Blog post cover art, man hiding behind desk with overlay text reading "does it scare me?"

When weighing a new opportunity for my own growth, I always ask myself one question: Does it scare me?

If the answer is yes, I act.

Expecting Growth

Recently, I received an unexpected phone call from an old friend. They wanted to run something by me and check my interest in a new project. After listening to him, I checked my calendar. I had just had a client cancel and because of that, the time he needed me for, I was suddenly free. 

Instantly, I jumped at the opportunity.

Why? Blog post cover art, man hiding behind desk with overlay text reading "does it scare me?"

Because I was afraid of what might happen if I said yes.

As a person who thrives on routine, habits, and discipline, I love knowing what is coming next. I plan my calendar religiously, oftentimes setting appointments weeks into the future. Obviously, I coach my clients to do the same.

There is power in routine. Freeing up our minds from the chaos of the day-to-day is a powerful way to get more done in less time.

At the same time, I challenge myself with new opportunities by asking one powerful question.

Does it scare me?

If the answer is yes, I force myself to try it.

If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try. – Seth Godin

Life, growth, progress, abundance, goal achievement, happiness, fulfillment, all of it happen when we step outside our comfort zone.

Comfort zones bring death. They slowly destroy and erode our souls, our brains, and our bodies. By courageously stepping out into the unknown, we live a life worthy of the greatness coursing through our veins.

That next client.

The dream vacation.

Your future spouse.

A long-established business.

Fame.

Notoriety.

Fortune.

All of it happens in the space outside of your comfort zone.

So go for it.

Ask yourself: Does it scare me?

If it does, go for it. You’ll be surprised what you learn about yourself, what you achieve, and the joy you find in the unknown.

Blog Post Cover Art two people mapping out a journey with a computer and paper, one person sipping coffee. Overlay text Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Recently, I was reminded about the importance of developing the process of growth and achievement.

As I was scrolling through social media, I came across the following quote:

Amateurs have goals, professionals have a process.

In the myth of new year new you, it’s popular for people to set goals. Rarely do they ever achieve those goals. Now, some are now actively warning you not to do it.

The failure to attain these goals, really to gain any motivation or traction for change, can be found in that nuance.

I’ve written before about how to write clear and compelling goals.

What makes all the difference in the world, is the process to make it stick.

Setting Goals

Here’s a quick recap on how to set good goals: S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

Specific – Is it clear?

Measurable – Can it be defined?

Achievable – Is it possible?

Relevant – Do I really want it?

Timely – When does it need to be done by?

Energy – What’s the feeling I gain by achieving the desired result?

Reward – How can I remind myself it all matters?

Notice the difference between these two “goals”

I will lose weight.

OR Blog Post Cover Art two people mapping out a journey with a computer and paper, one person sipping coffee. Overlay text Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

I will lose 25 pounds by March 15. This will give me extra energy and confidence for the cruise my wife and I are taking to celebrate our anniversary over spring break. When I lose those twenty-five pounds, I will reward myself with a new swimsuit for the trip.

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Develop the process.

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

To help develop the process in any goal you want to set, here are three quick questions you can ask yourself:

1.) Who do I need to become?

Goals, growth, and progress all require change. You cannot strive to attain something and remain the same. Identify who you need (and want) to become. Create the process and choices that will help you achieve the desired growth.

2.) What should I K.I.S.S.?

In this context, K.I.S.S. is an acronym for Keep, Improve, Start, Stop.

What is working well that I should keep doing? This is about amplifying the good.

What could be working better? This is about refinement.

What do I need to start? Action is key and sometimes we don’t get it right the first time. This is about continuous motion and improvement.

What should I stop? Not everything goes as anticipated. Sometimes, we just need to let it go.

3.) How will I avoid distraction?

We’re not perfect. I’m sure you’ve logged on to social media before to make a meaningful and business-related post only to be sucked in by mindless scrolling. It happens to everyone. Learning our personal triggers (being tired, hungry, bored, etc…) and building around those moments minimizes distractions and keeps us focused.

2022 is young and fresh. It is a year full of possibilities and I hope and pray the best for you. On your journey remember one thing:

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Develop the process.

A shadow cast on a brick wall of a giant in armor with overlay text slay your giants while you're young. Blog post cover art.

That’s why it’s so important to slay your giants while you’re young.

Her words hit me like a ton of bricks.

Not only is she incredibly beautiful and funny, she’s also really, really smart.

I’m lucky she’s my wife.

We were talking about the importance of marked leadership growth and reflecting on the life of King David in the Bible.

Setting the Stage

I was walking her through a talk I was getting ready to give, and we were reflecting on what David’s life might have been like as he neared the end of his life.

A Forgotten boy to a ruler.

From shepherd to king.

Giant-slayer to sage. A shadow cast on a brick wall of a giant in armor with overlay text slay your giants while you're young. Blog post cover art.

Desert dweller to palace ruler.

As he neared the end of his life, he had to spend time reflecting on all that had transpired. A surprising amount is written about David in the Bible. We see his faith and folly as he is featured across the pages of Scripture.

Someone described as “a man after God’s own heart” has killed giants, led a country, been to war, stolen another man’s wife, committed murder, written songs, and experienced rebellion and treason from his own family.

Throughout it all, he remained committed to God and in trying to understand how to lead well.

And as my wife and I were discussing this, we were talking about the many ways in which his experiences of God may have changed, but the need behind them hadn’t.

That was true throughout the Israelite story.

It’s true for us as well.

Having Experiences

We all have a quest and desire to connect with God.

Unfortunately, we also want to keep having that same experience.

