All of my blogs reference, discuss or dig into growth and development. There are specific conditions that are necessary for growth and development to happen. To cultivate growth and development, we need both sufficient challenge and support.

Sufficient challenge

We first must define our goal to understand if we have a sufficient challenge. What is your current growth edge? What behavioral shifts do you want to make? How do you want to feel different, or do you want your career, life, or leadership to be different? What impact do you want to make in 2023?

Review your goal, so you know what kind of support you need.

Is the challenge too hard? If it is, break it down into bite-size challenges. We can’t get from A to Z in one step. If the goal is too large, it can feel overwhelming and unattainable. This makes it more likely that you will quit during the development process.

Is there a sufficient challenge?

If the challenge is just a ‘check box’ that you can feel good about crossing off your list, review it again. Make the shift meaningful.

Without sufficient challenge, you will shift, but will it be in the direction of your purpose or your why? Is the slight shift just a landing spot so you can feel like you are making progress, but it’s just hiding a more meaningful and impactful change that you could implement?

Balance is the key here. We don’t want too much or too little of a good thing.

Sufficient Support

Who is supporting you in this process of growth and development? How have you set up your accountability measures if you work through the change alone? Who is looking out for you to make sure you can make this change in a balanced and self-compassionate way?

We can become our own worst enemies here. In growth and change, our vision may become myopic and only focused on the outcome.

Surrounding ourselves with individuals who can help hold a broader perspective, provide insights, hold us accountable, or help provide resources toward the goal are essential. This is what sufficient support looks like.

Growing as a leader

If your growth is in the leadership arena, remember leadership is not a solo sport. How have you brought people into your change process? Do they know how you are shifting, or are they creating stories to make sense of your new behavior? Who is providing you with honest feedback and ways you can continue your development?

To truly bring about this change, bring people into your development.

Is your organization supportive?

Also related to leadership, how supportive is your organization of the changes you want to make? For example, if we are making shifts to our leadership, those changes exist within the context of the organizational culture in which we work.

I work with leaders 1:1 who make tremendous changes in their leadership. When there is support within their Executive team or organization on these shifts, I can witness the positive impact of the work not only on the leader but on the entire organization.

However, when the organization’s structure, culture, and operating principles do not align with the leader’s growth and development, I can see a positive impact on the leader. Still, their impact on the organization is muted.

Can you grow and develop without sufficient challenge and support?

Of course!

But that growth and development impact for you, your team, and your organization are minimized. This is because cultivating growth and development requires more than your willingness to shift and drive to achieve a goal.

You will notice that many of your most significant personal and professional accomplishments likely came when you faced a sufficient challenge and had adequate support to achieve that goal.