Why Personal Growth is Too Important to be Left to Chance

The feedback was so puzzling, I had to Google it.

After the yearly “talent review” my manager came to tell me, “Rachel, you’re doing so well blah blah (yeah, we don’t really hear the positive feedback!) but it would be great if you could be more approachable.”

Approachable? What the heck do they mean by that? At the time, I didn’t know.  So, I googled “How to be more approachable.” Hmmm.

And started to make some changes

Asking about people’s weekends at the coffee machine and telling about mine. Stopping and paying attention when someone began a chat in the hallway. Sharing my thoughts and opinions informally. Laughing more.

This behavior shift was an important step on my journey from expert to leader, but the changes also served me personally. Since I was more open with my colleagues, I got to know them better. I left that group with strong personal connections that carry on to this day.

Plus, being more approachable was admitting when I didn’t know something and asking for help (tough for us independent science-trained types!) which was also beneficial to my work and to me.

All in all, I believe work and personal growth are inextricably linked. We spend so many of our waking hours at work. Why not use it for the betterment of ourselves as well as meeting business objectives?  And while we’re at it, our personal growth will likely make the working environment and our colleagues’ work lives better.

Personal growth = professional growth and should not be left to chance.

This belief is why I do what I do – coach, teach, and write.

It’s super helpful, as in this story, to get useful feedback from others to help you grow. Regardless, there’s another always-available substrate for growth: your own experiences, which fuel the virtuous cycle of noticing, reflecting, and trying something new. When I coach, a big part is guiding people to pay attention to their own lives so they can have these insights.

Otherwise everything moves so fast, we finish one thing and are onto the next, like running a bunch of experiments but forgetting to write down the results.

Today, I invite you to slow down for a moment.

The turn of the calendar year is a great time to reflect on your past year of experiences, digest what you’ve learned, and look ahead to what new “experiments” to try. To help you through this discovery, I created a one-page end of year Reflection Guide which you can download here or by clicking on the graphic below.

Have a happy, health, and reflective end of the year, and let me know what you learn!

* If you’d like to gift the gift of (free) career growth insights, please forward this email to a friend or colleague or direct them to the sign up page.  Bonus for them: a copy of the Reflection Guide if they sign up.  Bonus for you: potentially a more engaged, self aware coworker who will make YOUR work life better.

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