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A Personal Growth Experience


Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2017 in Small Business Today Articles

Last time we were together I spent some time talking about Joanne’s brother Ted.  In case you missed it, we named our son Ted after him.  Over the years we have invited Ted on many vacation adventures with our family.  He gets along great with our kids, understands how Joanne and I like to do things, is easy to get along with and in general a lot of fun to be around.  One of the other things we like about Ted is his spirit of adventure.  It is a rare occasion that he will not try something new.

Ted is not only fun to be around, he often gives us new things to talk about and discuss.  Sometimes he brings us phrases which have become a permanent part of our family’s vernacular.  One of those phrases that has become ingrained is an acronym that we call “PGE”, which is short for a “personal growth experience”.  My memory is a little hazy, but I believe the term was coined when we were on vacation together with Ted in Okoboji.  He had just purchased a new smart phone and was determined to use part of his time away from his law practice learning how to use it.  He was bound to master the device and have a personal growth experience by doing so.

Over the next few days we found that asking Ted about his personal growth experience was just too much of a mouthful, and shortened the question to PGE.  To make a long story short, Ted did learn how to use his new smart phone, thanks in part to his nieces and nephews who were there to help.  All that week we talked about who was having a PGE by trying or learning something new.  It was fun to brag when someone actually accomplished a PGE.

Over the years we have come to loosely define a PGE as something that is challenging, not easy, and causes us to grow in a way that is positive.   But the essence of having a “PGE” and learning something new should not be taken lightly, it is something that we should do on a regular basis.

As small business owners and managers, it often feels like we are having personal growth experiences far too often and would welcome a day, week or month where things run smoothly, and “normal”.   I agree that for a short period of time, a day or so, that would be great.  But there is a reason as owners and managers, we do not want the same routine day after day, month after month.  If we honestly look at ourselves, we revel in the new and different challenges.  Some are challenges and changes that we start ourselves, others happen when we least expect them.  Still our jobs are to understand those challenges, and conquer the PGE.

As a slight clarification, having the same PGE every day, every week or every month does not really qualify as a PGE.  That is a recurring problem and needs to be addressed differently.  The key word in PGE is growth.  We need to take our experiences and use them positively for our customers and employees. 

Ted’s most memorable PGE might have happened Easter 2017 when he rode a hover board for a few seconds.  Unfortunately the second time he tried, this time with cameras rolling, he fell and injured his shoulder.  So much so that Ted required rotator cuff surgery.  Now recovering from the surgery and going through the physical therapy will be another opportunity for a PGE.

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