A few of you requested that I speak more about self-care. While thinking about what to share, I reflected on the different parts of my life that fill me up in different ways.

I have:

  • A great career which brings endless pleasure;
  • Beautiful relationships with people I care about; and
  • Time to myself.

Unable to share my career or closest friendships with you, I decided to look more at the way in which I spend my me-time.

Me-time has and always will be the number one way I recharge my batteries.

That’s why today, I’m going to share one way I like to spend my downtime…

Developing a growth strategy

According to a 2008 study, women are more predisposed to being neurotic. I have to agree with that sentiment based on what I said above.

I spend quite a lot of time thinking about the future and structuring the way I spend my time. This keeps me grounded in my vision and hyper-focused on the direction I’d like to take and the projects I’d like to work on.

If you’re not in business or marketing, you might be wondering “what is a growth strategy?”

A growth strategy is a detailed plan designed to increase a certain metric (let’s say revenue or total dollars earned) with actionable steps and timelines included in the plan.

In short, it’s the only real way to achieve anything, whether personally or in business. Regardless of whether you’d like to lose weight, grow a business, change careers or buy a home, you need:

  1. A plan or strategy;
  2. A system that gives you incentives to persist and push to achieve your goal.

This is what I hope this post will help you do.

How to develop a growth strategy

Now that I’ve convinced you on the benefits of this in your life, how should you approach creating a growth strategy for yourself?

The first step is more fun than you think.

Write a huge list of everything you might like to do in your life

I have a huge list in my phone notes of all the crazy dreams and ideas I have about life. In that list, you’ll find everything from sky-diving to travelling to India to starting a not-for-profit. These are the ideas I haven’t vetted yet – they pop into my head and I put them in here to review for later.

 

My crazy ideas list is my source of inspiration for my growth strategy.
I’ve built this list up over the last 10 years to the point where I’ll probably never be able to do everything on it. But it’s fun to dream.

 

Here’s how I approach creating this list for the first time:

  1. When you sit down to write this list, don’t restrict yourself to what is and isn’t realistic.
  2. Put down everything you could do in your life if you were the bravest, richest person in the world.
  3. Cover as many categories as you can – travel, lifestyle, health, fitness, clothing, possessions, business, relationships.
  4. Put ideas in your list instead of scrolling on Instagram, it’s a much better investment of your time

If you don’t have a lot of ideas of what you’d like to do, don’t worry.

When you’ve spent a whole life telling yourself you can’t do what you want to do, it can be hard to come up with ideas about what you might like to do.

I want you to approach this list as an ongoing project that you can drop ideas into when they come to you. Put a few in today, then come back tomorrow.

Create a category for the items

The next step I take is creating categories for each of the items. I usually break them up into:

  • Bucket list (crazy ideas or activities that you do once in a lifetime)
  • Travel
  • Processes (these are more business related, but you can transfer them to how you handle difficult situations or habits in your life as well)
  • Business/Career (depending on your personal situation)
  • Personal Development
  • Relationships
  • Habits

Feel free to tweak this list based on what your big goals list looks like.

Choose x amount of items per category to do in a 6-12 month period

Now is where you start to become realistic about your goals.

If your goal is to build a business, it’s going to be difficult to fit another big goal in.

I left the number of items as the variable x because the number of items you can achieve in a period is dependant on what type of person you are.

If you love having downtime to relax, you’re going to hate having to go from project to project without any respite.

For someone like me, who has been juggling projects for many years, I find my work both relaxing and therapeutic. That’s why I take on a significant number of goals per month and per year. I enjoy changing between each of them and managing them at the same time.

Do what’s right for you and what you’re capable of.

Don’t over-burden yourself.

You want to make this process as easy and as fun as possible for yourself.

If you’re still struggling to choose how many goals, I usually recommend starting with 1 for each category. Then, break them down into small projects or habits to introduce into your life so you can manage them all.

Choose a word or phrase to summarise the year

This is a new concept I’ve introduced into my life thanks to my Aunty Debbie, who was recently on my podcast.

