Self Help

Smart Growth - Whitney Johnson

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 43 min read

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Here are the key points from the blurbs:

  • The book provides a simple yet powerful framework for personal growth and leading growth in organizations.

  • It contains compelling stories and case studies that illustrate the framework.

  • The advice is actionable for growing yourself, your team, and your business.

  • It offers valuable insights on mastering learning, taking on new challenges, and leading diverse teams.

  • It’s insightful yet practical for anyone looking to grow successfully.

  • The stories are engaging and make the research and concepts relatable.

  • It transforms how you think about growth and development.

  • It’s brilliant yet accessible, profound yet full of sound advice.

  • The book is well-researched, but also a page-turner and delight to read.

  • It provides a blueprint for growth that goes beyond the individual to teams and organizations.

  • The book is essential reading for business leaders who want to grow their companies in satisfying ways.

In summary, the blurbs highlight the book’s simple yet powerful framework, compelling storytelling, and actionable advice for personal growth and leading organizational growth. The book makes research and concepts on growth relatable and accessible through engaging stories. It offers insights on learning, challenge-seeking, and leading teams. The book transforms mindsets on growth and provides a blueprint from individual to organization. It’s insightful yet entertaining, brilliant yet full of practical wisdom. Essential reading for growth-oriented leaders and teams.

  • The book introduces the S Curve of Learning, a model for understanding personal growth through six stages: Explorer, Collector, Accelerator, Metamorph, Anchor, and Mountaineer.

  • The S Curve mirrors how groups adopt new innovations, with slow initial adoption, rapid uptake once a tipping point is reached, and then a levelling off.

  • Each stage of the S Curve has its own characteristics, frustrations, and thrills. The Explorer phase involves thrill-seeking and new opportunities. The Collector phase involves assessing fit and value.

  • The Accelerator and Metamorph phases represent the sweet spot of rapid growth and change. The Anchor phase is mastery, where the new skill is effortless.

  • Once mastered, skills can become routine and our brains bored. This drives the need for new S Curves and growth - the Mountaineer phase.

  • The model provides a map to direct your own and others’ growth through deliberate practice. Understanding the science of growth increases your capacity to grow.

  • The S Curve of Learning is a model for visualizing progress from novice to master. It represents continuous growth through successive S curves.

  • We can deliberately apply the S Curve model to develop smart growth in our careers, companies, and personal lives.

  • Harry Kraemer’s career illustrates navigating multiple S Curves through disruptions and challenges. His objective on each curve was to become “the best” in that role.

  • In contrast, the “Mr. Blah” letter shows someone who is disengaged and stuck, unable to restart growth after halting progress up the S Curve.

  • The concepts of the S Curve and smart growth provide a framework to maximize learning and avoid getting stuck. We can choose to grow continuously or not.

Here are a few key points from the summary:

  • Mike Rowe launched a major new phase of his career (his S Curve) after getting an unexpected call from his mother urging him to do a TV segment that would make his grandfather proud by showing Rowe doing real, skilled work.

  • Rowe decided to film a segment in the sewers under San Francisco, following a veteran sewer inspector.

  • During filming, Rowe was hit in the face by an exploding sewer pipe, covered in roaches, and attacked by a giant rat, while wading in raw sewage.

  • Rather than giving up, Rowe embraced the experience and saw it as an opportunity to showcase skilled labor and trades work on TV.

  • The disgusting but entertaining footage became a hit segment on Rowe’s show Evening Magazine.

  • This experience marked a turning point for Rowe, launching him on a new trajectory celebrating skilled trades and blue collar work, rather than just hosting a lifestyle TV show.

In summary, an unexpected and challenging experience involving real hands-on skilled labor marked the start of Mike Rowe’s growth into a new phase of his career and life purpose. The sewer segment launched him onto a new “S Curve” of learning and impact.

  • Mike Rowe was fired from a local TV show after doing a gross segment where he crawled through sewage. He showed the footage to Discovery Channel, who turned it into the hit show Dirty Jobs.

