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Whether we realize it or not, we all have growth edges - areas where we can improve and develop new skills. Focusing on our growth edges can help us improve our emotional wellness, advance in our careers, improve relationships, and live more fulfilling lives. But identifying and working on growth edges requires awareness, effort, and perseverance.


What are growth edges? They are the skills, abilities, and character traits that, if strengthened, would allow us to progress to the next level. They reveal areas where we are not yet competent or comfortable. For example, a growth edge could be public speaking for someone who gets nervous giving presentations, or time management for someone who struggles to meet deadlines.


We may view our growth edges as areas in our lives where we consider ourselves to be "falling short". But we can reframe this kind of thinking and use these so called "shortcomings" to our advantage.


How can you identify your own growth edges? Think about areas where:


• You receive frequent constructive criticism from others


• You feel self-doubt or discomfort


• You avoid certain tasks or responsibilities


• You struggle to achieve your goals


Once you recognize a growth edge, create a plan for improvement. Break large goals into small, manageable steps. Oftentimes we get overwhelmed by all the things we "need" to change that we talk ourselves out of it or feel a sense of stuck-ness. Instead of focusing on all of the things you want to change, try focusing on one bite-sized thing that is in your control right now. What is the next thing right in front of you that feels manageable and realistic to commit to?


Seek out mentors, coaches, or peers who can provide guidance, feedback, and accountability. Practice the necessary skills regularly, even when it's uncomfortable at first. And be patient - growth takes time and effort.


Working on our growth edges is a lifelong endeavor because, as humans, we are very complex creatures. We are always changing and growing. But each step we take, however small, builds our confidence and skills. One piece of advice I received when I started my Master's program was that "time is passing regardless of what you decide to do with it." Even though it took me a long time to finish my degree, I kept at it - little by little - because the time was passing by anyway.


Over time, what once felt difficult becomes easier as we develop new strengths, confidence, and abilities. The journey of continuous self-improvement is never finished, so embrace the challenge of identifying and chipping away at your growth edges. And remember to celebrate the "small" successes throughout the journey. Once you get to the "destination", you might look back and realize that the small wins were actually the biggest ones.

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