How do we GROW?

(6 minute read)

Growth is not always easy. Actually, plants make it look easy. But, personal development for us complex human creatures can sometimes be tricky. Well, we make it tricky.

There were many times I chose to stay in my miserable but familiar rut, rather than leap into the great unknown. But, then staying the same was not always easy, either. I would often only make changes when the pain of staying in the same situation was more unbearable than my fear of the unknown.

That was not a pleasant or healthful way to live.

My plan was: accept it, change it and if those steps failed, then leave it. But I would often deny there was anything wrong with the status quo, because if I did then I would have to take action to change it.

At some point, I realised I did not need to be fearless to make change; being totally fearless would never happen. But, nor could I continue to let fear paralyse me. In fact, fear and courage are often companions on the personal development path, from my experience.

We also need to be mindful that changes we make may, either directly or indirectly, affect others. Unlike Gina Linetti in Brooklyn 99 who innocently asks: “How was I supposed to know my actions would have consequences?” Classic.

You don’t have to be fearless to do anything. You can be scared out of your mind.

Esperanza Spalding

I have now learned to ‘blow a raspberry’ in the face of fear and lean into any discomfort, knowing this feeling is only temporary and the rewards of my efforts, to improve the quality of my life and that of others, is so worthwhile.

Experience has shown me that when I make change from a place of clarity and love, instead of fear, the rewards are beyond my expectations. If I make a decision rooted in fear, it is usually not ideal and I have to course correct soon afterwards, which requires even more effort on my part.

So, what has GROW got to do with all this and what is so good about the GROW model?

GROW can help us face our fears and make change. It can highlight the ‘reality’ of our situation including any blocks we are putting in the way, what options are available to us and what steps we need to take to move forward.

Whitmore’s coaching model (1992) is great for this, because it is straightforward and easy to remember. Even I can remember this!

The GROW model is commonly used in coaching sessions, but it is easily applied to aspects of your every day life. For example:

Goal – I want to get my work done.

Reality – I’m staring at a screen of seemingly ceaseless emails in my inbox.

Options – Make a coffee. Go outside. Delete all the emails and pretend I never received them (That might be tempting, but remember the consequences I mentioned earlier!!!). Have a break. Start my work. Binge watch something on Netflix. Procrastinate some more. Trick myself into doing 5 minutes of work, because I can manage 5 measly minutes, right?! Teleport to another planet, chat with some ET beings about their inspiring work ethics before riding a pegasus home via a tropical smoothie, fresh pastry and coffee tree (I find it’s fun and liberating to include some outrageous options, as this can lead to divergent and broader thinking that wasn’t accessible in your previous mindset).

Way Forward – I’m going to commit to tackling the easiest email straight away to get me into the swing of things and continue for 5 minutes. Then get the coffee on! Plough through the emails, taking regular breaks, get my work done and feel accomplished. Woo hoo!

Well, now that I have achieved my goal of writing this post and thus feel accomplished (HUZZAH!), I’m going to pop the kettle on : )

So, how do you choose to GROW today?


Whitmore, J (1992) Coaching for Performance: A Practical Guide to Growing Your Own Skills London: Nicholas Brealey

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