Change is Automatic but Growth is Not

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The world constantly changes. We ask ourselves, “Are we changing, too?” Or the better question, “Are we growing?”

Change automatically happens but growth does not. I once heard it from Tony Robbins: Change is automatic but growth is not. It is a choice. It has to be intentional.

Growth is something that we humans seek. We want to grow. This is why people leave their jobs because they think they are not growing anymore. At times, people quit relationships because they are stuck and they feel they are not growing together anymore. Other times, people get into psychological crisis because they don’t seem to be growing in life anymore.

It is good that we naturally seek growth. Unfortunately, we often don’t choose to grow probably because growth requires pain. Growth comes with struggles. Growth demands hard work. Essentially, growth requires the elements of these two: decision and action.

Last Thursday, I and two other Toastmasters from Baguio (Mr. & Mrs. Garcia) were in Laoag to serve as guest evaluators in a Toastmasters meeting. (A Toastmasters meeting is not where people attempt to master raising a glass for toast or master toasting bread. It is where Toastmaster members come together regularly to develop their public speaking skills by delivering speeches and receiving constructive evaluation afterwards.) During the impromptu speaking part where members are given the opportunity to respond to a question or topic for two minutes after just a few seconds of preparation, a newbie was called. (Let’s call him Jack.)

As the audience started clapping, Jack stood up and walked to the front. Then he was given the topic to which he responded courageously. The audience listened expectantly. He opened his mouth and uttered a few sounds and several words which he attempted to form into a sentence. After stating that single sentence, he stopped. Smiled. And walked back to his seat. That’s it.

He did not give supporting details to the statement he gave. He did not even consume the minimum time given to him. Probably, he was feeling very nervous that he went blank while giving that impromptu speech so he ended just after he started it.

I can relate to him in that experience. I was once in a similar situation where – at the middle of my speech – I lost my train of thought and so I paused for several seconds that almost lasted for a minute. A very long pause, it was.

But what I admire from Jack was his courage and willingness to stand and participate. I believe he was there in the meeting because he wanted to grow in the field of communication. He wanted to enhance his public speaking skills. Despite the nervousness he may have felt that moment, he made a decision and braved to go on stage to speak.

I could see in his eyes that he wanted to do more. During the evaluation session, I commended him for his courage and encouraged him to keep coming and keep on participating during meetings so he can continue developing his skills.

His decision and participation in that particular session was a demonstration of how we can move towards growth – to actually decide and take action.

And if he would continue to show up and participate during meetings, most likely he would be able to gradually gain confidence and competence in public speaking. Furthermore, as he would later prepare and deliver his speeches based on the program of the organization, he would acquire more skills in terms of speech content, organization and delivery. He would most likely grow in interpersonal communication as well as part of the package plus more!

But it has to begin with that choice to grow. As his organization would evolve as it naturally does, he must continue to make the choice and keep moving towards growth – not just in the field of communication but also in other areas of life.

In a similar way, you and I also have to follow this model. It applies in other areas where we need and want to grow in. It could be in our career, relationship, or business.

As the world keeps changing, we would be left behind if we won’t choose to grow. But if we do, then we can cope with the times and stay true to our nature. After all, we seek for growth. It is just right that we get intentional about it and work towards it.

Hence, whatever field we want to grow in and whatever skill we want to develop, we are reminded to choose to do so and really do so. It would require work but the fruits would duly follow.

(Chris Dao-anis/CPA, as an author and speaker, helps aspiring and young professionals become better communicators and leaders. He gives speeches and seminars on these subjects. Visit www.chrispoweracademy.com or email chrisdaoanis@ymail.com.)

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