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  • Writer's pictureCayman Handley, Kennesaw State University

Personal Growth is Key to Success

Personal growth is one of the most impactful opportunities that life has to offer. A new day brings fresh opportunities for growth, inspiration, and learning from your environment and outside influences. There has been a strong belief in recent times that you are your environment. This means that the people, organizations, and things you surround yourself with can quickly impact the motives and goals you set for your personal growth.

When I started interning for the Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, earlier this semester, I was given a book called The Map by Keith M. Eigel & Karl W. Kuhnert. This psychological book focuses on human development. The book reviews over 40 years of research about the five stages of self-growth a human can overcome and compares this journey to a roadmap.

In this comparison, Eigel and Kuhnert state that everyone can reach their "Promised Land" or, in simple terms, the best version of themselves where they are physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially happy and prosperous. Reaching this part of life encourages you to grow and take ownership of who you are and what you stand for; rather than stagnating, which is something to be aware of when you're attempting to gain a new form of confidence when entering the workforce.

One thing that brightened my confidence in my daily life was earning my Eagle Scout rank with the Boy Scouts of America. This says a lot about a young adult's life. Eagle Scout rank demonstrates that you can achieve the goals you set for yourself and are open to exploring life with different cultures, communities, and backgrounds. Only 4% of Americans achieve this rank when joining the Scouting program.

When working through the program, a person can apply the Scout Law to all aspects of life. This law requires a person to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, etc. These positive values enhance personal growth, especially for someone pursuing a career in public relations and advertising. I have come across these values when connecting with people in my community and work.

As a college student entering the work environment, I have been easily overwhelmed by the daily personal and career growth opportunities I face daily. I quickly realized that being truthful and fully confident about yourself and your work is the crucial aspect that can make or break your career growth; this will impact your personal life. Knowing and living up to your values helps you reach your full potential by putting one foot in front of the other and pushing yourself three times harder.

Setting goals for yourself is critical to life because, without goal-setting, you will begin to underestimate yourself and never see your full potential. Achieving your goals gives you the feeling that motivates you to keep striving. It could be short-term, like doing that 6 a.m. Pilates workout, or long-term, like working your dream job. For example, one of the goals I set for myself as my 2022 New Year's Resolution was to get involved with a student organization. This made me want to be more active in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Kennesaw State. Within less than a year of joining as a member, I was given the opportunity to work as an Assistant Digital Media Director. In November 2022, I was promoted to Public Relations Director of PRSSA.

One of my most recent long-term goals is to move outside of Atlanta to another big city like Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, etc., within the next 5-10 years and pursue my career in Public Relations and Digital Media/Advertising. Talking to my friends at my local university about this plan made me feel it would be difficult to reach. This is because big cities have high costs of living. I later began to downgrade myself and my career goals. Through organizations such as the National Millennial and Gen Z Community (NMGZ) and Kennesaw State's professor, Amanda Weed, I realized that those negative thoughts towards my personal growth were just opinions I should not stress myself over.

When I traveled on the Los Angeles trip with NMGZ in November 2022, I was surrounded by peers and mentors that reminded me of one thing: "What's life if you can't dream big?" This trip allowed me to connect with peers worldwide to hear what motivates them to flourish in their communities. In the 3.5 days I spent with the most ambitious "dreamers," who will undoubtedly be the next generation of leaders, I felt the universe had never been perfectly aligned.

For example, I began listening to PR-related podcasts over the summer when I decided to dive deeper into my career. I came across one podcast in particular: Grand Valley State University's PR Hangover. Olivia Dolley hosts the podcast, which discusses the many aspects of PR since it is a broad field. A few months after I fangirled over the podcast, I joined NMGZ in a series of meetings in L.A. I had yet to learn that the podcast host, Olivia, would also attend the trip. We had been paired to host the Beam Suntory meeting. I was ultimately in disbelief as it felt like a small-world situation since I had been a fan of her work for months.

Following the trip, I quickly realized that my personal "Promised Land" (the goals I set to enhance my career and personal growth further) is incredibly achievable. Nonetheless, I urge friends, loved ones, and those pursuing their goals never to be afraid of taking action on their dreams.

When you look at the big picture, life is too short not to chase after missed opportunities, so always dream big and keep striving.


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