The Little Book of Personal Growth (Chapter Excerpt)

Available for pre-order and bonuses

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Today is the first day you can pre-order The Little Book of Personal Growth. Between July 25th and August 3rd you will be able to purchase the book for half off ($2.99) and when you email your Amazon receipt to thelittlebookbonuses@gmail.com I’ll send you the PDF version of The Leadership Mandate. Click here to pre-order your copy.


In chapter 7 of my book I share 9 methods you can use in your personal growth plan. Below is one of those methods, enjoy:

Method 7 – Stop and Watch

In The Little Book of Talent, author Daniel Coyle says, “Many hotbeds use an approach I call the engraving method. Basically, they watch the skill being performed, closely and with great intensity, over and over, until they build a high-definition mental blueprint.” The author goes on to explain how you can do this. He shares, “The key to effectively engraving is to create an intense connection: to watch and listen so closely that you can imagine the feeling of performing the skill. For physical skills, project yourself inside the performer’s body. For mental skills simulate the skill by re-creating the expert’s decision patterns.” 6

What Daniel describes as engraving, I call the stop and watch method. The first step is to stop long enough to watch and learn. In our fast pace and technology driven world the art of stopping long enough to intensely watch something can be challenging. The method requires being aware of your surroundings and removing any possible distractions that could pull you away from watching. You can do this by removing any outside noise, turning off your phone or any electronics, and clearing your mind of any thoughts. Professional Baseball player Tony La Russa said, “There are always distractions if you allow them.” The key is not to allow distractions to happen while you implement this method.

The second step is to watch the skill or activity being performed. This can be done in a variety of ways including: Watching a video on YouTube, having a trainer (coach or mentor) show you, watching a live performance or demonstration, or observing the person from a distance. Since there are countless numbers of videos online, you can easily do a Google or YouTube search of the skill or activity you want to learn. You might consider hiring a trainer or asking a competent superior within your field to perform a task or skill so you can watch it being done. You could attend a live performance were you would be able to watch the skill or activity being shown or demonstrated. You can observe someone within your surroundings who is proficiently performing a skill or activity.

Remember the advice in the coaching and mentoring method from Jack and Suzy Welch about “observing best practices” and to implement what others are great at into your own life. That’s what this method is all about. Repeatedly watching a skill or activity competently being done causes your mind to comprehend what you need to do to perform the same skill or activity. What you watch is captured in the conscious and subconscious parts of your mind. From this you can evaluate which parts of what you have watched should be adapted into your life, refined to match your situation or field, or forgotten about. You can prepare yourself to grow whatever skill you want when you take the time to stop and watch it being performed or done. Combining this method with the next method of practicing can cause double growth effectiveness. You should move from the stop and watch method to practicing what you have seen.

You can now pre-order The Little Book of Personal Growth. Between July 25th and August 3rd you will be able to purchase the book for half off ($2.99) and when you email your Amazon receipt to thelittlebookbonuses@gmail.com I’ll send you the PDF version of The Leadership Mandate. Click here to pre-order your copy.

Question: How can you implement the stop and watch method into your personal growth?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • One way I’ve used this is to help me live with authenticity. I am drawn to authentic leaders who operate in their areas of giftings and who don’t try to be anyone but who they were created to be. I see how they are in a variety of settings, and I see how they consistently apply the basics of who they are – their personality, skills, etc. – to whatever task they’re given. Through watching many authentic leaders, I am learning to not only embrace who I am but to not try and be who I’m not.

    • Hi Kari,

      That’s awesome! It’s great to hear how you apply this method, your a better leader because of it.

  • Just ordered the book, Dan. Looking forward to getting it in a few days!