15 Invaluable Laws of Growth Summary

My mentor and favorite thought leader John C. Maxwell published a book titled “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” about a year ago.  It is a great playbook on how to be intentional about your own personal growth.  I pulled it back out and read it again, and I want to share the super short summary of the book.

1.  The Law of Intentionality

  • Growth doesn’t just happen.  You must be intentional about your growth

2.  The Law of Awareness

  • You must know yourself to grow yourself. The first step in change is awareness, then you can change.  Check out my blog titled “Are you competent”.  For additional insight on the phase of learning and growing.

3.  The Law of the Mirror

  • You must see value in yourself to add value to yourself.  Don’t compare yourself to others and limit your own self talk that is negative.

4.  The Law of Reflection

  • Learning to pause allows growth to catch up with you.  Peter Drucker says it like this:  “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”  I personally need to do more of this.

5.  The Law of Consistency

  • Motivation gets you going–Discipline keeps you growing.  Develop the good habits that lead to success.  Just showing up is 80% of success.  Some people just don’t show up. You can beat them pretty easily by just being consistent in showing up.

6.  The Law of Environment

  • Growth thrives in conducive surroundings.  Mark Cane says: “The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment you first find yourself in.”  Check out my blog titled “Are you in a Growth environment.”  If you are always at the head of the class you are in the wrong class.

7.  The Law of Design

  • To maximize growth, develop strategies.  Jim Rohn says:  “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you will fall into someone else’s plan.  And guess what they may have planned for you?  NOT much.”

8.  The Law of Pain

  • Good management of bad experiences leads to great growth.  You must suffer pain to realize a gain.  No pain, No gain.  No investment, no ROI.

9.  The Law of the Ladder

  • Character growth determines the height of your personal growth.  Doug Firebaugh says: “Achievement to most people is something you do…to the high achiever, it is something you are.”  Be great!

10.  The Law of the Rubber Band

  • Growth stops when you lose the tension between where you are and where you could be.  W. Somerset Maugham says: “Only a mediocre person is always at his best.”  If you aren’t stretching yourself than you aren’t growing.  Don’t let the rubber band become limp.

11.  The Law of the Trade Offs

  • You have to give up to grow up.  Eric Hoffer says:  “People will cling to an unsatisfactory way of life rather than change in order to get something better for fear of getting something worse.”  The difference between where we are and where we want to be is created by the changes we are willing to make in our lives.  This is an area where I need to continue to grow.

12.  The Law of Curiosity

  • Growth is stimulated by asking Why?  Ask more questions.  The old saying:  Those who can do will always have a job, and the people who know why, will always be their boss.

13.  The Law of Modeling

  • It’s hard to improve when you have no one but yourself to follow.  Find a mentor and look for a coach.  You can’t learn from someone who hasn’t been there before.  Find the people who have been there and done that and ask them lots of questions.

14.  The Law of Expansion

  • Growth always increases your capacity. Most experts believe we only use 10% of their potential.  Wow!  Scary and wonderful at the same time.  We all have the capacity to grow ourselves.

15.  The Law of Contribution

  • Growing yourself enables you to grow others.  You can’t give what you don’t possess.  So first you must grow yourself to be able to grow others, the 14 other laws tell us how to grow ourselves.

There are a lot of little nuggets in the above text.  As the last law states, my hope through my blog and my book summaries is to make a contribution to someone else’s growth.

Brian Willett

Are you a COACH?

This morning I spent some time reflecting on some of the books I have read over the last couple of years.  I did this mainly because I have become a better note taker in the last six months and I wanted to be sure I wrote down the material from some of the great books I have read. Secondly I started this blog seven months ago and I want to share the information.

I was having a conversation yesterday with a really good friend of mine.  I was humbled when he asked me to be his personal coach.  The reason I was humbled, is because I get as much from them as they get from me.  We really do make each other better.  Our conversations and meetings haven’t been well scheduled or planned, but we made an agreement to make sure we plan some regular meetings. We get so much from each other, we need to spend more time talking to each other.  Planning well means we are intentional about our growth and development.  We coach each other.