  • Dirty Jobs was unique because Rowe wasn’t just a spectator, but actually did the dirty jobs himself. This allowed him to explore the question “What would the world look like if no one did this job?”

  • Rowe had a checkered career before Dirty Jobs, doing over 400 different jobs in TV and other fields. He made exploration his model for the show.

  • The Explorer phase is about considering your options and doing your homework before committing to a direction. It’s when you evaluate potential paths and decide where you want to be.

  • Exploration helps make good decisions despite an overabundance of choices today. It reduces anxiety, fear, and impatience.

  • In the Explorer phase, things feel slow. Time seems to expand when doing something new as the brain records new memories. Decision-making is taxing. Progress is often indiscernible at first, like the underground growth of a lily pad.

  • Understanding these dynamics helps persist through the Explorer phase rather than abandoning new paths too quickly when results aren’t instantly visible.

  • Trecroce took his time finding the right fit when looking for a new job. He explored different options over a lengthy period before settling on Four Seasons as the best match.

  • His first boss at Four Seasons, John Davison, gave him ample time to get to know the organization and people rather than pressuring immediate results. Trecroce spent 6 months building relationships before outlining a 5-year plan.

  • An early challenge was selecting HR software. Despite pressure for a legacy platform, Trecroce chose the newer Workday, believing it was the better long-term option. Taking the time to build trust enabled this transformative decision.

  • Trecroce advises newcomers not to rush - “Take your time, build relationships, and get to know people.” Early slowness can enable long-term success.

  • The key Explorer questions: Is the goal achievable? Can I test it easily? Is the initial pace sustainable? Answering these helps determine if a new learning curve is worth pursuing.

  • Small, laughably small steps make new behaviors easier to start and sustain. Go slowly at first to build habits that eventually become automatic.

  • Leadership that allows exploration and testing of new ideas is important for smart growth. Darrell Rigby was able to start an innovation consulting practice at Bain by pitching it as a short-term experiment.

  • It’s important to test assumptions rather than view them as facts. According to Rita McGrath, the root cause of new business failure is not testing assumptions. Low-commitment tests can help validate ideas before fully committing.

  • New learning curves should combine familiarity and novelty. Research shows that combining 85-95% familiar knowledge with 5-15% novel information leads to greater impact. Familiarity provides comfort while novelty stimulates growth.

  • Choose learning curves compatible with your identity. Pursuing areas too disconnected from your sense of self can trigger backlash from others invested in who you are now. Balance is needed between too aligned (not enough growth) and too divergent (too costly).

  • Victor Wooten’s identity is deeply rooted in music. While unexpected for a Grammy-winning bassist, writing a novel was an adjacent growth opportunity that fit his identity.

The key is finding the optimal balance of familiar and novel learning that aligns with, but still stretches, your sense of identity. This enables smart personal growth.

  • Wooten’s protagonists are three musicians battling an enemy trying to destroy all musical sound. Writing a novel aligned with Wooten’s identity as a musician.

  • We’d be surprised if Wooten suddenly explored computer programming, as it doesn’t align with his identity. He could pursue it but would need to prepare for the emotional, psychological, and social costs of such a significant identity shift.

  • Is the reward of being on a new S-curve worth the costs? Even if not initially, like Karen Carter at Dow Chemical, you may find a way to make the numbers add up.

  • Growth opportunities should align with your core values, not just what you think you ought to value. Excavate any “shadow values” that actually drive your choices but don’t align with your stated values.

  • Angela Blanchard’s work serving immigrants and displaced people is fully aligned with her top value of being a helper. Know your true values to pursue growth opportunities that are “true to who you want to be.”

  • Choosing which “S Curve of Learning” to pursue requires thoughtful exploration to determine if it aligns with your purpose and passions. Jumping into a new curve without proper due diligence can lead to costly mistakes.

  • The author provides a cautionary tale of investing in a friend’s magazine startup without doing enough research beforehand. This led to financial losses, strained relationships, and significant personal challenges.

  • Thorough exploration helps reduce risks and optimize opportunities when embarking on a new learning curve. It provides the information needed to determine if a particular path is right for you.

