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The Leading Edge: The Climb Is Worth It

The climbing of stone steps and climbing of growth steps both take intention and effort. But, I am living proof that the climb is absolutely worth it!

When Michael was a student in my second-grade class he found every way possible to bring Warrick Castle into a conversation. In fact, it happened so frequently that it became comical. I had seen other children obsess about their fascination with toys, television shows or super heroes, but never with… a castle.

In talking with his parents, I learned that he had visited Warrick Castle when he was in kindergarten. His father was a pilot and had the opportunity to fly his family with him when he made trips around the country and the world.

Without a doubt, Michael was one of the most well-traveled seven-year-olds I had ever come across. And while, at times, I know I did a silent, “here we go again” when he would launch into one of his monologues on the details he remembered from his tour of the castle, there was also a stirring of curiosity in me. So much so, that, when I had the opportunity to take my first trip across the pond to England with my parents in 1998, I asked if we could visit Warrick Castle.

I wasn’t truly prepared for what I saw. While Michael had sung its praises full force, even that did not do it justice. I remember being so awe-struck that it suddenly became crystal clear why that little boy was so blown away by it. Seeing it with my own eyes, I leapt to another level of understanding.

The courtyard, the rooms, the dungeon, the massive size…all of it combined to create this larger-than-life experience that gave me the sense I had literally been transported back in time. I was seeing an era long-since gone, yet walking pathways that were there long-before I was born. It was mesmerizing.

And then, we made the climb to the top of the turret. Clutching my raincoat around me, I slowly maneuvered my way up what felt like hundreds of stone steps to the castle’s pinnacle.

What my eyes drank in completely overwhelmed me.

You could see for literally miles and miles and miles. Every way you turned, there was a different but equally breathtaking view. I knew exactly why Michael had continued to talk about Warrick Castle.

What I didn’t know was how that moment would come back to connect with me in the decades ahead.

Shortly after that trip I went through a series of events that forever changed me and my view of the world.

I ended up leaving my job, selling my home and moving to another state where I started my life over again. As a part of that process, I became a member of the John Maxwell Team and was exposed to the power of personal growth in a way I had only dabbled in previously.

After my first International Maxwell Certification event, I bought and read John Maxwell’s book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. These powerful words jumped off the page,

“Growth doesn’t just happen.”

I was challenged to ask questions that would help me to set the direction for my growth.

But the one that grabbed my heart was this:

What’s the farthest you can imagine going?

For years, I had in some ways relegated myself to believing that “this is just where you are, so be content.” And while I had moved and begun a new phase of life, I hadn’t really considered that I might actually still be limiting myself because of growth gap traps. Reading those words in the chapter on The Law of Intentionality opened my eyes to this idea of passionately pursuing growth, regardless of the cost.

And so, I began. Growing myself and encouraging others to grow has become my passion! I even describe myself as a “growth environment specialist.” It was about a year into my growth journey that the dots were connected to Warrick Castle.

It suddenly hit me.

In the same way climbing to the top of the turret had opened my eyes to a broader view than what I could see from the courtyard, growth has opened my eyes to the truth.

As you grow, you begin to see how much farther there is to go and to grow!

John’s words,

“The first indication you’re growing is that what you’ve learned no longer satisfies…you want more,”

are absolutely true in my life!

A little boy named Michael, with his passion for a castle, stirred in me a desire to see why. And a man named John, with his passion for growth, fuels my desire to open the eyes of others to the power growth affords. The climbing of stone steps and climbing of growth steps both take intention and effort. But, I am living proof that the climb is absolutely worth it!

Learn more about Amy

Amy describes herself as a “growth environment specialist” and believes everyone is either stepping forward into growth or backward into safety. For more than 25 years, Amy served in the fields of education, communications and marketing, leadership and the not-for-profit sector. Now an Executive Director and certified speaker, trainer and coach with the John Maxwell Team, she serves the Team as a member of the President’s Advisory Council. Her passion is helping people raise their level of awareness about the importance of their own personal growth and leadership journeys. Whether delivering an interactive workshop for creating a growth environment, speaking to inspire others to take insanely practical action or listening to learn so she can ask thought-provoking questions, Amy defines success as having people walk away from spending time with her feeling they’ve been seen, heard and had value added.

The author of Seeing Blind Spots: Leadership Lessons from Real Life, Amy writes a weekly blog and is a DISC Certified Human Behavior Consultant.

A mom of three and grandmother of four, she and her husband, Sam, live in Carmel, Indiana. Favorite pastimes include singing, gardening, health and fitness and performing in Community Theater. You can learn more about Amy at

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