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How to accelerate your personal growth

How to accelerate your personal growth

When I was in my early 20s, I went through a rough transition that eventually led to my own personal growth journey. This photo of me working from a hotel in Beijing above is a very different image than who I was earlier.

I was in an on/off relationship that had just ended for the third time. I was in a job I did not find fulfilling at all and I was drinking and partying way too much to make things worse. (Hint – this is the worst thing to do when you are already not happy).

After that relationship ended again, something inside me snapped, and I became set out to become the best person I could possibly be.

To do that, I knew that the journey was 100% my responsibility and blaming anyone or anything else for my problems would not get me anywhere.

That is the first step to accelerating your personal growth journey. You need to take 100% responsibility for everything in your life.

If you don’t like something it is your responsibility alone to take action to correct it. It is not the responsibility of the government or anyone else to make you happier and more successful. It is only yours.

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So your first step to accelerating your personal growth is to embrace that mindset.

Once you have truly embraced that, do the following tasks.

Name the specific skill you want to improve on

Personal growth is a very broad term, and the way we grow it is by improving all the skills that lie underneath that. Is it communication, technical skills, leadership skills?

Grab a piece of paper and write down some areas you want to improve on in your own life. For example, some I have had are: improving my writing for web content, improving my public speaking, learning growth analytics, and campaign strategies.

The more specific you can get, the better.

Once you found the skill you want to improve, here is exactly what you should do.

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1.) Buy the top 5 to 10 highest rated books on Amazon for that skill

Reading from people who have had past success in the skill you want is one of the quickest ways to learn something and put it into action. Most people will just read one or two books on the subject; reading five to ten will dramatically enhance your skills and overall knowledge in that skill.

You may also use Audible for this. Personally, I mix reading and listening. If you’re not on Audible, get it if you are truly serious about increasing your personal growth. Time spent walking or commuting is valuable time to learn.

You can also check websites like edX or Coursera for courses you can enroll in on the subject. Some are free and some are paid.

2.) Start networking (and do it correctly)

Look up groups on Meetup and other platforms like Eventbrite for the skill you want to grow and start attending them. This will have two immediate impacts: you will start learning more on your topic, and you will begin networking and meeting like-minded people in the business.

A quick note—networking doesn’t mean finding as many people as you can and then asking them if you can “pick their brain.” This has generally become a big no-no in the entrepreneur space. You always have to consider what value YOU can add to the other person as well.

Having said that, what is the best way to approaching networking?

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Simple, build meaningful relationships and new friends. Play the long game. Picking someones brain for 10 minutes over coffee may help you temporarily right now, but it leaves a bad taste and doesn’t set you up for a long term relationship, which is FAR more valuable.

After you meet some new people at an event and discover their interests and what they are doing connect with them through email or social media. If you find any articles or insights that may be of value to them, send them their way. Comment on their posts and encourage them on their own journey.

Build a meaningful relationship, instead of coming at them like a vampire trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible.

Recently, I have been attending an amazing Growth Marketing meetup in San Francisco.

    3.) Find 2- or 3 professional events or conferences on the skill you want to grow

    There are so many conferences, seminars, and live events for almost any skill that you could ever want to grow. Check your own city or any nearby and I bet you will find some. Live events are powerful as they are a full immersion experience. You essentially take the first two points above and throw it into a fast spaced boot-camp style experience.

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    Try to do this each year and make an effort to attend them. Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make and will yield the highest returns.

    Rinse and repeat this for each skill you want to build, and you will 10x your personal growth in that area.

    Seem simple? It definitely is.

    How many people do you think actually do this though? Be the exception!

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    Paul Milano

    Helping others build a powerfully productive life

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    Published on November 12, 2020

    5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

    5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

    What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

    Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

    Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

    While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

    Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

    1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

    When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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    Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

    In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

    • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
    • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
    • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

    While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

    2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

    Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

    Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

    Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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    However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

    3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

    Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

    But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

    It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

    4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

    Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

    Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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    5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

    Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

    For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

    How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

    The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

    If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

    Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

    It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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    Final Thoughts

    If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

    If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

    It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

    More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

    Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

    Reference

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