What Kind of Growth Environment Are You In?

When I coach people, I ask what surrounds them day in and day out. The people, activities, books, sounds… all these things influence us one way or another, for better or worse.

Can you think of a movie you used to watch (or still do) that got you really pumped up? For me, it was the iconic Rocky movies. I remember as a kid getting so excited watching those movies that I would  be jumping up and down in front of the TV screen, doing push-ups, instigating some good-old brotherly boxing fights…. I’d even create new workout regimens in my basement so I could be as buff as Rocky.

Yeah, I was that kind of kid. Energetic to the core! Good times.

What was happening here? Inspiration, you might call it. I was surrounding myself with a certain mindset, a certain environment and I was influenced by it.

In today’s adult world, personal growth is no different. The secret is what I stumbled upon as a kid with Rocky: to surround yourself with the right mix of positive influences that will help you gain positive momentum and action.

Being surrounded by a good growth environment that inspires positive change isn’t enough: to change still demands choice and discipline. Discipline is what gets you to engage the positivity in your own life. The Rocky movies sit on a shelf or in the cloud unless I choose to put it on my screen. I can get pumped up and inspired, but I need to carry that on to the next day, and the next, and the next….

To get moving, to get on the right path to positive growth, create a consistent growth environment for yourself (your daily dose of Rocky!) – It just makes sense.

What do these environments looks like? Here are a few examples:

  • A positive faith community that gives you relationships and tools for growth
  • A positive work environment
  • A personal growth plan you read and engage in daily

So, what happens when you don’t immerse yourself in growth environments?

Uncertain forces tend to creep in and begin to take control of your thinking and your life, probably without you even noticing, just as weeds and thistles consume a rose garden if left untended.

Why does this happen? Because, friend, in this case, life plays you instead of you playing life. Ugh. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

life plays you

So, if this is the hole you are in, climb out now! Don’t let random and negative circumstances be the ones that determine your attitude and your future. That is a scary and unsettling concept.

We’ve all had those moments in life when we think to ourselves:

  • “It was not always this way…”
  • “How did it get this way?…”
  • “Everyone used to be so nice…”
  • “We used to do that – and it sure was great when we did…”
  • “When he is not around things are so much better…”
  • “Why does it always turn out this way?…”
  • “If we could only do it that way…”

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

Personally, I’ve said them all one time or another. Then, the tendency is to blame those uncertain and random circumstances or others for our misfortunes or lack of focus. Classic! The truth is, a positive growth environment that feeds your momentum will be the driving force to success and will derail the negative influences creeping around.  A positive growth environment will naturally lead to positive growth and action.

When people or organizations lack a strong growth environment and personal development plan, they are left susceptible to what I’ve been referring to as ‘uncertain forces’ that control their life.

Uncertain forces are unfocused beliefs that affect people or organizations. These forces can be in the forms of bad attitudes or a negative value system and can be as cunning as over-compliance.

So, how do you eliminate all these uncertain forces? Truth? You can’t, not in their entirety.  You CAN limit the negative and create the positive by creating an environment of value, vision and development that surrounds you or your team and that feeds you goodness, positivity and energetic momentum.

Here is what happens when you don’t live firmly to a growth environment and you let the uncertain forces lead you:

Left unattended or without proper strategy, these uncertain forces will begin to affect your organizations effectiveness, mission and vision.

Left undetected these uncertain forces within the organization may lead your team members to have negative effects personally: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially.

Left untreated these uncertain forces will leave you and your team feeling restless and your organization in turmoil. You will have to put out more fires than you ever want.

Then, what? These uncertain forces will become your environment and they will shape you and begin to define you.

Don’t let this happen!

So, let’s make a decision to get a grip of what is gripping you! Weed out as much negative as you can so that the positive can take root and grow! We all love roses, we all curse those weeds!

For some solid examples:

As a parent, too much TV in the home can lead to particular behaviors and beliefs in your children that you do not value.

As a department head, not navigating your department with a clear direction can lead to splintered vision, everyone wanting different results with no one can agreeing on anything.

As a friend, turning every time you get together into a misery-laden conversation of gossip, coveted wants and voiced jealousies can lead to feeling unfulfilled and angry.

For anyone in any mode of life, not having a positive morning routine can lead you into the day restless and unmotivated.

[clickToTweet  tweet=”Remember, if you don’t mold your development someone or something else will….personal growth is intentional!” quote=”Remember, if you don’t mold your development someone or something else will…personal growth is intentional!”]

Here are 4 tips to help you begin to form a growth environment and keep those uncertain forces at bay:

1. Get help. There is a ton of material out there from leadership companies that specializes in creating and sustaining growth. A book or a physical mentor: look for that positive mentorship. As leaders, it is your job to protect and nurture an environment of growth personally and for your team.

2. Don’t be a pushover. As a leader you must prune from your life and your organization the negativity, the bad spending, the slander, the mindless material, the hopelessness, the indecision,  and so on. People are counting on you to do your part.

3. Keep a close watch. Like gardeners, leaders must daily keep watch over themselves and their team to stay clear of any uncertain forces that want to creep in. This can be as simple as 5 minutes dedicated to thinking about your day, your direction, and what you need to accomplish to make the day a success.

4. Set your values. Know your standards and set the environment you want. Being clear on what you want for yourself and your organization will help orient the environment towards positivity and growth. When creating your growth environment, have in mind the values you want to uphold and fuel. For example, in my family, with five kids, my wife and I value efficiency. That efficiency leads to more time enjoying each other and less time cleaning up after each other! We surround ourselves with things that help promote this value, such as great organizational apps, weekly calendar meetings and clear expectations for our kids. This establishes a growth environment that works to promote the life we want for our family!



Chances are you have many quality pieces of a positive growth environment in place already. Make yourself aware of these pieces to your puzzle. Define them, be more intentional to act within them and begin avoiding the uncertain forces that are out there trying to pull you into mediocrity.

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