I pulled out one of my books from one of my favorite authors and thought leaders.  Mr. John C. Maxwell.   His book titled the 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth is probably one of the best play books on personal development that I have read.  In one of the chapters he shares some insights on coaches.

What is a coach?  The word coach is actually derived from the horse-drawn coaches that were developed in the town of Kocs during the fifteenth century.  The vehicles were created to transport Royalty, but they also carried valuables, mail, and eventually common folks.  Kevin Hall wrote in his book Aspire, a “coach” is something or someone, who carries a valued person from where they are to where they want to be. So if you have a coach you would end up at your desired destination.  Isn’t this what a coach does?

Who is a coach?  We can all be coaches.  If you are a parent, a sibling, a manager, a leader, a CEO, a friend, a colleague, a subordinate, a middle manager, a trainer, etc.  We can all be coaches.  You don’t need a title in a company to be a coach.  You can coach from where ever.  It is all about making a decision to do the things below and do it with grace and a good heart for the right reasons.

  • C  are for the People the Coach
  • O  bserve their Attitudes, Behavior, and Performance
  • A  lign Them with their strengths for Peak Performance
  • C  ommunicate and Give Feedback about their Performance
  • H  elp them to improve their lives and their performance

I think the acronym above explains exactly what a coach is.  So for my coaches out there, are you doing those things? I would love to hear any feedback that you may have on this subject.

Brian Willett


Are you in a Growth Environment?

I heard this lesson years ago from my mentor John C. Maxwell.  Many of the elements he suggests for a growth environment have inspired my leadership style and my thinking to develop a growth environment for people in my circle.

This morning as I look at my 2014 goals and see which ones I have accomplished or can accomplish by the end of the year, I had to come back to this lesson again.  I searched through my archives and found it because I had to hear again, especially right now. In this lesson, John talks about being 27 years old and having to make a critical decision in his life on which way to go.  He said he had to be in a growth environment and this was the basis for his decision at that crossroads as well as his entire life.

What is a growth environment?  John provides a great checklist to determine if you are in a growth environment.

  • Others are ahead of you

If you are always out in front, then you are not growing.  You can’t, it is impossible.          You have to be around people who push you.  The only way to be pushed is when others are challenging you to think differently than you are thinking, they are out in front of you.  You get better when you are around better.

Example:  In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Kenyan David Rudisha set the world record in the 800 meter race.  Seven of the eight runners set their personal bests during that race.  The last place runner was the fastest last place in the history of the event.   David Symmonds fifth place time would have been good enough for a gold in every Olympics, except one in 1896.

  • You are continually challenged

What is a challenge?  I don’t consider challenges to be the same stuff that you have already done time and time again.  I think challenges are new challenges, seeing things and doing things you haven’t done before.  Those are the challenges that are fun.

  • Your focus is forward

When you are thinking forward in “How can we”, “In what way can we”, “If we do this”, “We do this, we can expect this”, all of these statements require us to think and “DO” things with a forward thinking mentality.

  • The atmosphere is affirming

When the atmosphere is affirming, it means that it is stated and recognized as being an environment where growth and development is encouraged publicly.

  • You’re often out of your comfort zone.

A growth environment must have you out of your comfort zone a lot.  Not out of your strength zone, but out of your comfort zone.  Doing things that you have done, but doing them differently than you have ever done them before.

  • You wake up excited

A growth environment makes you get up early and stay late, because you want to.

  • Failure is not your enemy

You are encouraged to fail, a lot.  If you are failing a lot, it means you are trying lots of different things.  In a growth environment failure is not a bad thing, it is a good thing and it is celebrated.

  • Others are growing

When the people around you are growing and everyone is thinking about growth and development of the business in every way, then you are in a growth environment.

  • People desire change

Change is hard, but for things to change you must change.  If you want success and you are not having success, then something must change for that success to happen. For this to occur, change must be actively pursued and implemented.  The key is implementation of the changes to be made.  No lip service or one of these days we will.  If it is good enough to talk about, it is good enough to implement now.