  • Sometimes you have to choose between potential “S Curves” if you can’t scale them simultaneously. The author faced this when both the thought leadership and investing curves showed promise. She ultimately chose thought leadership as her next climb.

  • Exploring your “why” - your deeper life purpose - aids decision-making about which curves to pursue. Understanding what motivates you helps ensure alignment with the learning you undertake.

  • Take time to carefully consider any new curve before fully committing. Exploration leads to smarter choices and greater likelihood of fulfilling growth on your ascent.

  • Mikaila Ulmer started a successful lemonade business at age 9 after learning about the importance of bees. She turned a negative experience (bee stings) into a positive outcome.

  • The “Collector” phase in the S Curve of Learning involves gathering data to evaluate if you should continue on the current S Curve or switch to something else.

  • It’s common to be hesitant to explore new S Curves as adults due to fear of failure. But having a “growth mindset” means believing you can continue learning and developing throughout life.

  • Carol Dweck’s research shows many people have a growth mindset until they hit obstacles, then revert to a “fixed mindset” where they think abilities are innate.

  • To cultivate a growth mindset, view challenges as opportunities to learn rather than signs you lack innate abilities. Develop a learning goal orientation rather than worrying about looking smart.

  • The Collector phase involves patience and persistence as you gather data to determine if you’re gaining momentum on the S Curve or need to switch paths. Slow progress is still progress.

Does this help summarize the key points from the passage? Let me know if you need any part of the summary expanded on.

Here are the key points from the text:

  • The collection phase is crucial to determine if you are on the right curve for you right now. Like 4-year-old Mikaila Ulmer did, collect basic information and add real-world experience to build your knowledge.

  • Children are natural S Curve learners because everything is unfamiliar and exists for them to discover. They can be impulsive though, so it’s important to honor the slow pace of the Collector phase and not rush ahead prematurely.

  • Collect like a child - be open, curious, collecting data, resources, support. Observe others who are further along the curve.

  • Growth can feel slow in the Collector phase, but momentum is building. Progress often happens quietly below the surface before rapidly surfacing, like learning to ride a bike.

  • Count the cost - be willing to invest the time and effort needed to scale a curve. Lasting achievements tend to overrun budgets.

  • Collect and curate resources to accelerate your curve, like Maria Merian did as a naturalist. Seize and utilize what you need.

  • Balance intuition with analysis. Collect data to confirm you’re on the right curve before going fast. Caution prepares you for speed.

Here is a summary of the key points about Mikaila Ulmer’s growth with the help of resources in her ecosystem:

  • At age 4, Mikaila Ulmer had the support and encouragement of her parents to start her business, without them taking over.

  • Her hometown provided resources like community events and a business-friendly school environment that enabled her entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Local businesses and community members, like her church and a pizza shop, were early customers and helped her get started.

  • Her little brother was a willing taste tester as she developed products.

  • The key resource for Ulmer was always the people around her. Like the lily pad proliferating thanks to plentiful resources in the pond, Ulmer had ample “carrying capacity” - the skills, encouragement, and market access provided by her “ecosystem.”

  • This demonstrates the openness and ability to utilize available resources that the Collector mindset enables. Ulmer curated the people and materials around her for growth, much as effective Collectors do.

  • You decide to plant a garden and start seeing opportunities to plant everywhere. An action board will prime your brain to collect more of what you need to make your garden grow.

  • Action boards visually reinforce your goals through images, priming your brain to notice and collect relevant resources. They can be large or small, physical or digital. Even one meaningful image consistently revisited can serve this purpose.

  • Children are often more open to feedback than adults. As we age, we tend to block feedback, seeing it as a threat. However, feedback is necessary for growth and mastery.

  • To benefit from feedback, take an emotionally detached view, recognizing it is not a judgment of your self-worth. Know that failures are not permanent. Thank those who provide feedback and follow up on how you used their input.

  • Collect positive feedback too. Note your strengths that others observe. Compliments signify you matter to someone who wants you to grow.

  • Persistently collect feedback even when reluctant at first. Use it to determine where you are on your learning curve. Then take action, whether by leveraging others’ expertise or putting in the work yourself. This leads to competence and influence.

