Unless it’s a page turner, I usually don’t read a book all the way through. So, I graze several books at any one time, opening the one that strikes my mood that day.

This morning, I opened John Maxwell’s, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.”

The first law is The Law of Intentionality. If you want significant growth, it doesn’t just happen. You have to be intentional about it.

In this chapter, Maxwell discusses eight gaps that can squash our growth. I like calling them myths. Here are my ideas to bust these myths wide open.

1) The Assumption Myth – I’m Going To Grow Regardless of What I Do”      

You’ll make mistakes, fall down, get scrapes on the knee or elbow, or end up with a broken bone or two. Hopefully you’ll learn from these faux pas’s. These growth moments happened simply because of life’s circumstances. There’s a difference when you’re intentional about your growth.

Almost every morning I say to myself, “I’m going to learn something new today.” Inevitably, by the end of the day, I always do. In fact, even the smallest shifts turn out to be bigger than advertised, because I was intentional about experiencing growth.


2) The Knowledge Myth – “I Don’t Know How to Grow”

If your intention is to grow, you will.

Growth begins with taking the first step. Hire a coach. Seek a mentor. Buddy up with a peer. Find a book. Take a course.

What you’re looking to accomplish has already been done.

Be intentional on finding the spark that blazes a path to growth.


3) The Timing Myth – “It’s Not the Right Time to Begin”

A little secret. There’s never a good time!

Here’s a few excuses followed by my italicized thoughts:

  • I have too much going on. (We’re all busy.)
  • This project is consuming all my time. (You’re letting it.)
  • I don’t have the money. (It’s never about the money.)
  • I’ll start next month, or the month after. (Kicking the can down the road.)

I like Mr. Maxwell’s Law of Diminishing Intent:

“The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”

Read that law one more time.


4) The Mistake Myth – “I’m Afraid of Making Mistakes”

Legitimate excuse. I’ll buy this one.

Though, the magic happens when you reach outside your comfort zone.

Like the time I volunteered to dance the elevated runway, in public, amongst hundreds of strangers, to my song choice, “Moves Like Jagger.” I was terrified! Petrified! I can’t dance!! So I thought.

In the end, I pulled it off.


5) The Perfection Myth – “I Have to Find the Best Way Before I Start”

There is no best way!

I could give the same project, to 10 different people, and they’d go about getting to the finish line, 10 different ways.

This myth reminds me of a quote from Lyle Lovett, the American country singer-songwriter:

“I’ve never been ready to do a single thing I’ve ever done in my life. I haven’t been prepared enough, haven’t studied enough, haven’t known enough. You can never be ready. There’s just so much to know.”

Translation? Lyle made it up as he went along.

Life is a game; start playing.


6) The Inspiration Myth – “I Don’t Feel Like Doing It”

People think I’m a motivator. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

If I have to motivate you, this means you don’t want to do it in the first place. I don’t want any part of that game.

The hardest part is getting started.

Once you begin, you’ll see glimmers of success. Instead of spinning your wheels, you’ll have traction.

Nobody can make you wanna. There has to be a whisper of “I will.”


7) The Comparison Myth – “Others Are Better Than I Am”

I remember the time I went to my first graduate school class at Syracuse University. I was in my late 30’s wondering whether or not I could keep up with fellow classmates. I was telling myself, “I don’t think I’m good enough.” Within the first 10 minutes I knew I belonged.

There’s a line I heard from the sitcom “Community.” Jeff, lead character, is addressing his student friends in the library in the midst of hearing them saying negative monkey mind thoughts to themselves:

“You are all better than you think you are. You are just designed not to believe it when you hear it from yourself.”

Those who achieve success are intentional about their growth.


8) The Expectation Myth – “I Thought It Would Be Easier Than This”

What if you’re wrong? What if it turns out to be a lot easier than you thought?

When I decided to dance for charity, and hadn’t a clue how I was going to choreograph my performance, I thought this was going to be the largest undertaking of my life!

A funny thing happened. The experience was not only easier than I thought, but also lots of fun in the process!

Another idea of busting this myth is to set the right expectations. As I always say “Under promise, over deliver.”

Which myth resonates with you? Do you have one you can add? Please share your thoughts below.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley.

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