If we want to grow into a bigger future, we need to let go of what might have been useful in the past and embrace what we need for our future. There are three essential shifts we have to make.
1) Let Go: Past Thinking
“Growth is a result of bad habits dropped, wrong priorities changed and new ways of thinking embraced.” – John Maxwell
In the process of growing to your bigger future, one of the first realizations we have to make is that we need to let go of a lot of things.
Old mindsets and habits
For a future that is different from our present, we need to let go of old ways of thinking (mindsets) and acting (habits). If we are willing to leave behind what we have known to be right and practiced in the past, we can find what is useful for our next growth stage.
Past successes and failures
We like to define ourselves by our past accomplishments or failures, but we need to shrink their importance in order to grow bigger. Take the lessons, the learning and the wisdom and let the rest go.
Everything is raw material for our future
Letting go of these many things might be scary. But you do not really lose anything. Everything in your past and present is just raw material for your future. What is useful in some way can be repurposed to become even more useful. But let go of the excess baggage, you will be so much lighter without it.
What is permanent will shine through
In that process of letting go, you will gain much more clarity about what is permanent about you. This is what will stay, after you let go of all of the rest. And it will become so much more powerful. Because it is not blocked by useless things, but instead surrounded by more and more useful things with which it will integrate.
1) Embrace: Bigger Future.
The mind is an incredibly useful tool for imagination. It can think of pretty much anything you want it to. Growing into a much bigger future also starts in our minds.
Imagine 10x Growth
Here is an amazing experiment I have found in Dan Sullivan’s book “The 10x Mind Expander”. He suggests not to think about growing twice as big, because our mind will just tell us to work twice as much, which is definitely not the recipe for big growth.
Instead think about a future 10x your present. Nobody can work 10x as much, so your mind immediately starts looking for different opportunities, processes, systems and ways to cooperate more efficiently. This is what we are looking for.
We choose 10x and not 100x or 1000x, because 10x growth is still relatable to our past experience, which is important for our mind to believe in the experiment. There has been a time where everyone of us has had one tenth of the current income, or one tenth of the current relationships, or one tenth of the current knowledge. Think back and see how much you have grown.
When did you already grow 10x? You just have to do again, what you have already done in the past. Realizing this fact allows our brain to relax and go into the experiment.
The Mind Expander Experiment
This is how the experiment works:
- Choose one area of your life, where you want to have 10x. For example 10x your income.
- Choose a date, when you will have achieved that 10x growth. Give yourself enough time. Why not choose up to 25 years? There are no unreasonable goals, only unreasonable deadlines.
- Imagine your future as if you are already there. Imagine you have achieved your 10x and enjoy the results. Go deeper. Really see it. Really feel it.
- Now go back to your current situation as your past.
- What did you do to get to this 10x present?
Remember, it is important that this imagination exercise is relatable to your brain. So remind yourself of times where you have already experienced positive change in your life.
Make 10x imagination a thinking habit
The first time you do the 10x exercise it is amazing to feel this expanded sense of possibility. It gets really interesting after you train your brain to think this way habitually. Do this exercise everyday and it will become normal to your brain. Then your brain will start to look for 10x growth opportunities everywhere. And you will start seeing them. Then you will start to seize them. This is how you realize 10x growth.
“Your eyes only see and your ears only hear what your brain is looking for.”- Dan Sullivan
2) Let Go: Controlling the Outcome
So you started imagining a 10x future. Here is one important caveat. You are entering new terrain and you cannot control the results of your exponential growth. In the process you will encounter many new people, opportunities and challenges. It is impossible to know how it will play out. It will be very different from what you imagined. You need to let go of the desire to control the outcome. Uncertainty is part of the exploration. Once you release that tight grip, you will try more, explore more and grow more
2) Embrace: Courage & Learning
A lot of things will change for you in the process. A lot of scary things will become normal to you over time. One thing will never change:
“Each stage of growth introduces a new level of fear, which can only be overcome with a higher level of courage.”
Experiencing fear and overcoming it with courage will always be required.
And so is learning. John Maxwell gives us a very useful process of learning, called the cycle of success:
- Test. How you see failure determines how you test. You will test more quickly and more boldly, if you accept that failure is a normal step of the process.
- Fail. Failure is actually the second step of the success cycle, not the end or antidote of it. If you fully own the failure, you will be able to proceed.
- Learn. Wisdom is the process of learning from what happened.
- Improve. OK, now you know what happened. But did you get better? This is essential. Do not re-enter without learning and improving. You will just repeat the same failure and stay dumb.
- Reenter. Thy cycle starts again.
3) Let Go: Controlling Other People’s Opinions
One of the most important things that we need to let go of is this question: “What will people think of me?” We need to let go of the desire to control other people’s opinion of us. And also let go of the desire for approval and permission.
Recently, I stumbled upon a very interested concept called goal shame. It really resonated with me. When you set big goals for yourself, you will inevitably enter the terrain of goal shame: “Who do you think you are?”
You either remind yourself, or others remind you, that you don’t have yet, what you need to accomplish your goal. That is totally normal, because competence and confidence grows by doing things that are bigger than your current capabilities.
There are four signals for goal shame:
- you apologize for your goal
- you justify your goal
- you diminish your goal
- you do not share your goal.
Here are three traps, we often walk into as we enter the terrain of goal shame:
- Trap 1: Shrinking the goal so that you don’t feel any shame. The price you pay for this is that you limit your future to your present. You exclude exponential growth and real change.
- Trap 2: Not thinking and talking about the goal. Keeping it to ourselves in fear that others might question it. This way you block yourself from finding people who really resonate with your idea and will support you.
- Trap 3: You adjust your goal so that it looks acceptable to others, instead of fully owning your own dream. As John Maxwell says, “if you don’t own your dream, you will give up pretty quickly.” Let go of approval. Neither permission nor approval from other people is necessary for any of your ambitions.
Any time we set big goals, goal shame will happen at some point. The solution is to be willing to experience goal shame and deal with it. As you go through that valley where you and other people question your ability to pull it off, you will grow into really owning your dream.
3) Embrace: True Self & Teamwork
It is one of your most important jobs to articulate clearly who you are and what your dream is. As you share your dream clearly, you will find other people who resonate with it. You might be surprised when you will find support from places that you did not expect. As you share your vision with clarity, people will by themselves select in or select out of your vision. In that process you will also lose some relationships, which are not good for you and don’t fit with the vision. You will gain a lot of new relationships with people who are inspired by your vision and will inspire you.
Us being clear and honest about ourselves and our vision is the starting point of great teamwork. Great teamwork is required for 10x growth. It is not possible to achieve big growth, if we are isolated. You will need others to multiply it. All great things in the world have been a cooperation of multiple people. Also use the technology that fits your vision, technology is like automated teamwork.
What is the one thing you took away from this article that you will implement today? Let me know in the comments below.