Exactly 18 months ago, I wrote an essay called “Eight Gaps That Squash Growth” based on John Maxwell’s Law of Intentionality.

The law says significant growth requires intention. Growth is not an accident. Sustainable growth demands intentional thoughts and actions with a vision of where you want to go.

John has four steps to move you from a hope strategy for growth to one designed with intention.

I’ll use a recent personal decision to describe John Maxwell’s steps:

 1 – Ask The Big Question Now

For me the question was, “What have I been putting off?”

Answer? Learn to scuba dive.

Why? It’s been on my bucket list. Forever. I’m sure you can relate to something gathering dust on your docket.

This is not a dress rehearsal. You get one chance to perform on the stage called Life.

What big question are you asking yourself right now?


2 – Do It Now

The next question I asked: “Why now?”

There’s so much on my plate (grateful) I’m cookin a half dozen meals at the same time: Running a business, teaching at Coach University, taking piano lessons, practicing yoga, and getting ready to take on a new mentee at Syracuse University.

You know what? There’s never a good time. If it’s important enough you’ll find a way. If it’s not a priority, you’ll get creative and manufacture all the excuses to stay in your old life.

After a few days of reflection, I anxiously picked up the phone and punched the digits for Aquatic World to register for the $600+ Open Water Diving Certification class.


3 – Face The Fear Factor

Ya, I wouldn’t be truthful if I told you I wasn’t fraidy scared!

I mean c’mon!

Going underwater with your life dependent on a Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) is a little disconcerting.

In the book “Conquer Fear” by Lisa Jimenez, Truth #3 says:

When you run from or deny your fear, you leave the gift unopened.


The gift to experience the beauty of aquatic life has been sitting in a pristine box wrapped with a beautiful blue bow for way too long.


4 – Change from Accidental to Intentional Growth

I’ve been in a rut the last six months. Don’t misunderstand, I love my life. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

I thought returning to piano lessons in April would fill the void though dancing on the keyboard again hasn’t had the desired shift I’d hoped for.

Life has been cruising along like a Boeing 777 on autopilot with blue skies and a tail wind. Meh. Snooze. It was time to challenge the process.

When you feel like you’re on a treadmill and not going anywhere fast (especially when you run like a Clydesdale – moi,) Mr. Maxwell suggests looking at whether your world is intentional vs. accidental:

  • Insist to start today vs. plan to start tomorrow
  • Take responsibility to grow vs. waiting for growth to come
  • Learn before mistakes happen vs. learning from mistakes
  • Rely on hard work vs. hope for good luck
  • Persist no matter what vs. quit at the first speed bump
  • Fight for good habits vs. fall into habits that holds you back
  • Walk the walk vs. talk the talk
  • Take risk vs. play it safe
  • Learner mentality vs. Victim mentality
  • Rely on your character vs. talent
  • Never stop growing vs. stop learning after a win

I’m grateful for the intentional moments of growth I’ve experienced in my life so far. Whether it was quitting smoking, diving into the coaching profession, going vegan for 21 days, or taking up yoga, I felt the majority of the bullet points on the aforementioned listicle.

Proud to say I achieved my Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Open Water Diver Certification and certified to dive to depths of up to 60 feet. Way cool.

I’ll also add that learning to scuba dive was the most physically and mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life.

“You can tell you’re on the road to success; it’s uphill all the way.”  ~ Paul Harvey


Where in your life are you feeling a tug to be intentional about growth?

Photo courtesy of Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten.

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