I bought a small hyacinth plant a few weeks ago. At the time it was a mere four inches high. I had no idea how big it would grow or what colour the flower it would produce would be. I had great hopes for it, though and watered it diligently every day. While I was determined to do my part, the rest would have to be up to this little plant.

A few days later I was delighted to see that my little potted plant had grown a few more inches. Over the next few days one, and then three buds appeared. Each had a hint of the blue that it seems will be the colour of its flower. Any day now I know I will enjoy admiring the blue flowers from my plant. The fact that my plant is growing is a sign that it is alive and well.

If you run your own business, is it growing? Or perhaps you don’t own a business but are an employee. Are your skills and expertise growing? If the answer is no, then something is wrong and you need to face up to that fact. The truth is that there is no such thing as staying static. Sooner or later, whatever is not growing begins to die. Slowly but surely, until one day you wake up and that thing is gone.

Growth does not just have to be in numerical terms. As a business your growth can be an increase in the clients you serve, but it could also be growth in terms of an increase in the number or scope of the services you provide. Improvement in your customer service or billing system, or employee benefits can also be seen as growth

As a business owner or team leader you can grow in your leadership or management ability. The degree to which you grow is the degree to which your team or business will grow. I am always amazed at people who are content to remain the same as they were the year before in terms of skills, expertise or persona development. If you have not completed a personal development activity like read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a video or take a course that develops you in some way in the last month, then you are doing yourself a great disservice

A good habit to ask yourself often is this: ‘how can I make this aspect of my work more effective?’ You don’t have to wait until something breaks down before you fix it. Fine tuning aspects of your work or business means that you are constantly looking at ways of improving things rather than waiting until you are forced to take action. Proactivity rather than reactivity is more effective and causes less stress.

One of the reasons my plant is doing so well is because I am making sure it has the right ingredients for growth – water, food and sunlight. The same goes for your business or career. If you do nothing, that’s exactly what you will get. Nothing. Growth requires that you work hard, doing the right things at the right time, for the right length of time. If you do your part, although success is not guaranteed, you are more likely to succeed than if you did nothing.

Here are a few tips for ensuring growth:

  • Surround yourself with people who are inspiring and optimistic.  Their attitude will rub off.
  • Allow enough time for growth to occur.  Be patient.
  • Be prepared to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone
  • Be open to new ways of doing things, especially if old ways have not worked.
  • Deal with challenges one at a time.
  • Ask for help.  It is not a sign of weakness to admit that you can’t do it alone.
  • Finally, fix your eyes on the finish line, not on the track beneath you.