The Power of Incremental Growth: A Tale from the Basement Door

Apr 8, 2024 | Leadership, Life Balance, Sales

A Childhood Ritual

As children, birthdays held a special ceremony beyond the cake, candles, and presents. Every year, my mom would line me and my brothers up against the basement doorframe. With a pencil in hand, she would mark our heights, documenting how much we had grown over the past year. This was an exhilarating moment for me—until I would turn to compare my new mark with those of my older brothers. A rush of disappointment always followed. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to catch up.

A Milestone Moment

Then, years later, a significant day arrived. Dressed in my best slacks, shirt, and tie, I prepared for my graduation. As I adjusted my graduation cap in the mirror, I felt it—I was now a man. Walking through the house, I happened to pass that iconic basement door. And there it was; I had finally caught up to my brothers. Although the journey felt gradual, that milestone moment made it seem like I had grown overnight.

Passing on the Legacy

As a father, I’ve inherited this beautiful tradition. I find the same joy in marking my children’s heights on the doorframe. Recently, after noting the latest height of my youngest, he turned with eagerness to see his progress. “Am I bigger than Jaxson?” he asked. Remembering my own childhood eagerness to outgrow my brothers, I nodded, not mentioning that he was comparing his height to an older mark. What mattered to him was that he was catching up. Glancing down, I smiled. Compared to his last mark, he had indeed grown significantly.

Lessons for Professional Growth

In the realm of professional and personal development, it’s tempting to constantly measure ourselves against an ideal, feeling disheartened by the apparent chasm between ‘here’ and ‘there.’ Yet, this is a skewed perspective. True progress isn’t about how close you are to your ultimate goal; it’s about how far you’ve come from where you started.

Embrace the Journey

Growth is an ongoing process. Even when you think you’re not making headway, you are accruing incremental gains. Stick to the path, stay committed, and one day you’ll wake up to realize you’ve “gradually gotten big” in ways you hadn’t even noticed. That’s the day you’ll look back, smile, and truly appreciate the distance you’ve covered.

So go ahead, feel free to smile, and appreciate your growth right now. You’ve earned it.