Hello everyone. Chris Adams here, and this topic today, is three stages of personal growth. It could be three stages, maybe stages isn’t the right word, but there are definitely three components of growth that I think are important for leaders.
The thing for me is, I talk a lot about leadership, I talk a lot about culture. Culture starts from leadership. Leadership is all about you.
Leadership starts from the top down. Not to get into a lot of it, but you should check some of my other videos, but everyone, I believe, is a leader of one.
You are responsible for you, and I think we can spend a lot more time helping ourselves through personal growth. I think personal growth, personal development, are important pieces of it, but it’s been commercialized, and there’s a lot of hyperbole around it, and it gets glossed over, but it’s really, really important. I just wanted to work through some of these.
Now, here’s the deal. This is how it started. Then I’ve got a bunch of other notes here to make sure that I don’t miss anything. For me, as I journal, as part of my growth and my personal development, I come up with these topics, and I write them down. As I’m writing them, and before I get to shoot this video, I’ve already got a bunch of changes, so you just have to bear with me.
So, let’s get to it, so the three stages, really, I think are important. They’re in this order. Number one, great leaders are incredible followers. Right, and I think that the component of being a great follower is the component of learning.
I think we have to be perpetual learners, right? One of the things that we have, from an engineering standpoint, and I heard this, when a developer is developing code, right, or a programmer, there’s this saying: garbage in is garbage out.
Garbage in, is Garbage out
I want you to think about that in the context of what we’re putting into our brains, what we are putting into our minds. The stuff that we watch on TV, the stuff that we watch on social media, the stuff that we watch on the news. The music that we listen to.
That is part of what you’re taking in that is shaping your mindset, okay? The thing with mindset is, right, and this is another one of these terms, and this is what drives me nuts, mindset is very, very powerful.
It’s one of those hyperbole words. It’s a cliche, right? Mindset, you need to look at it in three components, three things.
Number one, it has to be in alignment with the stuff that you’re thinking, it has to be in alignment with the stuff that you say, and the stuff that you write. That has to be in alignment with the way that you act.
If those three things are not in alignment, you are going to be in constant conflict. The way you show up at home, the way you show up at work, the way you show up at church, the way you show up for your friends, all needs to be in alignment.
I think we all know people who show up differently at work than they show up at home. You know what I mean? That’s not being true, that’s not being authentic. There’s something that’s breaking there.
The thing for me is, garbage in is garbage out. What are the things that we’re putting into our brains in a state of learning? Are you listening to podcasts? What podcasts are you are you listening to? What books are you reading?
One of the great things that I love to ask people is, even when they’re interviewing here for us at Smadatek is: What was the last book you read? How long ago was that book that you read? What podcast?
What I’m trying to get is, are you a perpetual learner? Learners are good potential leaders. I’m not saying from a following standpoint, but are you leading yourself? That’s really important. I think listening is also a really powerful part of learning.
Are we listening and asking questions coming from a place of persuasion or influence?
I think sometimes we get into a lot of conversations where we’re listening, but we’re getting answers [that are] not from good questions. Are we talking to teach people, or are we trying to influence people? Are we trying to persuade them? How many conversations do we have, of persuasion? Think about politics. Think about religion. I’m trying to convince you that my way is right, and I don’t think that’s the case. We need to be asking better questions, so we can be more empathetic.
It’s one of those things where people will listen to the news, and they’ll regurgitate this headline. The thing is, I understand what you’re saying, but tell me more about that. Why is it that you feel that way? What is it that we need to be talking about? I want to understand: Is that just really a talking point that you’re regurgitating? Or is that what you truly feel?
I think learning is number one and what you garbage in and garbage out. You have to be in alignment, like I said. What you think, what you say, and what you write, has to be in alignment with the way that you act.
Number two, is this act, it’s the doing. Are we getting stuff done? I know a lot of people who are perpetual learners that read a lot of personal development, a lot of self-help, a lot of leadership books. The thing about it is, that learning is the one part. You have to take what you learn, and you have to put it into action.
I think we could look at failure in a couple of different ways. Is it really failure? Is it really a loss? I don’t think so, it’s really just learning. Taking what you learn and putting it into action: garbage in, garbage out.
What is it that you learned on the podcast? What is it that you learned from the book that you read? I do a lot of reading, and I have my favorite books. I’m always working through this top 10. I can tell a good book, because number one, I’m going to read it again and number two, the notes that I take.
One of the things that I’ve done is, for me, as the leader of one, is how am I taking those things and am I putting them into my life to make me the best version of myself. It is risky, right? We could implement something, and it could fail. The thing about it is, we sit down, we evaluate it, we ask the three questions: what worked, what didn’t work, what can we do to be better? It’s the constant feedback loop.
Another thing about action that’s really important is teaching. Who are you teaching? It’s one thing to learn. If you’re not going to try to implement what you learn, who are you helping? You’re definitely not helping yourself.
The other thing is, who are you teaching to help them? Right, that’s kind of the servant side of what we need to be doing. I think that’s a really powerful tool. What are we doing to teach our kids? What are we doing to teach our employees? What are we doing to help teach our friends?
Not influenced, not inspired, or not motivated, it’s just taking what you have and passing it along. Right, it’s paying it forward. That’s what the second component of action is.
Number three, I think this is one of the hardest things to get through, I think this creates some sort of vulnerability, but it also creates the authenticity.
For me this is, personally, probably what’s changed the most for me in the last three years as I’ve really started to be the best version of what Chris Adams can be. For me, I’ve always liked to learn: whether that was at a sports camp, whether that was at a marketing seminar, whether that was reading a good book.
I didn’t really have a problem with action. The nature of what I do, right, I’m an entrepreneur. I love to go out and try new things, but the most important part of that isn’t so much what we get done. It’s not about what we put on our to-do list, that we get to check off, it’s not the revenue goal, it’s not the transactions. I talk a lot about the difference between transactions and relationships. It’s not so much the transaction or the action, that becomes important. It’s absolutely, positively, who we get to be, when we’re completing those actions.
You can still be a great manager and hold people accountable, and still be a kind person, a compassionate person, a loving person. You can have all of those same conversations with those. It’s important to understand that who we get to be, why we’re doing those things, is really, really important.
I think that if you look at all three of those components, those are all ever flowing. Once you become aware of those, for me, it helps me be better. I don’t look to be perfect. I look at these things:
I can still hold people accountable. I can still get mad. It’s not getting mad, it’s not the anger that’s the problem, it’s how you manage that anger. Are we being critical?
Culture starts with you
One of the things that we talk about here is the difference between responding and reacting. There are some things, the four Cs. I think there may be five, it depends on who you talk to. The four critical Cs that you don’t want to be, while you’re acting and doing.
Three stages of personal growth you need to be aware of: what are we learning? what are we teaching? what are we teaching our kids? what are we teaching our friends? what are we teaching our employees?
This will be a part of our leadership and our culture seminar: culture starts with you. You are the leader of one, and it’s your responsibility to be the best version of what you can be, for everyone around you.