made tradeoffs, which one would you like to become more intentional about making and why?

  • Financial stability today for potential tomorrow
  • Immediate gratification for personal growth
  • The fast life for the good life
  • Security for significance
  • Personal achievement for partnership with others

When you look at the list, or your own list, think about what you won’t ever trade for.

Sometimes people trade their values for what they think is growth, which usually involves self-interests. For me, those tradeoffs are never worth it.

When I see people rise to success quickly, I wonder what values they may have changed in order to get there. What were their tradeoffs?

What values will you not give up for what looks like success?

What do you need to give up to grow to the next level?

Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You Are and Where You Could Be

Have you ever found a rubber band that hadn’t been used in a while? Was it stiff and brittle, did it break when you tried to stretch it?

© Xuejun li - Fotolia

© Xuejun li – Fotolia

It failed to stretch because it lost its resilience. If it was used frequently it remained flexible and was able to handle additional stress when needed. Isn’t that how we are? If you stop stretching in your profession, don’t you get old, brittle and useless? Times and professional requirements change, when you don’t stretch to grow in your profession you become less useful.

What happens to things that become less useful?

What happens to you when you can only hold together what you have and the boss gives you something else that makes you stretch? Does the extra work or going outside your comfort zone make you stretch, or cause you to snap?

Once again you need to research yourself and define your own potential.

What are your strengths?

What are you passionate about?

There are roadblocks in people’s lives that hamper their success and they don’t even know it, they are habits. What habits have you developed that have hindered your progress toward your potential?

What productive habits can replace the unproductive ones?

The harder question is, “What productive habits do you have that need to change to take you to the next level? This may be listening to an audio book instead of music when you walk or drive.

Once you start to see the areas of your life that have untapped potential and start to develop them, possibilities will emerge in those areas?

So where do you need to stretch?

Once you figure that out design a plan to grow in that area. If not you may just become old, brittle and useless.

“Only a mediocre person is always at his best.”

~ W. Somerset Maugham

Character Growth Determines the Height of Your Personal Growth

I don’t believe people give much consideration to the level of their own character. LadderThey also wonder why they struggle to improve their life.

What do you think your level of character is? Which one(s) would you not sacrifice?

Is it being honest to others? But you’re not honest with yourself when you sneak that dessert/cigarette/beer, when, “I’m the only one who’ll know.” I’m sorry, if you can’t be honest with yourself, isn’t it hard to be honest with others?

Do you get upset at someone for doing something to you but you’ve done the same thing to them?

Character development doesn’t just happen intentionally, you have to pay attention to your actions, and how those actions affect others. John has a ‘Character Ladder’ that has helped him increase his character height.

Rungs On The Character Ladder 

  1. I will focus on being better on the inside than the outside – Character Matters
  2. I will follow the Golden Rule – People Matter
  3. I will only teach what I believe – Passion Matters
  4. I will value humility above all virtues – Perspective Matters
  5. I will strive to finish well – Faithfulness Matters

Have you ever sat and listened to someone complain why they didn’t get hired for a position? Did you think to yourself, “I can see why the complainer didn’t get the job?” If you failed at something, the first step is to see what you did or didn’t do. People with low character blame others first for what they did not get or do not have.

In which of the following areas do you see the most room for improvement in yourself? How would your life be better if you grew in this area?

  1. Being Humble
  2. Being Teachable
  3. Being Willing to Serve
  4. Being Grateful

The stronger your character, the greater your potential.

“Achievement to most people is something you do… to the higher achiever, it is something you are.”  
~ Doug Firebaugh

Good Management of Bad Experiences Leads to Great Growth

© masterzphotofo - Fotolia

© masterzphotofo – Fotolia

How do you react to bad experiences? Knowing that everyone has bad experiences and no one likes them, how do you turn them into positive experiences? First, you need to face them. I think it’s too easy to put our bad experiences past us, but unless we learn from the experience, the chances of them happening again are greater.When you face the pain if a bad experience, what is your response?

  • I do anything and everything possible to avoid pain at all.
  • I know pain is inevitable, but I try to ignore it or just block it out.
  • I know everyone endures pain, so I just endure it when it comes.
  • I don’t like pain, but I try to remain positive despite it.
  • I process the emotion of painful experiences quickly and try to find a lesson in them.
  • I process pain, find the lesson, and make changes proactively as a result.

Of course your reaction to different situations may be different, but overall what is your reaction? I think people generally avoid reflecting on their bad experiences because they don’t see value in it. John lists a couple of ways you can turn your pain into gain;

  • Choose a positive life stance
  • Embrace and develop your creativity
  • Embraces the value of bad experiences
  • Make good changes after learning from bad experiences
  • Take responsibility for your life

It is vital for the longevity of the business for the leader to learn from bad experiences. An example could be how some of the automobile manufacturing companies failed to change and needed large government loans to stay operational. One company didn’t because they already made some of those hard decisions.

Whether it’s a personal or business bad experience, think of a problem and use the same process John uses when he encounters a painful experience:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Understand your emotion
  3. Articulate the lesson
  4. Identify a desired change
  5. Brainstorm numerous pathways
  6. Receive other’s input
  7. Implement a course of action

Remember, personal change requires action and sometime you need someone to help you along. You can do this with the help of a trusted friend or a personal coach.

What does the quote, “Every problem introduces a person to himself,” mean to you?


To Maximize Growth, Develop Strategies

This may be one of the hardest things to do to keep growing. No, not to develop a plan, the hard part is to believe that you need one.

