3 Common Personal Growth Opportunities That Most People Utterly Fail to Address

I work with employers and managers to help them better understand their own role in guiding their employees to success. This is the question that sums up my entire job. “What are people really struggling with and failing to address?”

Here are the three things that, if better addressed, would allow people to excel in their own lives as individuals, spouses, parents, employees, and employers. These three things sound simple, but they are not. They are woven into the fabric of every single choice we make and everything we say.

To grow in your life, start to recognize how you stink at the following three parts of life.

Being wrong

We are naturally inclined to feel a sting when we are wrong. We’ll fight instead of fully inquiring to ourselves “Is it possible that I’m wrong here?”

Being unwilling (or slow) to question yourself can be disastrous to your career and the opportunities that come your way.

Here’s a common example. Allison is looking to shift her career from architecture to something new. She’s not making as much money as she’d like and the work is no longer stimulating to her. But, she feels stuck, she can’t think of anything else she can do with her skills. She insists her skills are not transferrable to other roles in other industries. (She’s wrong.)

Allison can’t conjure up a picture of herself in a new role. So, she’s convinced that there isn’t a new role that she could do well. In truth, Allison would make a spectacular project manager in a software development product design setting. But she knows nothing about that industry, so she can’t picture herself there.

Allison will have to get over the sting of being wrong. She’s simply not stuck in her job, or her industry. As soon as she wants to move on, there’s plenty of other places she could go for better paying jobs.

Hurting others

We hate when we hurt others. It feels awful to realize that you are the cause of someone else’s pain. Unfortunately, the go-to solution for most people is to deny that they’ve hurt someone else.

Denying your effect on others is detrimental to your relationships and progress in your career.

Here’s a common example: Roger is a senior manager at a data management company. He has 15 people who report to him. One of his team, Sarah, is having a big problem with Roger, her boss. Deeper discussion reveals that Sarah has a difficult relationship with her own father and some of Roger’s behaviors remind her of her father. Roger’s behaviors might be acceptable in any other setting, but in this setting, he’s triggering Sarah’s clinically diagnosed PTSD.

Roger could deny that he’s hurting Sarah but that would not be beneficial to their relationship. Sure, Roger unwittingly stepped into a touchy situation that existed long before he met Sarah, but that doesn’t negate the fact that he’s causing her to feel emotional pain. Roger can address the situation, recognize his role in Sarah’s pain, and determine whether he is able and/or willing to change his behaviors. Taking responsibility in this situation will make Roger into a hero with executive management.

Feeling emotions

We are often unwilling to feel our painful emotions. We’ll kick, scream, and fight before we’ll address something that’s deeply bothering us.

Learning to address your painful emotions solves nearly all of life’s unsolvable problems.

Common example: Omar’s wife just moved out. She says she still loves him, but that she can’t live with him anymore. She took their kids. Omar is doing his best to stay strong and keep his life in order.

A difficult time in a relationship can cause challenges in other parts of your life. Omar can’t control his wife’s choices. All he can do is find a way to come to peace with the reality of his life. If Omar fails to mourn his loses now, they will cause problems later.

To get past difficult things in life, face the painful emotions head on. Feel them. Cry, be angry, or express whatever you are feeling privately. Don’t involve others in your emotional expression, that just complicates the situation. You can share your feelings with others in words only after they have agreed to hear your feelings.

Feeling your emotions lets them pass on. To get over it quickly, no matter what it is, feel it.

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