It was the official rentrée, the first chaotic day of reality after a long summer break.
We were walking among perfectly-coiffed kids with their new backpacks and outfits on their way to school when I glanced over and saw my toddler hobbling along with his heels hovering in the air.
“Shit!” I said to my husband. “We forgot to get him new shoes.”
My son was so obsessed with his red suede Adidas we conveniently overlooked him busting out of them.
Next day at the shoe store, we embarrassing learned he had grown, not one, but two shoe sizes! Needless to say when he put his new sneakers (Adidas, again!) he was reborn.
Ripping his beloved pacifier out of his mouth big-boy style, he started running — down the ailes, down the street, to the park, around the park. Tirelessly, enthusiastically, like he had a new set of Duracell batteries on full blast.
It was a total and immediate energy upgrade.
As a kid, things like new shoes are empowering evidence of your growth. Your potential. Your energy. Your strength.
But what happens as an adult? When the changes in your body no longer signal empowering growth? What other signs define it?
Since la rentrée kicked off there’s been a common theme among the people I’ve met with.
Growth. And the desire for more of it day-to-day.
As a coach, when I hear someone talk about big concepts like "growth" my next move is to dig in and investigate just what it means:
How do you know when you’re growing?
What do you need to grow?
What does it look like?
What does it feel like?
What does it allow you to do?
To one woman I spoke with it means working transversally across different formats and departments and having the freedom to innovate and bring value in her own unique way.
To another it means transforming theoretical concepts into tangible actions and making a concrete impact in the word.
To another it means going super deep and developing her skills and proficiency in a specific field.
Here’s what’s important to remember about the growth groove: it’s not a one-size-fits all concept.
It means something different to us all.
But it is a mindset that needs nurturing if you want to feel alive.
Without growth, you wind up feeling dullness, stagnation, inaction, sluggishness.
The very feelings that make you want to curl up and call in sick for a few days, or even a few weeks.
In France insurance companies and the government are freaking the hell out. Since the beginning of 2018 there’s been a 6% increase in medical leave payments.
The cause? No one can say for sure, but the government thinks employees are feeling more and more stressed out and crappy at work and they want companies to do something to fix that (or start paying the bills).
Growth isn’t a blanket panacea. I'm not suggesting that it's the end-all solution to a suffering system.
But I do believe that companies should spend more time observing and asking questions about the type of growth that each employee craves.
It’s likely not what they think it means to their employees (moving up the ladder, getting more vacation time, or a bigger salary). It could be a lot simpler than that.
If you’re a manager and are struggling with team burn-out:
Get to know the growth needs of each person on your team. Spend quality time on this. Look for concrete examples. Observe trends. In what context does your employee thrive? When do they limp around like a toddler in tight shoes?
If you are thinking about making a professional change because you’re not growing:
Get crystal clear on what growth means, looks and feels like to you in your quest for self-realization.
So tell me dear reader, what’s your new pair of Adidas like? How do they look? What do they feel like? And what do they allow you to do? Leave a comment below or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org