Recently, I arrived at a meeting to find an empty Mason jar positioned in front of each person sitting around the table. An orange balloon was lying beside each jar. The facilitator instructed each of us to put the balloon inside our jar and blow up the balloon until it filled the jar. Then we tied a knot at the tip of the balloon to prevent the air from escaping. After everyone finished, he shared the following story:
"A pumpkin farmer was strolling through his rows of beautiful green leaves. At the beginning of the season, the acorn size pumpkins were beginning to add dots to the landscape. When he glanced down he noticed a clear glass jar and curiosity got the best of him.
He brought the jar over to one of his pumpkin buds, slipped the small pumpkin inside and left it sitting there in the field. Months later, with the experiment long forgotten, the farmer walked his land with great satisfaction as large beautiful pumpkins covered the patch.
Startled, he noticed the glass jar totally intact, yet completely filled up with that little pumpkin that grew inside. It was hard not to notice how the thin glass barrier defined the shape of the orange mass within. The pumpkin was only one-third of the size it should have been."
Break the Mold
The problem for this little pumpkin is the same problem for most businesses today. Rather than growing to their full potential, they conform to the shape of external molds or models defined by the leader.
These "glass jars" create invisible barriers for growth and predetermine the shape of the business' future. Your thinking also will never get any bigger than the size of the "jar".
However, you, as the leader, can "break the mold" and smash your "jar" by embracing working ON, not just IN, the business. Consequently, you will be able to expand your thinking to grow your business.
Recently, I've been writing about the ON/IN principle that encourages us to
Work ON the business while we work IN the business.
- Bobby Albert
So, what is working ON, not just IN, the business? It involves a three-part strategy:
- Grow yourself
- Grow your people
- Grow your business
"You can't handle the truth!"
- Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men
Have you ever heard of that quote above? It is iconic and true for so many leaders. I have found many leaders don't want to hear that they lack personal growth in their own lives or even that their people lack personal growth.
Many leaders have settled for mediocrity. They have had missed opportunity after opportunity for personal growth and to accomplish great things, but they never achieved much.
They may feel regretful because they have gone long enough without personal growth that they now have begun to feel they have had an unused life. Why? They gave into the myths of growth.
Every leader can grow their business by understanding the following three myths about personal growth.
Personal Growth Myths
1. Growth is automatic - Well, growth is not automatic! We think that our minds will just take care of themselves and keep growing like our bodies did when we were younger.
However, like when our bodies stop growing and when we got out of high school or college, our minds stop growing as well when we no longer had someone pushing us to improve our job skills (training) and become a better person (development).
2. Growth comes with experience - Many people believe that personal growth comes simply as the result of experience. It is good only if you reflect upon what you have learned from both your successes and mistakes.
"Experience isn't the best teacher, evaluated experience is."
- John Maxwell
3. Growth comes from information: Knowledge is not enough. I'm sure you know someone, like I have, just full of information and data, but they do nothing to apply all this wonderful knowledge to benefit themselves or others.
What is the Size of Your "Jar"?
What is the size of your "jar"? Is it constraining the growth of your business, department, or organization? What is currently limiting your potential? Most leaders feel their problem is their people, but
Can you handle the truth? The truth is no matter what work you do or where you do it, your greatest challenge is YOU! Many leaders are looking for that quick fix to growth, but if you are not growing, you will be the "lid" on your organization's growth.
- Bobby Albert
Are you willing to change? For without change, there can be no growth. Then commit yourself to not only accept change but to seek it. And commit yourself to become a great leader by investing in the personal growth for yourself and your people.
In what ways have you put your business inside of a Mason jar? What can you do to remove the limits on the size of your business? Are you willing to change and invest in personal growth for yourself and your people? Please share your reply <here>. I'd love to hear your thoughts.