  • Andrea Stelling has had a varied career at Alaska Airlines over 20+ years, gaining skills and experience in many different roles. This versatility enabled her to take on new challenges and fill gaps wherever needed.

  • Stelling started in IT and project management, then moved to airport services, aircraft maintenance, customer research, and finally strategy/analytics during the merger with Virgin America.

  • In each role, Stelling eagerly took on new responsibilities, learned quickly, and compiled knowledge about the airline’s operations. Her managers recognized she could “figure it out” and gave her latitude to define her contributions.

  • This “Collector” mindset of gathering diverse experiences across the company prepared Stelling to play a vital part in Alaska’s response to COVID-19. Her long tenure and understanding of the business from multiple angles allowed her to help transform strategy under crisis.

  • Stelling exemplifies persistently building a “mosaic” of the organization through varied lateral career moves. Her adaptability and willingness to try new things made her uniquely valuable when broad perspective was critical.

  • Eric Schurenberg had a childhood dream of becoming a pilot, inspired by his love of aviation and World War I fighter planes. As an adult, this dream “sputtered” until he finally pursued it by breaking it down into achievable steps and milestones. In 2020, he got his pilot’s license after considerable personal cost and effort.

  • Schurenberg struggled with how pursuing this dream aligned with his values of contributing to society. Ultimately he realized being true to himself was also important and once he achieved this skill he could use it for social good.

  • Marie-Louise Skafte, a Canadian attorney, also had a lifelong dream of becoming a pilot inspired by her father. As a minority woman, the odds were against her but she persisted, taking 4 years to get her commercial pilot’s license while working full-time.

  • Like Schurenberg, Skafte broke down the goal into achievable steps to make it happen, finding the right instructor and flight school that accommodated her schedule.

  • The author notes we all have childhood dreams others may have dismissed as implausible. We can choose to reconnect with the curiosity and hope that first birthed those dreams.

  • The launch phase of a new endeavor feels slow as progress is often imperceptible initially. Approaching new opportunities with childlike optimism allows us to evaluate if the path merits continued pursuit. Some endeavors are “puddle jumpers” to experiment with before moving on.

Here are a few key points to summarize:

  • People at the launch point need support from managers to grow into their roles. Provide training, resources, feedback and learning opportunities.

  • Set realistic expectations about the level of structure and process. More established organizations will have more support systems in place.

  • Don’t assume prior expertise means someone will quickly understand the new culture and context. Provide onboarding and transition support.

  • Collect data on where individuals are on their learning curve to assess fit and momentum.

  • Focus on process goals and consistent behaviors rather than just outcomes. Build identity through role clarity.

  • Invest in frequent, honest communication and feedback. Be concrete and specific.

  • Watch for identity mismatch that could hinder growth. Help team members engage in inner work to develop curiosity and resilience.

  • Practice gratitude and celebrate growth on your team.

  • Balance efficiency with influx of new perspectives. Let launch point individuals inject fresh thinking.

  • Leverage loyalty and enthusiasm from those you invest in on the launch point.

Does this help summarize the key points? Let me know if you need any part of the summary expanded on.

  • The sweet spot is the third phase in the S Curve of Learning, after the launch point and tipping point. In the sweet spot, you have collected the data and resources you need, committed to growth, and tipped into accelerated learning.

  • Your brain is continuously running predictive models, forming hypotheses and collecting data to test them. Learning occurs through the formation of new neural connections (synapses). Exceeding expectations generates dopamine, which rewards and reinforces learning.

  • In the sweet spot, your predictive models become increasingly accurate, generating frequent dopamine hits through positive surprises. This fuels rapid neural growth and accelerated learning.

  • The sweet spot feels exhilarating, as you successfully manage new challenges and conquer what used to be difficult. An example is Jeremy Andrus taking over as CEO of Traeger Grills, overhauling operations, and accelerating growth despite initially hostile company culture.

  • Like a rocket launch, the sweet spot is when growth really takes off after an initially slow and clumsy launch point. You have shed what held you back and can now accelerate rapidly upwards.