  • Growth is modeled and expected

If you are the only one growing that means you are the model, and if you go back to the first bullet point above then it would be very clear that you are at the head of the class.  So there must be models of growth around you.  The expectation of personal growth, which in turn will lead to business growth must be modeled, expected, and sought out.

The question John doesn’t answer is this.  Can you have some of the elements above and not all of them.  As I look at the list, my answer is no.  A growth environment must include all of the elements for it to truly be a growth environment. What kind of environment are you in?  Are you growing, or are things about the same they have always been?  Do people really desire change?

Brian Willett


Why do we struggle to think differently

Thinking differently for people is such a struggle.  I am not sure why!  Is it that we don’t know how?  We can’t stop thinking about what we already know.  Are we so tied emotionally to what we already know.  Do we allow our own insecurities and biases that we might lose our power if something changes.  Steve Jobs has said on many occasions that his hallucinations on some of the drugs he did, allowed him to think differently.  I don’t want to go down that road.

Yesterday, I was in an all day meeting with some very smart people.  Most of them have earned their masters degrees (not that it alone makes them smarter, but it doesn’t hurt).  Also, many of them have years of experiences around the business that they are in.

My goal for our meeting was really a few things:  A) To listen well.  Facilitate a conversation on what they (the people doing the work every day) can tell me about our business. B) See what they think about our current processes. C) Ask them for input on any way we can tweak what we are doing to make it better. D) Lastly, I wanted introduce thought-provoking ideas that challenge them to think differently than what they already know.  I feel like we accomplished A-C well, but I failed miserably on D.  So as I reflect on it this morning I said since I failed (in my opinion), I must figure out a way to do this better next time and luckily I have this opportunity tomorrow.

My thinking habits, patterns, and style was greatly altered three years ago when I started reading more, thats what the books are for.  They get you thinking differently. So in my preparation for tomorrows meeting, that has the same objectives as outlined above.  I said I will not fail on objective D.  I pulled out a few of the books that I have read over the last few years to see if I can draw on that wisdom and see if I can accomplish what I would like to accomplish.

A classic book on man and his/her thoughts is the famed “As A Man Thinketh”, author James Allen.  This is more of theory book, not really a process book on “How To” think differently.  So in the last year I read a book titled “How Successful People Think.”  It was written by one of may favorite authors/mentors of mine John Maxwell.  And I read “Thinking for A Change” by John Maxwell.

In his book “How Successful people think” he hits on six key ideas:  1) finding good input to start thinking process, 2) spending time with good thinkers, 3) thinking good thoughts, 4) acting on good thoughts, 5) allowing emotions to create another good thought, and 6) repeating the process.

In his book “Thinking for a Change” he really puts together a solid format on how to think differently.  Below are the titles of his 11 Chapters.

  • #1: Acquire the Wisdom of Big-Picture Thinking
  • #2: Unleash the Potential of Focused Thinking
  • #3: Discover the Joy of Creative Thinking
  • #4: Recognize the Importance of Realistic Thinking
  • #5: Realize the Power of Strategic Thinking
  • #6: Feel the Energy of Possibility Thinking
  • #7: Embrace the Lessons of Reflective Thinking
  • #8: Question the Acceptance of Popular Thinking
  • #9: Encourage the Participation of Shared Thinking
  • #10: Experience the Satisfaction of Unselfish thinking
  • #11: Enjoy the Return of Bottom-Line Thinking


Thinking for a Change.Maxwell.EBS

As I read back on some of the above chapters and read through the book, I plan on drawing on some of Maxwell’s ideas and see if I can get objective D accomplished the way I had hoped to.

I have found that I have two passions.  I like to get people thinking differently. Typically I can do that in a one on one meeting with a smaller subject such as goals, career progression, time management, money.  Secondly, I like discussing ideas.  I get to do both of these on a daily basis, now I just have to think differently and figure out how to monetize it all.

Brian Willett