We recently hosted our Elite Academy in Charleston, South Carolina. We hold these events three times a year. Beyond the great training and speakers, it’s the perfect place for me to catch up with hundreds of leaders at LifeVantage. I’m able to see them grow – not just as entrepreneurs but as people. They come from all different walks of life. Different backgrounds, demographics, family dynamics, and economic status.
But many of these leaders share one thing in common: a growth mindset.
Personal growth isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s both deeply personal and distinctly unique for everyone. It doesn’t matter where you start. And it doesn’t matter where you end, because, really, there is no end. Because a growth mindset is a continual journey, not a destination. To prove my point, I want to tell two very different stories from two very different leaders who’ve applied a growth mindset to their very different lives. One came from the depths of poverty while the other changed careers while at the pinnacle of corporate success.
Kai Hayes grew up in the Philippines in abject poverty. Her family of six lived in a one-room plywood shed. That one room doubled as their family room, dining room, kitchen, and bedroom at night. There was one bed. The rest of the family slept on the cement floor. To make matters worse, Kai’s family often couldn’t afford to pay the meager rent, so they bounced from one shanty to the next, moving dozens of times throughout her childhood. While Kai didn’t have money, clothing, or even electricity, she did have probably the only thing she’d need for the rest of her life: a growth mindset.
Kai took the opportunity to attend an inexpensive college in her home country. She didn’t waste that opportunity, either. It took hard work, hours studying, talking with professors, soaking up everything she could, and Kai eventually graduated. At this point, she was a single mother raising her child and trying to put food on the table for her two parents and grandparents. It would have been easy to give up or throw in the towel.
She told me this: “I vividly remember taking my four-year-old son in my arms one night. I was in tears. I told him that he would never live a life of poverty. That I would give him everything he needed to live his dreams.”
And guess what, she did. In fact, her son recently graduated magna-cum laude from a prestigious university. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Kai got a job in sales and marketing, eventually working her way up to the top of her company. She became financially independent at the age of 34. Probably a good time to cash in the chips, right? Not for Kai. She started her own company, traveled the world, immigrated to the U.S., and ended up selling her company. And that’s where Kai found us. As you can probably guess by now, she hasn’t stopped. And she never will.
That’s what people with a growth mindset do – they continually find a way to keep improving, no matter what.
Today, Kai finds a way to grow by helping others do the same, by giving back, and by inspiring others with her story. Her keys to personal growth are as simple as they are powerful: have an open mind, be coachable, always be learning, believe in yourself, and always be yourself.
Personal growth isn’t just a rags-to-riches deal, either. The idea that growth exists on a continual point-A-to-point-B spectrum is a common misperception that keeps so many from achieving their dreams.
Take Shawn Poe for example.
Another inspiring leader at LifeVantage, Shawn has found a way to continually grow despite coming from the peak of financial success. Always a caring husband and father, Shawn worked as an executive for Wells Fargo and Citigroup. At one point, he was moving up to $40 billion a day around the world and then later managing educational loans across the company – a big-time job that boggles my mind.
But for Shawn, there was always something missing. The higher he climbed the corporate ladder, the more time it forced him to spend away from his family.
“I wasn’t the father or husband I should have been,” Shawn said. “When I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t happy with who I had become. I wanted something different.”
That’s when Shawn and his wife, Michelle, were introduced to our company. Within it, he recognized the missing piece to the puzzle.
The Poes then did something audacious: they doubled down on their dream. Shawn continued to work days at Citigroup while they both built their business at night while the kids were asleep. They sacrificed, they worked harder than they ever had, but the sweat equity paid off. Nine months later, they had built their business to the point where Shawn was able to leave his corporate job.
The secret, according to Shawn, almost sounds too simple to believe, but it’s a hallmark of people who adopt a growth mindset. “Look at everything in your life. Decide what you can cut out to help you achieve your goals. Find a half hour every day, that if consistently applied to your dreams, would have a massive impact down the road.”
And you’ve probably already guessed this by now, but Shawn hasn’t stopped growing. He’s finding new ways to build a better business while using that business to become a better person in the process.
That’s what I love so much about both of these stories. They underscore the key to a growth mindset. Growing isn’t arriving. It’s not finally achieving wealth, financial independence, or athletic, educational, or professional accomplishment. It’s the persistent belief that there’s always a better way. As Shawn told me, “I try looking in the mirror and figuring out how to become better and how to turn the next chapter.” As Kai put it, “from my son to the people in my organization, I’ve tried focusing on always putting people ahead of me – on serving them first. I think that’s been my key to growth.
I hope we can all adopt a growth mindset. It’s empowering. It’s liberating. And I think it’s a big part of what makes our industry so amazing. We measure success by what we turn our lives into and the type of people we become in the process. And that’s a beautiful thing.
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