The change between where you are now and where you are at some future date is your growth story. What’s yours? If you were going to start your story today, where would it begin? What would you be telling people you want to change? What would you say you’re doing today to get there?
At some point in the future – it could be a month, a year, 5 years or even more, what would you want to be telling people about your growth towards that change? If you were to tell them how you did it, what would future-you say? What habits did you develop that helped you achieve this? What was the hardest part?
There are a few things that a good growth story needs:
- Something you’re hoping to grow.
- A snapshot of where you are right now.
- A vision of where you want to be.
- A timeframe that you’re hoping to grow during.
- Some way to hold yourself accountable (a metric).
Growing these skills not only helps you accomplish your goals and helps to envision a better future-you, but they come in extremely handy as skills in the workplace. In my role as Product Manager, having a vision of where we are and where we’re going is an important aspect. At times when I lack that vision or perhaps are still waiting on other factors, I feel lost. When I don’t have an area in my life to grow in I feel similarly lost.
I read a bunch of memoirs. 5 of the books I read in 2017 were memoirs. The reasons range from curiosity about a specific person, fascination about a way of life, insight into a different culture or help understanding another gender, or point of view.
Memoirs allow you to travel the world vicariously in a real-world setting – one that is still filled with excitement and risk. I’ve recently learned I love adventure memoirs like Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country and I’m actively looking for new ones to read. (If you have any adventure memoirs you’ve enjoyed, please let me know!).
The genre of memoirs I most connect with though are growth memoirs – ones where you follow someone’s journey on a path towards self-improvement. Books like Gretchen Rubins The Happiness Project, Dan Harris’s 10% Happier and most recently Cait Flanders The Year of Less which I started right after it’s release!
What these growth memoirs have in common is that they start with a personal challenge. “What if…” is the trigger for changing a lifestyle and seeing how it impacts them. Reading through others stories of growth and struggle helps motivate me in many ways. Seeing someone else accomplish a goal and the work involved in getting there helps me realize that most things aren’t easy. Most impactful change isn’t going to happen overnight – and hearing what worked and didn’t helps me refine my own approach towards my goals.
What’s My Growth Story?
There are many areas of my life I’m trying to improve. My finances, my relationships, the skills that make up my job, Minafi, skiing, and many many more things come to mind right away. Focusing on too many things at once is a recipe for failure. My underlying growth story today that weaves between lots of parts of my life could be phrased like this:
I want to be financially independent before I’m 40 (I’m 35) while practicing a life of abundance every day.
This doesn’t mean quitting my job (which I love, and I’m not just saying that), but that I want to reach that milestone. I find the term a life of abundance hilarious when I’m writing about minimalism, but that dichotomy makes sense in a lagom sense. It’s the idea that I feel fulfilled in all aspects of life, but without approaching excess. The blog is effectively about the follow-up questions:
- Something you’re hoping to grow. In this case, the core metric is financial. It doesn’t mean that’s the only thing that I focus on, but it is an easier metric to grasp than abundance (but I am tracking this to some extent).
- A snapshot of where you are right now. I communicate these every quarter in my quarterly investment reports.
- A vision of where you want to be. Running the numbers on FI with Options, I have a number in mind.
- A timeframe that you’re hoping to focus on this for. Although this is arbitrary, 40 is a good number. If things happen before that, all the better!
- Some way to hold yourself accountable (a metric). The FI side has a clear metric, but how do I hold myself accountable for practicing a life of abundance? I’m currently tracking my happiness via exist.io, and will report on how that goes once I get enough data.
Having an area that I am actively growing in my life is important to me.
What’s your growth story?