She mentioned that she’d chosen a word for her entire year, which summed up her goals for the year. I liked the concept so much I decided to borrow it for myself and have loved what it’s done to simplify everything I do.

So, this is now the last step I take when creating my growth strategy is finding themes in the goals I’ve set.
Having one word to summarise your entire growth strategy can make it easier to achieve what you want to achieve.

As you go about your day, you can refer to this word when faced with obstacles that challenge your new goal. I find this a nice way to stay focused without having to read my goals list hourly.

For the record, I still find it difficult to say no to chocolate cake, no matter how often I practice.

How to achieve a growth strategy

We’ve all set new years resolutions and goals that we’ve never followed through on. We’ve all felt guilty and beat ourselves up over it.

Someone who shows up every day to work on that goal will achieve it. Someone who doesn’t, won’t.

This is harder than it sounds.

My approach to doing whatever it is I want to do comes down to a daily practice of reviewing my life and staying focused.

  • I read my goals every single day.
  • I track all the habits I want to keep or create as well as the habits I want to remove.
  • I review how I spend my time to ensure that what I do each day aligns with what I want to do in my entire life.

Where most people go wrong is they try to do these, all at once after never having done anything like this before.

When you try to do that, it feels like you’re your own tyrant. It becomes easier to fall off the wagon than it is to keep cracking the whip over your own shoulder.

I’ve years developing these traits. I started when I was fifteen with a small slip of paper that said: “Do it now”.

I’m 26 in 2018, so I’ve had a lot of time to practice this one habit, let alone the rest that I have gained in sequential years.

If you want to build good habits or you’d like to change your life for the better, start small. Focus on one habit or routine at a time.

That’s >reallyit.

But what does this have to do with developing a growth strategy?

Everything

A growth strategy refers to creating a plan for growth that maps the quickest, most efficient path to success or completion of the goal.

How many times have you sat down to set goals? I can’t count the number of times I’ve done it.

The difficult part is making that same growth strategy happen. It takes a lot of work, consistency and dedication to do this. I’m not perfect, but I’m pretty damn good at it if I do say so myself.

What I’ve learnt over the last eight years can be distilled down to 3 core habits.

These habits have changed my life and I know they’ll change yours too.

Create a monthly appointment with yourself

At the end of each month, I sit down and review two parts of my life –

  1. The month that passed
  2. The month that is coming

In the review of my last month, I identify areas where I’m falling behind and celebrate consistent areas. With the areas that have fallen behind, I try to understand why I fell behind. If I can understand why it happened, I can hope to improve in the coming month.

I don’t give up on a habit because I had a bad month.

If one of my goals is to floss my teeth every day and I only did it 3 times in the entire month, I don’t give up because I failed.

Just because a habit wasn't easy, doesn't mean it shouldn't be on your growth strategy.
Here’s one of the habits which I tried implementing in my life. This whole line should be filled with dots, but it isn’t.

 

I look at why it’s not happening and adjust my daily routine to compensate.

 

What happens when you adjust your routine to accommodate a habit. Goal (and growth strategy) achieved!
Here’s the same habit after making adjustments to when I tried to complete it.

 

Rig the goal game for success

Easy and fun to do is my whole principle of achieving goals.

Pursuing and achieving goals is a hard game and no one can do it without incentives. I do this by:

  1. Breaking goals into bite-sized pieces
  2. Creating a wager for accountability

A good friend and I started sending each other our monthly goals and setting a ridiculous wager to ensure that we completed it.

There was no way in hell that I am going to send her $2000, so I always make sure I do what I want to do.

The trick is to make the goals easy to achieve. You want to cruise through the month, have time for downtime and also tell your friend she can’t have your money.

That’s how I approach goal setting and achieving

I know that trying to do whatever you want to do is a mammoth task, whether you’re trying to achieve one goal or 50. That’s why once a month, I do lives on my Instagram to share the sometimes lonely journey of going after what you want.

If you’d like to join me and a community of people who are working every month to grow themselves beyond what they currently are, follow me on Instagram.

See you on the next live!