Here is a cohesive and comprehensive program to accelerate personal growth and professional development
As I began to read this book, I was reminded of the question to which Caroline Arnold responds in Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently: “Why is it so difficult to keep commitments, to follow through on resolutions, to make the changes that we know will achieve our personal growth and professional development?” I am among those who have helped to pave a few miles of the road to hell so I was especially interested in what she has to say. Years ago, after numerous struggles and frustrations, Arnold tried something different: “I assigned myself a small but meaningful behavioral change — a microresolution — and I succeeded in changing myself immediately. Yet it was only after succeeding at several microresolutions modeled on the first that I realized I had stumbled onto a method for making targeted mini-commitments that succeeded virtually every time.” She had established a new pattern of behavior, a habit. This is precisely what Aristotle has in mind when observing, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Jenny Evans recommends a similar approach to coping with stress: “60 seconds at a time.” I cannot recall a prior time when there was more — and more severe — stress than there is today in all areas of our lives. What to do? Ac cording to Evans, “If the stress in your life will continue to in crease [and it probably will], your only option is to train to recover from it more quickly and efficiently and to raise your threshold for it. You’ve got to build your resiliency. In order to be the leader you want to be, the significant other you want to be, the parent you want to be, and the best version of yourself — in the face of your mounting stress — you’ve got to be diligent about how your habits and routines affect your performance.” To repeat Aristotle’s observation, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Evans has written this book to explain how to replace bad habits that are self-defeating and counterproductive with good habits with good habits that can help to accelerate personal growth and professional development. Moreover, much (if not most) of the information, insights, and counsel she provides can help supervisors to assist with the personal growth and professional development of those for whom they are directly responsible.
When concluding her book, Jenny Evans reiterates the importance of resiliency training (see Pages 70-76 and 309-310) because “it is something you do for the rest of your life, and I mean this in two ways: It’s something you do on a regular basis, and it’s for the benefit of the rest of your days.”
I presume to add a few brief thoughts of my own. First, stress has dozens of sources and its impact can be either positive or negative, depending on the given circumstances. For example, deadlines can create stress but sometimes they are necessary to ensure that work is completed in a timely manner. Also, it is important to differentiate what is important from what seems to be (but often isn’t) urgent. This is one of Stephen Covey’s most important points in his classic, The 7 Habits of Effective People. Finally, there are direct – and significant – correlations between and among physical, mental, and emotional health. All three require sufficient nourishment, including restoration of energy.