  • In the Acceleration stage of the S-Curve, we experience increasing productivity, competence, and confidence. Our skills have developed and we are motivated to continue growing.

  • The Acceleration stage is characterized by competence, autonomy, and relatedness (CAR):

  • Competence - We have the skills and abilities needed to take on challenges and continue learning. We know what we know and what we still need to learn.

  • Autonomy - We have the power to make choices and take ownership of our actions. Even when options seem limited, we can still choose our attitude and response.

  • Relatedness - We feel connected to others. We have a sense of belonging and importance within our community.

  • Leaders in the Acceleration phase, like Jeremy Andrus, face problems with confidence because of their accumulated competence. They know how to course correct because of prior experience.

  • Even when circumstances limit options, we can still find autonomy through our attitudes and willingness to act rather than be acted upon. We can move from “I have to” to “I choose to.”

  • Organizations also find autonomy through self-reliance, building their own capabilities rather than relying on others.

  • In the sweet spot of Acceleration, we feel motivated to continue growing, learning, and contributing.

Here is a summary of the key points about S Curve (autonomy), relatedness, and confidence:

  • Autonomy is the sense that you are in control of your own choices and destiny. It fuels confidence.

  • The S Curve of Learning model itself can increase confidence by mapping where you are in your growth journey (competence), putting you in charge of your growth (autonomy), and providing a shared language for growth (relatedness).

  • Relatedness is the recognition that we are interconnected and belong to each other. It requires shared identity and personal familiarity.

  • Team identity is key to human survival and acceleration. When we share identity and goals, we feel safely connected.

  • Conflict resolution requires protecting the dignity and worth of others by fostering relatedness through shared experiences and non-conflicting goals. This activates empathy and disarms conflict responses.

  • Competence + Autonomy + Relatedness = Confidence. When these three elements are present, confidence accelerates.

  • The beginnings and endings of growth cycles matter most. If you frame your S Curves correctly and manage the launch and mastery points, momentum through the sweet spot accelerates.

Here is a summary of the key points about metamorphosis in the sweet spot of the S-Curve:

  • The sweet spot is a period of metamorphosis, where your identity evolves from “I do this” to “I am this.” You are becoming something greater than you were before.

  • Metamorphs have gained competence and resources to utilize, but still have room to grow. An example is Michelle McKenna, who evolved the CIO role at the NFL.

  • At first, McKenna’s colleagues questioned why she was involved in high-level meetings. But she built a close team, gained autonomy, and rolled out new technology, proving her value.

  • The metamorphosis involves growing your impact, influence, and income. McKenna increased her team from 30 to over 200 people.

  • Key advice: Make conscious choices to develop yourself. Seek careers with upside potential and room to morph. Measure your metamorphosis in terms of your passion and purpose, not just title and compensation.

  • McKenna had transformed NFL operations over 8 years, but Covid-19 presented a huge new challenge: organizing the NFL draft virtually with only 6 weeks notice after it had been planned as a live event.

  • McKenna scrambled to collect input and make quick decisions on the new format. She determined they would hold a virtual draft, despite objections from stakeholders.

  • The virtual draft was extremely successful - over 8 million viewers tuned in and it was the least glitchy draft since being televised. It provided a welcome escape for many during lockdown.

  • The draft was McKenna’s biggest career challenge due to the short timeframe and high expectations, but also her most rewarding. It represented another transformation and growth curve for her.

  • The experience exemplifies the need for extreme focus when growing and changing quickly. McKenna stayed focused despite distractions and loneliness during lockdown.

  • We can focus by staying in the moment, not getting distracted, and concentrating on where we are and what we’re doing, like McKenna did in her new role directing the live broadcast. Meditation can help, but mindfulness - being present - is key.

Here are the key points from the summary:

  • Being fully present and aware can help propel our metamorphosis. Noticing new things in familiar surroundings keeps us engaged in the moment.

  • Emotional triggers rooted in past trauma can sabotage progress. Techniques like gratitude, mindfulness, and reframing can help defuse triggers.

