#27 IF I (BLANK) I Will Grow: Stuff I Believe

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A while back we talked about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and man’s quest for self-actualization. A desire to be all that we can be. A preference for perpetual growth. Hopefully you remember the phrase HELP GROWTH HAPPEN.

That’s good stuff, but it’s too generic. I could choose to grow in a million different directions.

So I narrowed the field a bit by finding my WHY - To Learn and Share. That’s helpful, but still way too wide.

I’m now at the point in this map building exercise where I need specifics. I need a personal growth strategy

Or maybe not. I hate, hate, hate the idea of including strategy on my SELF map. It sounds right, but to me strategy equals business. Hard core planning and maneuvering. A game that you win or lose. I’m guessing the reigning strategy guru, Michael Porter, would advise me to focus on my “unique value proposition” in order to outdo my competition. That’s all well and good when I get to my WORK map, but right now I’m focused on SELF. And I pretty much just want to be myself and GROW. I’m not trying to be unique or to outdo anyone.

So I refuse to put the word strategy on my SELF map. Instead I’m going to use the word IF. You can think of these IF’s as theories or ideas that I’m going to follow in search of growth. They’re conscious choices that I think will best leverage my WHY/ME combination. 

And, even though I’m calling these IF’s and not strategy, I am going to follow a piece of Porter’s strategy advice…

“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do."

Point being - focus, focus, focus. Accordingly, I’ve decided to limit myself to just 3 IF’s. And, if you’re playing along at home and drawing your own map, I’ll pass along one other piece of info. Just as a great strategy should last for many years, so should great IF’s. They aren’t as permanent as my WHY/ME, but I would consider them semi-permanent. 

So without further delay, here are my 3 IF’s. The three areas I’ve chosen to pursue in order to maximize my growth.

IF I practice more GRATITUDE I will grow.

IF I ALIGN my thoughts, words, and actions with my map I will grow.

IF I PURGE “Wrong Stories” I will grow.

Let's take a deeper look at my first IF...

IF I practice more GRATITUDE I will grow. 

I’ve historically been a master of taking people and stuff for granted. But I’ve always wanted to do better. I even tried keeping a gratitude journal. Once. For about ten minutes. Until I lost it. 

Add it to my guilt list. All the things I know I should do, but don’t. Meditate, eat better, move more, blah, blah, blah…

 So gratitude and I haven’t been on speaking terms - until just a few months ago. 

That’s when, out of the blue, Joyce and I started sharing one or two things we were grateful for each day. We did it at night after the lights were out. No pencils and paper. No rules. No nothing. And here’s what happened…

Stage 1 - 30 seconds of sharing before we fell asleep. Trivial, repetitive, felt forced and kind of stupid.

Stage 2 - Tiny little recorder in my head starts watching for gratitude stuff during the day. I need something in memory for that stupid nighttime gratitude thing we’re doing.

Stage 3 - During the day I add something to my mental  gratitude list for use that evening. Out of nowhere another thought strikes. "Wait a second, I’m actually feeling grateful for this in real time”. 

Stage 4 - I express my gratefulness as the event is happening. Real time. Lights on. Face to face. “Joyce, I’m grateful you took the kids to the dentist today so I could get the grass mowed before it rained”.


Now, don’t get me wrong, I still suck at gratitude. I still take 99.99% of stuff for granted, but this is a potential freaking gold mine. When I do make the effort, Joyce gives me major brownie points. 

Not only that, getting in the gratitude habit has made me more aware of just how much I have to be grateful for. And, as a double super bonus, Joyce has turned the tables on me. She’s been expressing more gratitude toward me, and I love it. “Keith, thanks for knocking out this rent”. (DO NOT click on that link if you can’t handle F-Bombs! The gratitude part starts at the 1:31 mark.)

This is tiny everyday stuff that I ignored at home and at work for decades. And that was a mistake. I was wrong. It’s easy and it works like magic - for me and for everyone I touch.

And I wish I could tell you how to start your own gratitude habit that would stick, but I can’t. Neither Joyce nor I can remember why we started doing it. And we have no idea why it took hold when it did. All I can tell you is that it’s worth a try.

If you want to read more on the topic, here’s a decent summary to get you started.

Now on to my next IF...

IF I better ALIGN my thoughts, words, and actions with my map I will grow.

This IF is obviously the driver behind mapfome.com. Before creating this site I'd massaged this material for decade(s) with little progress. But forcing myself to vet my thoughts in public on a weekly basis has made all the difference. It's gotten me unstuck - forced me to stop over-DISTILLing. Allowed me to finally outline a rough map that I can ALIGN with.


So no need to beat this horse to death. Just stay tuned as I keep developing the map and trying to keep myself ALIGNed with it.

Now on to my final IF...

IF I PURGE myself of "Wrong Stories" I will grow.

So what do I mean by "Wrong Stories"? I mean stuff like this…

We are horrible judges of other peoples motivations and intentions.

We tend to attribute others behaviors to their character rather than to the situation - while attributing our own behaviors to the situation rather than our character.

We overestimate our ability to judge what is good versus bad for us in the long term.

I must PURGE these “Wrong Stories” to make room for growth. To clear the crap out of my head so I can spend my time moving forward. And I think this point is so under-discussed and under-appreciated that I’ve decided to spend the entire next post diving into it.

So I’ll leave you today with a reminder of my 3 IF’s,

IF I practice more GRATITUDE I will grow.

IF I ALIGN my thoughts, words, and actions with my map I will grow.

IF I PURGE “Wrong Stories” I will grow.

And a promise that we’ll dive deep into PURGE “Wrong Stories” next time.

***Note: This site works best when you read the posts in order. So please head to the ARCHIVE to get started.