Hi Leader,

This Key arose from an e-mail I received from Jessica, a regular reader of the Key. Below is her request, followed by my response.

"I have not been as organized about and attentive to my personal development as I'd like to be. As a result, I feel scattered among competing priorities, and often I find myself reacting because I have no focus. This leaves me exhausted at the end of the day. I'd love it if you could offer a framework that will help me build a more holistic approach to my growth and development journey."

Here is my reply to Jessica.

Dear Jessica,

Thank you for your kind words and your request. Your feeling of being scattered is a near-term dimension that must be addressed right away. Then you can turn effectively to the broader opportunity of developing a map to build a holistic strategy for your personal development.

Let me first address the near-term need. It is important that you find a way to build confidence, resiliency, and strength. As you become centered and build your resilience and a more robust sense of self-esteem, you create a better platform from which to address your development. You are better off engaging in your development and growth from a place of abundance, where you are more whole in yourself, rather than from a place of scarcity. When approached from a place of strength, mapping your growth opportunities is ten times more productive than it would be otherwise.

Below are three steps you can take immediately to initiate the ruthless self-care protocol. Ruthlessly focus on:

  • Maximizing your energy.
    List the situations and people that suck energy from you and add no value to your life and work. Minimize or eliminate completely the time and energy you spend with people and in situations that pull you down.

  • Starting your day well
    . Internalize the belief that you deserve to start each day well. Shape your day by reserving the first hour for yourself. If you cannot manage an hour at first, begin by taking 45 or 30 minutes and working your way up. During this time, engage in some ritual, practice, or activity that leaves you feeling good about yourself and energized about the rest of the day. Clarify and focus on the two or three vital results you will accomplish that day. Determine how you will achieve these outcomes.

  • Completing your day with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. At the end of each day, gather your thoughts by journaling and or by sharing with your partner three accomplishments, learnings, and/or wins you have experienced during the day. Include small wins, as they provide the foundation for future big wins. Appreciate yourself. Appreciate the people in your life who help you and fill you with joy. Celebrate moments of meaning and connection. Observe how you are getting stronger and better every day at owning your achievements and expressing your gratitude. You deserve all the success and growth you are experiencing today, and all that will come your way in the future.
  • These three steps comprise part one: building your confidence that you are sitting in the driver's seat of your life. Now we can turn to part two: identifying your desired destination, then developing and implementing a plan to help you reach it.

    To help you navigate the journey and shape your destiny, I offer you a powerful tool that is available to each person but used by only a few: the three vectors of growth and development.

    The Three Growth Vectors

    Listen here: Episode 72 - The Three Vectors of Growth

    The Three Growth Vectors

    Reflect on the X, Y, and Z growth and development vectors described below. Explore how you will apply and play with these three growth accelerators. Identify clearly your desired outcomes, then use the vectors to build your plan. To achieve new results, you must build your capacities by practicing and exercising new behaviors and "muscles" such as those I suggested above. You gain a sense of freedom and confidence in your power to embark on the journey that will take you to your destination when you increase your versatility and resilience.

    The X vector defines WHAT you do: the strategy you devise and the priorities you identify to guide your journey to your desired outcomes. Prioritize your projects and initiatives and define what success looks like for you.

    The Y vector defines HOW you navigate the journey to your desired outcomes: what skills and capabilities you apply, how well you stick to your priorities, and what resources and networks you employ as you move confidently toward your desired future.

    The Z vector defines FROM WHERE you make your journey: your mindset, the perspective(s) and construct(s) within which you operate, your inner location and compass, and your belief system, which propels your WHAT and HOW vectors. The Z vector includes your inner state and the topography of consciousness you bring to life.

    The point of offering the three vectors of growth tool is to increase your range and versatility so that you feel that you have greater power when making your life choices and navigating your journey. Too many people only consider their ability to make changes in WHAT they do (the X vector). By applying all three vectors, you create the navigational freedom and flexibility to shape the landscape as you desire.

    For example, let's map the suggestions I offered you above. The necessary work on your resilience, self-esteem, sense of direction and energy takes place along all three vectors.

    At the beginning of the day you decide that in addition to your exercise routine, you will create a ritual to walk outside and breathe the fresh air for 15-20 minutes. That's a WHAT (X vector) decision. Then come the HOW you do it (Y vector) and the FROM WHERE (Z vector) content and meaning you build into that time of reflection. It is along your Z vector that you release any feelings of inadequacy that hold you back.

    The same process applies to your professional development. Along the X vector you identify and explore new leadership roles and opportunities. Along the Y vector you determine the skills and competencies you must build to be successful in leveraging these opportunities. And along the Z vector, you reflect on the qualities and meaning you expect to bring to these opportunities.

    All of us are capable of moving along all three vectors. By including all three vectors of growth, you increase your mindfulness and become more self-directed. Along the X (WHAT) vector you define objectives, priorities and strategy. Along the Y (HOW) vector you build competencies, skills, and tactics. Along the Z (WHERE FROM) vector you move closer to becoming the whole person you desire to be by cultivating your presence, your charisma, and your leadership.

    This was my reply to Jessica. Now it's your turn. Turn the Key. Apply the three vectors of growth and development to define your WHAT, HOW, and FROM WHERE priorities. Build a sense of awareness and purposeful intent. Even in a chaotic world, you have the power to create joy, meaning and well-being by intentionally shaping your journey. Whether you exercise that power is a choice that only you can make. What is your decision?

    © Aviv Shahar