The Exhilaration of Growth

What I love the most about growth is the exhilaration and aliveness that it brings. Oftentimes, it is a loop: the more growth we achieve, the more exhilarated we feel.

What growth is or isn’t?

Growth is not about accumulating material gains. While being realistic and pragmatic that paying bills is not optional, growth encompasses all aspects of living with our different roles as a spouse, parent, child, friend, professional…

Growth (and same applies for happiness) is not the absence of negative emotions, bad days, or ups and downs in our relationships…

Growth is about embracing all that life has to offer or is throwing at us, and becoming a better version of ourselves as result of it.

Embracing growth as a value in life has therefore two components:

– First, it is about being honest with oneself, and developing a self awareness that recognizes both the good and the bad, the negative and the positive in ourselves and our lives.

Second, it is about overcoming, when hardship comes.

In other words, we are all work in progress but when growth is a value, we intentionally do more work and strive in the process of becoming and growing.

A few of my lessons learned in this area that I wish the younger version of myself would have acknowledged earlier:

  • Surround yourself with good people, those who encourage you and cheer you on your journey. I am grateful to have had mentors at work, and I am grateful to find a source of inspiration and strength in many of my family members and friends.
  • Don’t be afraid of competition. Someone else’s success doesn’t reduce your own ability to succeed. I recall my early days of being an analyst when I received the news of someone else joining the team. The resume of that person was outstanding. I remember telling myself that this is an opportunity to up my game and learn more along side someone as capable and smart as my new coworker.
  • Don’t waste time gossiping or complaining. If you are frustrated about someone or something, the most productive course of action is to discuss and address what bothers you. Complaining or gossiping for the sake of doing it or about something that cannot be changed, is draining and ultimately a disservice to yourself. There is a fine balance in this area to achieve as well, not having a critic spirit could get you in a bad spot of being taken advantage of, or not being effective.
  • Turn from feeling a failure into feeling like a rockstar. It is easy to feel down when we fail. But failure is a failure if you see it as a static outcome. If you analyze and dissect the why and what of what you initially qualify as a failure, then adapt and adopt from the experience, guess what? You are one step closer to meeting your dreams and goals. Give yourself slack but value the autopsy.
  • Discipline and commitment. There is a time for everything (e.g. to play, rest, dream) but if discipline and hard work don’t fit into your schedule and values, it’s like playing the lottery. There is a chance you may win. But that’s all it is.
  • Do what seems scary or out of your comfort zone. One of the best pieces of advice I received when starting a new role, was to push myself to do things that seem out of my comfort zone but more aligned with my expanded responsibilities. The more you trick your brain into pushing your boundaries, the faster it will become your second nature.
  • Don’t be afraid to try or make an ask. Interview for that promotion, ask for a raise…You never know what the answer or outcome will be until you have tried. Some of my biggest professional and personal achievements originated from deciding to give it a try, show up or get in the race.
  • Be mindful about the power of words. This is a multi-faceted concept. It is as much about being mindful about what we say to ourselves, as it is about being intentional about what and how we communicate with others. What you say and how you say it could get teams to follow you and implement a strategy, or could enstrange them. Your words have power. Use them wisely and intentionally.
  • Ask for help. As a working mom, I have come to terms that I need a support system to “do it all”. Whatever your situation is, if a gap exists between what you aspire to do and what you are doing, that’s a gap that someone else may be able to fill in, with their time, resources or ideas.

Growing is a declaration of life and acceptance: I am alive and a work in progress but I am going to be intentional and commit to becoming the best version of myself one day, one experience and one dream at a time.

Happy journey of growth!

Published by Helene R. Johnson

Helene R. Johnson is a pseudonym. Living life as a mom and manager. Articles are also published on, a site dedicated to human resources with a focus on transformational change and development.

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