We were created to pursue growth. To expand our comfort zones. To live fully into the glorious purposes God has for us. However, this takes intentional patience and hard work. I sat down with August Huckabee to hear his insights and personal experience in pursuing growth. Our culture often misses the point of patience, August notes. We want to be good at something the first time and get frustrated and scared when we are not. Pursuing personal growth looks like continual practice and facing your fears. August offers practical advice on what this looks like.
Study, Practice, Perform
There are three key principles to remember in pursuing personal growth. Study. Practice. And performance. August encourages us to start with a goal and be as specific as possible. By creating a goal, we give ourselves a direction to move in and something practical to start pursuing. We achieve our goals through repetition.
First, we study. We must know our content well and ask questions of ourselves. Before asking permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah spent years studying the ways of the Israelites and being a faithful cupbearer to the king. He was able to see others interact with the king, and when his moment came, he knew what to say. The next step is practice. Find mentors and experienced people to go over material with. Find wise people and talk with them; never stop asking questions. In learning a language, for example, it is important to do more than study books. Having tutors and a safe place to practice, allows for correct and genuine progress. Start small and practice, so that in the moment of pressure fear cannot control you. The final step is performance. This requires actually doing the things that you’ve been preparing for, entering the moment of pressure and getting it right.
But you will never be completely ready. These steps are more like cycles, August explained. As we work through them, we create habits. Keep studying and practicing, but don’t wait too long to perform. If your desire to meet your goal is strong enough, you will be motivated to face what you fear and continue practicing. Familiarity leads to comfortability. The more we go back and keep practicing, the more we can develop habits that expand our personal comfort zones. God desires to work through us, not only in the moment of performance, but in everything leading up to it. He will bless our faithfulness in the little things.
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
August’s final point was that sheer willpower will not work. We cannot will our way to progress and success. It takes commitment – to groups that will make you better and to systems and habits that will force you to produce. Do one thing everyday that will help you pursue that specific dream you are working towards. Habits are powerful, and personal progress will only take place when we continue to study, practice, and perform.
“Big shots are just little league shots who keep shooting”
Recommended resources for further reading:
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- No Plan B for Your A Game by Bo Eason
- Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy