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Jump Start Growth

Posted by on in Professional Development
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Recently, a mentor I respect greatly said something that deeply resonated with me. It was as if he said it just for me and me alone. He put words to something I often feel, but shrink away from admitting out loud. He declared, “I often feel weighed down by my own disappointment over my past failures to grow.” I thought to myself, “Yes… me too!” So often, I have such grand intentions about committing to growth in the form of stacks of enticing leadership books to read, professional journals to digest, podcasts to explore, and past professional learning experiences to revisit.

As I thought about my mentor's admission, I was reminded of this truth: Past disappointments don’t determine future outcomes. Anything is possible if I want to change! Andy Stanley wrote about truths associated with change in his book The Principle of the Path. Mr. Stanley explained, “To get from where we don’t want to be to where we do want to be requires two things: time and a change of direction.”  


As I continued to reflect on these ideas about change, I was inspired to brainstorm a plan to jump start my own growth and came up with the steps below. I hope these steps may help you on your own journey towards continual personal and professional growth!

Jump Start Growth

Set a goal with milestones - A good idea is just that, an idea, but a goal with tangible milestones is attainable.  When considering a growth goal, set out steps that lead to the goal. Those steps serve a guideposts to where you want to go.

Celebrate small wins - In her blog, Meg Selig explains that, “Charles Duhigg used the term “small wins” in his book The Power of Habit to refer to modest behavior changes that can set off a chain reaction of more and better changes.”  When you accomplish a small win along the way toward your goal, celebrate! Plan to treat yourself to a pedicure with a friend or a special meal out. Share accomplishments along the way and enjoy the satisfaction of small wins knowing that small wins add up to big wins in the long run!


Be Accountable - Reach out to a trusted individual and tell them about your goal for growth. Ask this person to help hold you accountable to your commitment and empower them to check in on you at scheduled, agreed upon times. Be sure to communicate what your milestones are along the way, what you hope to gain on your journey of growth, and invite them to celebrate your accomplishments with you be it the small wins or the big kahuna!

Share your learning and growth - What do you plan to do with the learning you acquire and the growth you experience while on your journey? Your growth will be so much richer if you will commit to sharing your learning with others! Do this by tweeting one thing a day related to your goal, blogging your experiences and sharing out your blog, or creating a face-to-face forum such as a small study group to reflect with as you grow.

Seek opportunities to apply new learning - Look for new and different venues where your learning may take you. Could your learning be leading you to meet new people, to try new things, or go to new places? Achieving your milestones along the way requires applying what you are learning to reach your goal for growth.

Invite others to join you on your journey - I have found that my most meaningful times of growth have happened when I do it on a shared journey rather than strictly on my own. When I decided to go back to school to get my masters in Educational Leadership, I knew I did not want to do it alone. I found a colleague who was ready to tackle grad school too and we dove in together. My learning was so rich and profoundly deep because I had a friend to reflect, debrief, work, and laugh with throughout our courses. Spur others to join you on your journey and enjoy the added bonus of learning and growing in community with others.


I have decided, I am not going to let my past disappointments stop me from pursuing future growth and accomplishments. I am recommitting to growth, one milestone at a time. My current goals include reading at least one book relating to professional growth each month and blogging at least once a month about my growth. I invite you to join me on my growth journey. 

What would you add to these ideas to Jump Start Growth? I am also curious, what are your growth goals in 2016? 


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My name is Heidi Veal and my goal as an educator is to compassionately serve students, families, and staff as an instructional and connected learner. I believe education is a calling and I am honored to fulfill my calling to make a difference in the lives of the school community I serve. This is my 15th year in education and during those years have taught multiple grades at the elementary level, served as a Response to Intervention Specialist, an Instructional Coach, and now an Assistant Principal at Lawson Early Childhood School. I am passionate about Leadership, Ed Tech, Instructional Coaching, Special Education, and all things Early Childhood! I am a co-founder and co-moderater of #ECEchat, a founding member of the #LeadUpChat PLN, and blog here on EdWords, LeadUpNow, Ready Rosie, and with my husband Jeff on jhveal.com

  • Guest
    Oskar Wednesday, 10 February 2016

    Thanks for writing this Heidi. Maybe it's all meant to be a part of our journey? It is just as important as the destination (the goal). Maybe we would not be able to learn as deeply if we did not experience periods of stagnation? Who knows? Often, I think, the space between the two periods is filled with reflection and that is what jump starts the growth. In any case, having goals is a wonderful way to give new meaning and purpose to our lives, so congratulations. And, having someone to share the journey with makes it that much sweeter :)

  • Heidi Veal @VealHeidi
    Heidi Veal @VealHeidi Monday, 15 February 2016

    Thanks for your comments Oskar. I agree, reflection is often a powerful fuel for growth!

  • Guest
    Abraham Alarcon Saturday, 27 February 2016

    Very helpful Heidi! Setting attainable goals is a must. I like how you recommended asking someone to hold one accountable. That is a new one for me. Theae are all great reminders! Muchas gracias!

  • Heidi Veal @VealHeidi
    Heidi Veal @VealHeidi Sunday, 28 February 2016

    Hi Abe, Thanks for your comment. Throughout the years, accountability has always been an important component to help me remain focused and committed to my goals. Best of luck as you pursue your goals.

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Guest Thursday, 20 October 2016