When the Israelites that saw God in the pillar of fire still wanted to see him like that. The problem is that as circumstances change, so do the experiences.

That’s why it’s important to slay your giants while you’re young.

David experienced God when he slew the giant Goliath. But he was never supposed to become a perpetual giant killer. Once he accomplished that mission, it was time for a new one.

Slay Your Giants While You’re Young

As leaders, we are all called to progress.

Grow.

Adapt.

Change.

Overcome.

In new ways, every day.

Far too many of us, however, take pride in slaying the same giants over and over.

Battling with addiction instead of getting help.

Hiding behind our fears and weaknesses instead of soliciting a mentor to overcome.

Engaging in the same pointless battles again and again.

I’m reminded of a story I heard once. An elderly leader was being interviewed about his life and influence. Having just passed 80 years old, he had a lot of wisdom to share with the crowd.

The interviewer asked him, “What’s one battle you regret not winning?”

Immediately, the 80-year old replied, “Porn.”

At 80, he was still trying to slay the same giant as his teenage self.

Instead of being able to be a person of wisdom to his community, he was stuck in a cycle of shame.

Don’t fall victim.

Slay your giants while you’re young.

Blog post cover art, a picture of an elephant with overlay text that says don't be a circus elephant

In a world that has trained you to be afraid, to doubt, and to limit yourself my advice is simple: don’t be a circus elephant.

The Elephant and the Rope

There’s a rather famous story floating around about how baby elephants were trained for the circus.

In short: baby elephants learn their boundaries by being chained to a stake in the ground. As little elephants, they can’t break free and learn they can only go so far.

By the time they are adults, the chain has been exchanged for a tiny rope, but the same (now self-imposed) limit still applies. The young elephant learned, “I can only go so far” and it never ventures to try anything new.

The adult elephant is capable of breaking free from the tiny rope, yet it never does.

Why?  Blog post cover art, a picture of an elephant with overlay text that says don't be a circus elephant

Because that’s the power of false beliefs.

The False Narrative

When our kids were younger, we told them Bongo stories. In the stories, Bongo was their dog that was big enough to ride on. They would zoom around their Kingdom rescuing animals in need.

In every story, I would describe the adjectives the kids would need to complete their mission.

Kindness.

Love.

Compassion.

Justice.

The list complied was designed to teach them the values, attitudes, and habits we wanted to instill in them.

This was done because of the powerful shaping effect of story.

Plus, it counters the false narratives that we as adults know all too well.

“I can’t.”

“I’m too dumb.”

Clumsy old me.”

Every day, we bombard ourselves with narratives and adjectives about how limited we are. And, just like the elephant, we never break free of those limitations believing we can only go so far.

Only have a certain amount of success.

We falsely believe the little rope of lies telling us we can’t be more, do more, have more, or love more.

It’s time to break free.

Breaking Free

In coaching, we talk about breaking free of limiting beliefs through three C’s of action.

 

Community

The first is to be surrounded by community. Hear the voice and perspective of people who can see your true nature, gifts, abilities, and potential. Surround yourself with the positive people who want and see great things for you.

Competency

Discovering your true gifts and calling is another way to break free. Do you do what you love becuase you’re really good at it and enjoy it … or because you’re trying to earn someone’s affection? Knowing your true skills creates a passionate pursuit of of growth and limitless influence.

Compassion

Look. We’re all going to screw up. In those moments of failure, having compassion on yourself is vital. Know your standard, live up to your standard, but have grace on yourself when you mess up. Learn where you went wrong, and correct the problem.

In your quest for personal growth, never believe you have to settle. Don’t be a circus elephant.

foggy forest with overlay text do you want to change, blog post cover art

In coaching, I’m willing to do anything I can to help you reach your goals. The one thing I can’t do, however, is make you want to change. That’s why I ask all potential clients, Do you want to change?

The Origin of the Question

While walking the earth, Jesus performed lots of miracles, engaged in teaching the masses, and healed people. In one such instance, he asked the man, Do you want to get well?

It seems rather odd, that question.

Who wouldn’t want to get well?

Well, it turns out, quite a few of.

In fact, quite a few of us like being sick in one way or another.

We feel comfortable where we are stuck. In the small beliefs we hold. We see it in the minor discomforts of life, that one way or another, we are all stuck and most of us like being there.

It’s safe.

Comfortable.

It’s also killing us slowly.

Jesus asking, do you want to get better expresses the true desires of our hearts.

Do you want to let that burden go?

Are you willing release your doubt and fear?

Do you want to experience something different?

Because if you do, he offers to help. But if you like where you’re at, he’s also willing to leave you there.

In coaching, I’ve seen the same thing happen.

Do You Want To Change?

Whenever I meet with a potential client, we spend a little bit of time getting to know each other. I need them to trust me and give them space in our first session to ask anything they want about me. I’ll disclose (within reason) whatever the need to feel comfortable.

It’s also a time for me to see where they are at. It’s a chance to make sure they are willing to engage in the process with both their head and their heart.

And one question I ask everyone is, “Do you Want To Change?” foggy forest with overlay text do you want to change, blog post cover art

I can do a lot for you: provide excellent coaching, recommend books and other resources, give you extra time, and other tools at my disposal.

The one thing I can’t do for you is make you want to change.

That’s the one thing you have to bring to the relationships: you have to want to change. To get better. To experience life anew.

If you’re unwilling to do that, there’s really not a lot I can do.

But if you honestly bring that one thing to the table, everything is suddenly a possibility.

Relationships renewed and restored.

Businesses thrive.

Health improved.

Lives impacted.

All because you agreed to show up fully in the world and agreed to change.

But it all starts with the question:

Do you want to change?