© luna2631 - Fotolia

© luna2631 – Fotolia

When you stop planning your life, you stop growing and you start regressing. Nothing stays the same, if you stop growing everything around you is still changing and improving, and you’re not.When looking at the following list of areas in a person’s life, I would think that most of us plan our careers. But how many people plan other areas of their life? Here’s a list of life activities, do you let them happen by chance and which areas of your life should receive the most planning for growth?

  • Career
  • Faith
  • Family
  • Health
  • Hobby
  • Marriage
  • Personal Growth
  • Free Time

We know (or must people know) why you need to work, to fill our basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. Everything else is optional after that and the level of your basic needs is determined by your expectations. Some people are comfortable living on government subsidies, others would rather work to death then accept a hand out.

Both of these groups of people need to design systems to grow, but the first group either has a self-limiting mindset or just lazy. The second group doesn’t have time to design a growth system beyond work, and if they’re not advancing then that plan isn’t working either.

I think there are two basic reasons people don’t develop growth plans. Some people don’t believe that they should or need to and others think that it’s too complicated. In order to design a system that works for you John lists five questions to ask yourself when designing or refining your systems for growth.

  • The Big Picture – Will this system help you reach your big-picture goals?
  • Your Priorities – Is this system consistent with your goals?
  • Measurement – Does this system have a tangible means of determining your success?
  • Application – Does this system have a built in bias toward action?
  • Organization – Does this system make the best use of your time?
  • Consistency – Will you repeat this system on a regular basis?

I think another question you need to ask yourself before these five questions is; “Why?”

Why is it important for you to have a growth plan in specific areas of your life?

What are the benefits if you do? What are the consequences if you don’t?

Take some time this week to explore these thoughts.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.”   ~ Jim Rohn




Growth Thrives in Conducive Surroundings

© Ogerepus - Fotolia

© Ogerepus – Fotolia

When you think about your work place, is it a place where you can grow to the next level? Are there advancement opportunities? Are they in the area you really want to be in because it’s your purpose, or is it just for more money?When looking for the right environment to grow in you need to first look inside yourself. What is your purpose? Unfortunately, I think some people never find their true purpose and end up leaving life with regrets.

The two most important days in your life is the day you’re born and the day you find out what your true purpose of being born is. If you haven’t thought about it, then maybe it’s time to start that journey, it may be the most exciting one you take.

John lists a number of questions to answer true or false to about your environment you’re in (Think about each environment you are in, work, home, non-profit, volunteer group, etc);

  • Others are ahead of me.
  • I am continually challenged.
  • My focus is always forward.
  • The atmosphere is affirming.
  • I am often out of my comfort zone.
  • I wake up excited.
  • Failure is not my enemy.
  • Others are growing.
  • People desire change.
  • Growth is modeled and expected.

After answering these questions ask yourself what the next step should be. Have you reached the limits in your current position? The bigger question may be, “Am I even in the right job?”

Unfortunately I think some supervisors don’t foster a growth environment because they don’t encourage employees to take training classes. They think they need to be the smartest person. Well, that’s one of many reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to quit your job to find your passion. But, should you stay in a job that prevents you from pursuing your passion?

Remember growth comes best and effectively when your environment is aiding, not holding you back.

“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment you first find yourself in.”~ Mark Caine


Motivation Gets You Going – Discipline Keeps You Growing

© iQoncept3 - Fotolia

© iQoncept – Fotolia

When you think about being consistent at doing something, what is it? Besides things you need to do for basic survival like breathing. I was going to add eating and sleeping but that’s different for some people.

What do you need to do as consistently as breathing in order to improve? Not to the extent that you’re always doing it, but it’s an ingrained habit. Maybe it’s reading a daily quote or scripture.

If you struggle to find something that gets you excited when you think about doing it keep trying new things. You might not have found your true passion yet.

If you haven’t taken any personality type assessments like MBTI, Strength Finder, DiSC or one of many other types, check a couple of them out. They each have their own way of interpreting “you,” which is pretty accurate as long as you answer the questions truthfully.

When you can match your strengths to your passions, you’ve hit a home run. Now it should be easy to be consistent at doing what you like to do because it’s what you’re designed to do.

If you’re still struggling being consistent with growing John recommends taking the “The Why Test.”

  • Do you constantly procrastinate on important tasks?
  • Do you require coaxing to do small chores?
  • Do you perform duties just to get by?
  • Do you constantly talk negatively about my work?
  • Do efforts of friends to encourage you or irritate you instead?
  • Do you start projects and abandon them?
  • Do you avoid self-improvement opportunities?

Once you buy into personal growth you need to think about how to grow. Some people go to an event once a year and maybe a couple of day long trainings. The effective way to grow is to do those things, but to also do something daily.

In this chapter John describes how being goal consciousness is different than being growth consciousness.

Goal Consciousness                                                             Growth Consciousness

Focuses on a destination ___________________________ Focuses on the journey

Motivates you and others ___________________________ Mature you and others

Seasonal ___________________________________________________ Lifelong

Challenges you __________________________________________ Changes you

Stops when the goal is reached _______________ Keeps growing beyond the goal

Waits for growth to come ______________________ Takes responsibility to grow

Learns only from mistakes _________________________ Learns before mistakes

Depends on good luck _______________________________ Relies on hard work

Now I’m not saying to not set goals, but those goals need to be in your bigger growth plan. A goal in that plan could be to get a Master’s degree, that’s a goal that should be celebrated. So pat yourself on the back, reflect on why you’re in that field, and then find someone or something to add value to. Set your sights on the next goal and continue growing.

In light of your goals for the future, what is one thing you need to begin doing regularly? Perhaps more importantly, what is something you need to stop doing?

“The hallmark of excellence, the test of greatness, is consistency.”

~ Jim Tressel