In June of 2020, in the middle of a raging global pandemic, Sammy Gonzalez and I published our 1st book, “The Pursuit of Growth: A Lifestyle to Flourish in Today’s World.” 3 years beforehand, Sammy challenged me to write a book documenting the lifestyle of personal growth that had positively transformed my life over the past 10 years and had provided us both with the mindset, habits, plans, and road maps to take control of our lives.  We worked intentionally to pursue goals that created a lifestyle of joy, accomplishment, and peace of mind – all while embracing life’s trials, challenges, and hardships. The lifestyle documented in the book was instrumental in helping us adapt and flourish through the many challenges brought forth by COVID-19.

Writing, editing, formatting, and preparing the book for publishing took 3 years, and the work necessary to complete the project was an absolute labor of love. I found an immense amount of joy in the processes of outlining the material, writing, and rewriting each chapter of the book. However, the editing, formatting, and publication process was tedious and a weakness in my skillsets. I needed someone to partner with me throughout the entire process, or my goal of writing a book would not have been successful.

The purpose of writing the book was to both encourage and help people thrive by sharing our belief that the most important goals in life are found in 11 focus areas outlined in the book, and by teaching an 11-step process that provides the framework for achieving any goal, whether large or small in scale. The active progress experienced by working towards growth goals anchored in the 11 focus areas, as opposed to goals directed solely towards comfort, status, materialism, and selfishness – provide the road map to joy, accomplishment, and peace of mind. The world we live in today is difficult,  complicated, deceptive, tempting, and deceitful. The Pursuit of Growth provides a road map to push through the darkness. It is hard to get lost on a straight road.

The day our book became available for purchase was both an exciting experience and an opportunity to practice what I preach. On one hand, I was excited to finally share our book with the masses because I believe the application of the principles outlined between the front and back covers will positively impact reader’s lives, and on the other hand I was fearlful because the book documented many of my lifelong insecurities, embarrassing mistakes, arrogant tendencies, and painful experiences that have caused harm to other people in my life. I caught myself worried about what readers, especially family and friends, would think of me after reading about my failures. I realized this was an opportunity to grow in my attitude and confidence.

I am extremely grateful for the feedback readers have shared about the book. I have lost count of the emails, text messages, social media comments, and phone calls I have received from readers describing the lessons that resonated within themselves along with kind words about the book’s benefits.

Reflection #1:

I am grateful for Sammy Gonzalez as my co-author who encouraged me constantly and worked side by side with me to turn an idea into a reality. Do you have a big goal or project you desire to complete? Who can you partner with to bring your goal to life?

Reflection #2:

The 11 focus areas described in the book align with biblical teachings and God’s instructions for how to live a life of purpose. Each of us have different strengths and natural abilities, and while we all have a universal purpose to honor and serve God with our lives, our means of accomplishing that purpose lives within our choices to live by intentionally pursuing our unique mission.  In opposition, most people choose to follow a pathway of misguided goals created by our popular culture that leads to short term pleasure and long-term discontent. Do you have the right goals to improve yourself? Do you have goals to serve others? Do you have goals and actionable plans to utilize the gifts God has given you?

Reflection #3:

I have learned extreme ownership of my actions alongside a no excuses mentality is a powerful tool for personal growth.

Once the book was complete and we were nearing the publication launch, I was honestly fearful of how people would react to reading about my many mistakes in life. I knew I needed to change my mindset, and I  quickly changed my thinking from “Will people think less of me because of my failures?” to “I am eager to share my life lessons with people to help encourage and promote a lifestyle of growth.”

I needed to face the fear and conquer it inside my head. Replacing weak thoughts with strong thoughts works wonders for my attitude. When I find myself facing a fear, I know that by addressing it head on, as opposed to simply avoiding it, will take away its power over me. Are you facing your fears, or, avoiding them in hopes they disappear?

Reflection #4

The encouragement received from our audience is the driving force for Sammy and I to continue building The Pursuit of Growth community through our YouTube Show/Podcast, Blog, and future initiatives. I continue to re-read the book every few months to keep the principles top of mind, and I have developed a 1-page summary that I review each morning to train my brain and ensure I am applying the lifestyle effectively. Personally, I am susceptible to falling backwards into negative thinking, bad habits, selfishness, pride, and the sole pursuit of temporary comforts that lead me down pathways to discontentment, victim mentality, and anxiety. Reviewing and applying the principles outlined in the book daily are my weapons to fight and win the daily battle inside my mind. Will you apply The Pursuit of Growth lifestyle to your life?