Breaking Personal Growth Barriers

Breaking the sound barrier with an aircraft provides a stunning sight and sound.  This accelerated speed that exceeds the speed of sound is often achieved by our military aircraft. It’s called “breaking the sound barrier”.  

Here is a picture* of that moment…

Here is the technical description of that moment…

The passage from subsonic to supersonic speeds is accompanied by some unusual phenomena which lie in the realm of “nonlinear” mechanical events – events involving some degree of chaos.

The first man credited with breaking the sound barrier in level flight is Chuck Yager on 14 October 1947, flying at an altitude of 45,000 ft.

What is a personal growth barrier?         

 A barrier is something that obstructs or limits.

In terms of personal growth, behavior is an observable manifestation of our “growth barrier” i.e. – something that limits or obstructs sustained or future success.

Success is the achievement of something…doing what we set out to do.

Success is defined by you for you based on your values, your purpose in life, and your passion. Such success brings freedom.

A barrier limits your success…your ability to achieve what you set out to accomplish with your life. Most often, the personal growth barrier is displayed with our “soft skills” or people skills; relational not the technical. This unproductive, limiting behavior becomes a barrier to success.

When do you know there is a barrier?

Look again at the technical description of breaking the sound barrier: “…events involving some degree of chaos.” 

Where there is turmoil, confusion, frustration, poor performance, or unproductive behavior pay attention. When there is chaos in your life, observe what is going on in the story and you’ll can identify the barrier to your success.

Watch for fear-based emotion (worry, anxiety, anger, hate, hostility, rage, ill-will, resentment, frustration, impatience, irritation, bitterness). Fear-based emotion triggers ancient behavior (micro management/control freak/lack of delegation…procrastination/poor decision making…ineffective communication/telling/poor listening…lack of trust/assumptive, and others). The old behaviors are a barrier that hinder your full potential and future success.

What is your response to the chaos?

Reflect on this simple exercise to assess your response to personal growth opportunities; challenges.

Rate your response to a need to grow…  (1=Not!   6=Very!)

  • Receptive

How willing and ready are you to accept new ideas, to examine your story for truth?

  • Agreement

How committed are you to pursuing the truth regarding what gets in the way of your success?

  • Change

How ready are you to replace current thinking and behavior to achieve your next level?

What would most likely hamper your accelerated personal growth?

  • DenialNot owning current reality, the fact of your story?
  • RationalizationMaking excuses, avoiding responsibility for your performance?
  • MinimizationAvoiding the reality of the situation, “It’s no big deal.”
  • BlameTrying to place the responsibility on someone else

 How do you break a personal growth barrier?

My executive coaching process is not hard; it’s just not easy to do without support.

Here are four steps to breaking a performance barrier:

  1. Acknowledge: What is getting in your way?
  2. Observe: When does the behavior happen?
  3. Change: What is your preferred response?
  4. Evaluate: How will I know I made the change?

The critical skill and practical habit that supports sustained success is consistent reflection.

The best predictor of continued success is the ability and willingness to learn and change achieved through consistent reflection on the truth that comes through the story.

-Steve Laswell

In my previous article  I wrote about creating space in order to accelerate personal success.

The reality for all of us is this…

What got you here (your current level of success),

will not get you there (your next level of success);

whether in job performance or life…

whether mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual.

What is your growth barrier?

What seems to be hindering your future success?

What steps are you taking to create space for reflective thinking?

Please comment below; I’d love to hear from you. 


Photo Credit: Pacific Ocean (Jan. 29, 2004) Ð Lt. Col. William “Chester” Waldron,

Commanding Officer of the “Black Knights” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron Three One Four (VMFA-314) performs a super sonic fly-by for Columbia’s Visual effects unit, while filming for the upcoming motion picture production “Stealth.Ó  U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate Airman Chris M. Valdez.  (RELEASED)

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Tags: Posted in Leadership Development, Performance Improvement, Personal Development, Personal Growth, Personal Responsibility, Personal Success, Success |

This entry was posted on Monday, September 27, 2010 at 11:45 pm and is filed under Leadership Development, Performance Improvement, Personal Development, Personal Growth, Personal Responsibility, Personal Success, Success. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.