Investment of Your Time, part 2


"If you want to grow, then spend time with great people; visit great places; attend great events; read great books; listen to great tapes." Elmer Towns

To achieve the greatness you desire for your life, personal growth must be a priority. Investing time to grow yourself should be a non-negotiable in everyone’s life, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.  Years ago, I asked a group of forty senior military leaders if they had a plan for their personal growth. Mind you, these are senior leaders.

The answer I received astounded me – only three had a personal growth plan.

That’s right – only 3. 

No one in my military career ever sat me down and gave me any suggestions for my personal growth, or even expressed the importance of it.  I was given sessions on what to do to grow as a technician in the military. I was not given a plan to follow to grow personally.  My mentor, John Maxwell, shares wisdom he received from Elmer Towns, one of his mentors, that I believe can be a basic plan you can use to jump start your personal growth plan – whether you are a seasoned veteran or a beginner on your journey.

Last week, I covered spending time with great people and visiting great places. I suggest you read part 1 from last week, along with this one to give you the full picture of this simple personal growth system. 


audience at event

The next part of a personal growth plan is to attend great events.

What does a great event look like to you? 

Great events energize you.

They grow you, they expand your perspective and awaken the sleeping giant within you.  You may find one coming to your local area. I have a couple of events that I attend every year that meet these criteria  -one in Odessa, Texas and one in Orlando, Florida.  These events recharge my batteries and put me in contact with people hungry to grow like me. I network and mastermind with people who are way ahead of me in growth and they help me to expand my horizons. 

Right now, I want you to research and find one great event and add it to your calendar to attend this year.  (Maybe even plan a vacation around the event.) 

great books

One of the easiest ways to grow personally is to read great books.  Most of my personal growth plan is based on the books I read and apply. Reading is the cheapest and easiest form of personal growth there is.  You can go the old- fashioned route and read a hardback book, like I prefer. Go to a library and grab a handful of books just to see if they’re a good fit for you – and THEN purchase or borrow from said library or a friend. If you have the means to purchase books, then do so. There are audio books, books that can be read on smartphones and tablets.  There is literally no excuse for not reading a book.  The key to reading a book is not the act of reading but the action steps you take from what you read.  That’s where you grow.  Knowledge is good. Knowledge applied is greater.


The final step in Elmer Town’s advice to John on personal growth was listening to tapes or CDs.  In today’s high technology, we now have podcasts, YouTube videos, social media feeds with positive and growth-oriented content everywhere.  You can download and or listen to almost anything, anywhere, at any time. The question is, will you take the time to listen?  How many hours a day do you spend in traffic? How many hours a day of movies, news and Netflix do you consume? Why not exchange these dead air hours and fill them with positive, growth-oriented content, aimed towards reaching your goals and dreams?    

What it all boils down to is answering how important are you to you? Are you worth investing in yourself to grow to become a better version of yourself? Here is a basic plan to help you do that.

The difference between who you are now and who you will be tomorrow is based on what action you will take today.


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Make it an amazing week, Steel Toes Tribe!