5 Ways You’re Inhibiting Your Growth as a Leader

Human Growth Inhibitors block us from reaching our full potential. They hinder emotional development, impede progress and stifle creativity. They kill sales, rob us of joy and hold our dreams hostage. Spiritual maturity, mental clarity and physical well-being are all compromised by human growth inhibitors. And they dim the brightest of futures and cripple the strongest of wills.

If you’ve known me through the years or seen me onstage a few times you know something about me: I’m either clean-shaven or I’m not.

Every once in a while when I’m sporting the salt and pepper facial hair someone will say something like, “Dude, you’re growing a beard!” (And it’s usually followed by, “Wow, you look a lot older.”) Very profound. But the first statement is only partly true. You don’t actually grow a beard, the beard grows by itself, so you have to consistently engage in specific activities to keep the beard at bay.

Similarly, you and I engage in activities that keep us from growing toward our full potential.

The 5 Human Growth Inhibitors

What human growth inhibitors do most people engage in when they want to minimize the growth of the beard? That’s right, they shave. Here are the five Human Growth Inhibitors, or SHAVE:

1. SURROUND yourself with people who make you feel better about playing small and not growing. Who are the five people you spend the most time with? Do they challenge and inspire you and support your growth? Or do they keep you stuck?

2. HOLD on to the past. You dwell on past mistakes, regrets, grudges, failures and tragedies. Or you tell yourself I’ve always been this way, it will always be this way, there’s no sense in even trying.

3. ANESTHETIZE. This literally means to deprive of feeling or awareness. You engage in activities to avoid the pain of growth. Drugs, alcohol and other forms of self-medication fall into this category. What are you doing to remain comfortable?

4. VILIFY people and circumstances. You look outside yourself and blame others or “life” for where you are, who you are and your experience of the world. And life never seems to get better.

5. ESCAPE through social media, thrill seeking, television, trivial pursuits, and other endless distractions inevitably delaying or denying your growth.

Take Inventory. Ask Yourself:

1. Which of the Human Growth Inhibitors do I consistently engage in? And why?
2. How is each HGI blocking my growth? Be specific.
3. What am I willing to do less of (or not at all) to allow for more growth in this area?

Part of reaching our fullest potential is determining what we are doing that gets in the way. And then do less of that. It’s a choice. Choose powerfully.

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Doug Grady has been studying and teaching the pathways to personal potential for over 20 years. He is a professional speaker, musician and author of The Ripple Effect. His companies, writings, trainings and music are designed with one purpose: to help people reach their God-given potential. A version of this article originally appeared on Doug’s blog HERE.

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