If You Want to Grow, Cultivate a Teachable Spirit

It’s June and we’re rapidly approaching the midway point of 2023.  Did you happen to make a New Year’s Resolution this year?  How’s that going?  Whoa, wait…don’t click away deflated just yet. You’re in good company.  For more people than not, resolutions or goals set at the beginning of the year are, by-and-large, at best, kind of a fuzzy memory at this point.  And yet, as many have learned, one of the greatest shifts we can make as human beings is in moving from goals to growth.  Gaining the ability to “fail forward” and assess what we’ve learned about ourselves and this life in the process.  It’s one of those “good things grow in good soil”- type realities.   In our most recent post, we revisited the idea of exercising your teachable spirit.  And as important as it is to exercise that spirit, in order to be able to do that, we also have to fuel and cultivate it.  “And just how does one do that,” you may ask.  Well, I’m so glad you asked.

One way, as most of us take a summer break from our weekly Life Group gatherings, is through the opportunities we’re being given to gain knowledge, wisdom, and experience with others in community through a wonderful mix of single to multi-session classes and events at North Coast.  But before embarking on that journey, may we prepare your heart and mind by sharing with you an article we found and are reposting below from American author, speaker and pastor John Maxwell, who’s made it his life’s mission to help grow and equip others to do remarkable things and lead significant and fulfilled lives.  If asked, he will tell you that he learned as a pastor of a small church in Ohio that leadership began with developing himself and connecting with others.  So, whether you’re interested in developing your leadership capabilities or simply learning to do remarkable things and lead a significant and fulfilled life, I encourage you to read into and apply the wisdom John shares in the words that follow on just how to cultivate a teachable spirit and experience the growth God has in store for you.

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It may sound hokey, but the truth is that growth is only possible when we are willing to adopt a teachable spirit. That means having a passion to learn, possessing an intention to learn daily, and reflecting on what we’re learning to know how to apply it.

Picture your personal growth as a garden—nothing that grows in a garden springs to life on its own. Gardens require planning, cultivation, and the right environment. As a gardener, you must be willing to prepare the soil, sow the seeds, water, feed, mulch and weed. It’s an intentional process—and it must happen every day.

So how can we cultivate a growth environment; our own development garden?

By adopting a teachable spirit. When we’re willing to seek out and learn lessons from others, from experience, and from reflection, then we’re able to increase our capacity for growth.

Here are five practices I’ve adopted to help me keep a teachable spirit:

  1. I Make Growth My Number One Priority

After forty years, I’ve come to understand that everything I do is predicated on my personal growth. Every opportunity I have is the result of my commitment to stretching and growing myself every day. A day without growth is not good for me or for the people I lead—so I put growth at the top of my priority list daily.

  1. I Look for Growth Possibilities in Every Situation

When you’re intentional about growth, you come to realize that you’re surrounded by growth opportunities every day. George Bernard Shaw said, “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” That’s so true—when you get intentional about growth, you discover that good or bad, up or down, there are opportunities for you to grow in every situation. The key is looking for them.

  1. I Ask Questions That Will Help Me Grow

Growth doesn’t come looking for you—you have to go and find it. That means being willing to step outside yourself by asking questions of the people and situations that surround you. The fastest way to find out what we don’t know is to ask questions. The best way to deepen our understanding is to ask questions. Questions are the keys that open hearts and minds—especially our own.

  1. I Keep Track of What I Have Learned

In my book, Leadershift, this actually says, “I file what I have learned”, but not everyone is a fan of filing the way I am. But whether you file, journal, or record memos, the point is the same: if you don’t create a system for capturing what you’re learning, you’ll lose it. My filing system allows me to access what I’ve learned repeatedly so I can layer my learning and expand my growth.

  1. I Share What I’ve Learned with Others

It’s one thing to glean a truth, it’s another thing to teach it. When you pass on what you learn to someone else, you make that lesson your own. It also multiplies the impact of what you’ve learned because it helps someone else…and they can use your words to add value to others.

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If you’re well into this year and are finding the goals you’ve set – regardless of how much progress you may have made on them – have given you an appetite for more, then the wisdom John shares will be useful and productive.

You’re ready to make the shift from goals to growth—and you’ll find a teachable spirit a reliable way to make that transition one that lasts.

The apostle Paul encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that by testing we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  (Romans 12:2)

Cultivation gives way to renewal.  Renewal provides a path for transformation.  Transformation confirms that we are teachable.

You’ve got this within you through the gift of God’s Holy Spirit.

Let’s implement these practices and experience real growth this summer.

Right here with you,