You have to dig if you want to find the greatest possibilities within yourself and others. They are not – repeat, not – obvious.
But even simple discoveries can be transformative. They can change individuals and organizations. Seeing your own worst habits can do it. Knowing why you act as you do can do it. Sometimes self-awareness alone makes it obvious where you need to change or even transform.
This is like the old quote that you find trinkets on the shore, but for buried treasure, you must go deep sea diving. This is what professional and personal growth is about--our willingness to meet and follow ourselves to some deeper places that we might like to ignore. This is where the real power is, not in the surface things we do.
When I was in 4th grade, I wanted more than anything to be an archeologist, digging for dinosaurs and shards of history. It occurred to me the other day that I've become an archeologist of another sort--one who wants to dig deeply into what makes me and others tick, to find the hidden treasure within, as well as the layers that obscure that treasure. I'm interested in how we can clear away those layers of doubt, insecurity, outmoded thinking models and inhibiting beliefs that keep us from finding and expressing our deepest gifts. And then finding ways to bring those gifts to the surface, clean and shiny, for others to share.
True professional and personal growth requires us to go deep and then deeper still if we want to gain the full, transformative benefits of our efforts. It does no good, for example, for us to take courses in time management if we do not uncover and understand our habits of procrastination. We will resist any new time management tips or skills and then claim that "nothing works." And if we do not dig deeply to find our positive core, we will never find the wellspring of inspiration and passion that can sustain us when the going gets rough.
Although it's tempting to gather the trinkets on the shore, to go for the "easy" wins, this will never be as rewarding or transformative as putting on our archeologist gear and digging more deeply to uncover the treasure within. And the process itself carries its own rewards.