As a very young athlete, I was all about the growth game (even if I didn’t call it that). When I was new to the sport of hockey, all I cared about was learning to do something new every single time I stepped on the ice for practices AND for games! Yet, as I got older and moved up the ranks in the hockey world, my focus shifted away from growth and turned to achievement. I started to focus on what team I made, how much ice time I got, how many compliments I got from peers, coaches, parents, etc. I was all about the external stuff—and I was all about waiting for other people to tell me how good I was or how much I was improving.
I see this all the time in elite level athletes. I also see this all the time in corporate. Oftentimes, we start doing something because we love it—whether that’s a sport or a subject in school. Then , later on down the road, we slowly become conditioned to believe that what we love doesn’t really matter. What matters is what other people think about what we’re doing. When we live in this headspace for long enough, we begin to feel the pitfalls of what being completely externally motivated does to our mental state, our energy, and our overall well being. We may feel like we’re in a fog, like we don’t know what the point of it all is, we start to feel less and less happy. We turn into a shell of who we were as kids.
This is why we need to make room for the growth game in our lives. We need to pay attention to the process and the why behind what we do—because then we can start to tap into the things that set us up for success; passion, self-improvement, curiosity, enjoyment. When we focus on the process we embark upon a journey of self-improvement we are able to experience the fruits of our hard work as we go. Yet, so many of us are stuck on this ladder of achievement; constantly climbing, never knowing (constantly doubting) that we’ll ever actually get there.
Are you making room for growth in your life? What is something you do everyday to check in on your growth?