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The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential PDF

Author: John C. Maxwell

Publisher: Center Street


Publish Date: October 2, 2012

ISBN-10: 1599953668

Pages: 288

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface

Potential is one of the most wonderful words in any language. It looks forward with optimism. It is filled with hope. It promises success. It implies fulfillment. It hints at greatness. Potential is a word based on possibilities. Think about your potential as a human being and you get excited—at least, I hope you do. What a positive thought. I believe in your potential just as much as I believe in mine. Do you have potential? Absolutely.

What about unfulfilled potential? That phrase is as negative as the word potential is positive. My friend Florence Littauer, a speaker and author, wrote a story in her book Silver Boxes about her father, who always wanted to be a singer but never was. She says he died with the music still inside of him. That’s an apt description of unfulfilled potential. Not reaching your potential is like dying with the music still inside of you.

Since you are reading these words, I believe you have the desire to reach your potential. So the question becomes, how do you do it?

I have no doubt that the answer is growth. To reach your potential you must grow. And to grow, you must be highly intentional about it. This book is my effort to help you learn how to grow and develop yourself so you have the best chance of becoming the person you were created to be. My desire is to help you develop the right attitude, learn more about your strengths, tap into your passion, become more in touch with your purpose, and develop your skills so you can be all you can be.

You may be aware that this is the third Laws book I’ve written. The first was developed to help leaders understand how leadership works so they could become better leaders. The second was to help people understand teamwork and develop stronger teams. This book is dedicated to helping you understand how personal growth works and to help you become a more effective and fulfilled individual. While it’s true that I may include a few leadership insights along the way, you don’t need to be a leader for this book to help you. You don’t need to be part of a team to grow (though it certainly helps). You just need to be a person who wants to grow and become better than you are today.

What do I mean when I write about growth? That will be as unique as you are. To discover your purpose, you need to grow in self-awareness. To become a better human being, you need to grow in character. To advance in your career, you need to grow in your skills. To be a better spouse or parent, you need to grow in relationships. To reach your financial goals, you need to grow in your knowledge about how money works. To enrich your soul, you need to grow spiritually. The specifics of growth change from person to person, but the principles are the same for every person. This book offers laws that will teach you how to approach the worthy goal of growing. It is a key that unlocks the door. You will have to put in the work to actually grow.

My recommendation is that you tackle a chapter of this book every week. Discuss it with some friends. Do the application exercises that are at the end of each chapter. Keep a growth journal. And incorporate what you’re learning into your everyday life. You cannot change your life until you change something you do every day. By learning the laws and then living them, you will be on your way to reaching your potential. If you keep learning and growing every day over the course of many years, you will be astounded by how far it will take you.

Do you have a plan for your personal growth?” Curt Kampmeier, the man who asked me the question, waited patiently for my response. It was a question that would change my life.

I fumbled for answers. I listed my accomplishments from the previous three years. I talked about how hard I worked. I outlined my goals. I explained the things I was doing to reach more people. All of my answers were based on activity, not on improving. Finally I had to admit it. I had no plan to become better.

It was something I had never considered before, and it exposed a major flaw in my approach to work and success. When I started my career, I was intentional about working, reaching my goals, and being successful. I had a strategy: hard work. I hoped that would get me where I wanted to go. But working hard doesn’t guarantee success. And hope isn’t a strategy.

How do you get better at what you do? How do you improve your relationships? How do you gain more depth and wisdom as a person? How do you gain insight? How do you overcome obstacles? Work harder? Work longer? Wait for things to get better?

That conversation happened over lunch at a Holiday Inn restaurant in 1972. At the time, I had just been given the opportunity to move up in my career. I had been offered the best church in my denomination. Think about being offered the top leadership job in the premier location in your company. That’s what it was for me. The problem was that I was twenty-four years old, I was in way over my head, and I knew that if I didn’t rise to the occasion, I would fail spectacularly.

Curt was a salesman who was selling a growth kit—a year-long plan with materials designed to help a person grow. He slid the brochure across the table to me. It cost $799, which was nearly a month’s salary for me at the time.

My mind was racing as I drove home. I had believed that success would come to anyone who poured himself into his career. Curt helped me to realize that the key was personal growth. It occurred to me that if you focus on goals, you may hit goals—but that doesn’t guarantee growth. If you focus on growth, you will grow and always hit goals.

As I drove, a quote from James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh came to mind. I had first read that book in seventh grade and had subsequently read it nearly a dozen times. Allen wrote, “People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” I couldn’t afford what Curt was offering. Yet in my heart I knew that he had uncovered the key to the ability to meet my next leadership challenge and go to the higher levels in my career. I could see the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be—where I needed to be! It was a growth gap, and I needed to figure out how to bridge it.

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