  • Healthy eating, sleep, and exercise sharpen the mind and enable learning and growth. Even small improvements in diet and activity can compound over time.

  • Saying “no” strategically allows us to maintain focus on our priorities and transformation goals. Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of restraint and focus.

  • Over the course of our lives, we go through many cycles of change and metamorphosis. Each stage builds on the last, compounding our capabilities.

The main message is that being fully present, overcoming negative patterns, caring for our physical and mental health, and staying focused are key to completing the metamorphosis process and taking flight. Even small steps forward create momentum and enable ongoing growth and learning.

Here are the key takeaways about the Metamorph stage of the S Curve of Learning:

  • It is an exciting stage where everything is working, progress feels fast, and you experience exhilaration from the combination of challenge, productivity, and growth.

  • Your brain chemistry shifts from stress response to providing more dopamine rewards as your predictive model improves.

  • There is a shift in identity - the S Curve moves from something you do to increasingly becoming something you are.

  • This stage requires focus and concentration of energy. Momentum is strong but there is still room for growth.

  • The paradox is that since everything is going well, you may feel done or want to jump to a new S Curve, but this is the time to stay focused on the current curve.

  • You need to optimize tension - enough challenge to stay engaged but not so much you get overwhelmed.

  • Change can be hard even when you want to grow, so self-compassion is important.

  • The key is to leverage the momentum and identity shift to fully capture the opportunity for transformation in this Metamorph stage.

Here are some key ideas for managing people in the sweet spot of growth:

  • Help them stay focused and prioritize what matters most. Provide coaching on priorities.

  • Don’t take their strong performance for granted. Encourage them to see the next S-curve.

  • Retention is key - have career conversations to ensure their needs align with organizational needs.

  • In young organizations, underscore their value and show how they are part of the vision.

  • In established organizations, ensure viable growth paths are identified amidst process obstacles.

  • Stretch assignments, both individual and collective, can drive continued acceleration.

  • Give plenty of positive feedback on concrete wins to balance growth-oriented feedback.

  • Track progress in a way aligned with how you want to develop your people. See them and help them see their own growth.

The key is to keep your high performers focused, engaged and supported so they can maximize their time in the growth sweet spot.

Here are a few key takeaways from Erik Orton’s story:

  • Orton was initially just “treading water” in his career as a theater producer, so he decided to pursue a new challenge outside of work by learning to sail. This represents starting a new S Curve of Learning.

  • Orton and his family slowly built up their skills over 5 years of lessons and practice before embarking on their ambitious Atlantic voyage. This demonstrates the patience and persistence required to reach mastery on an S Curve.

  • The Ortons faced a “steep learning curve” when they first set sail, but they anchored in place to address their gaps in knowledge and skills. This shows the importance of recognizing where you still need to improve even after extensive practice.

  • Reaching New York City after sailing 2,000 nautical miles from the Caribbean represents achieving mastery of sailing through hands-on experience. Orton reached the top of his S Curve.

  • Pursuing growth and learning outside of one’s career, as Orton did with sailing, can provide fulfillment and serve as a model when facing new S Curves at work.

  • Orton’s story illustrates the satisfaction of persevering up an S Curve to mastery, whether at work or in life. Reaching the anchoring phase takes time, effort and patience, but mastery brings deep reward.

  • The Orton family learned to work together and overcome challenges while sailing around the world for a year. Though it wasn’t always easy, they grew as individuals and as a family.

  • They reached the “Anchor” phase after completing their journey, feeling a sense of achievement and trusting in their new skills and abilities.

  • Reaching the Anchor phase is a cause for celebration and reflection before taking on the next challenge. The Ortons celebrated how far they had come.

  • Even small achievements can be celebrated to help anchor new habits and skills. Progress and willingness to fail are victories worth celebrating.

  • Glen Nelson started an arts center to help LDS artists after overcoming his fear of sketching as an amateur. Celebrating small steps helps motivate growth through an S Curve.

  • Elson, a musician, was looking for music that reflected her faith tradition but couldn’t find any. This led Nelson to realize there was a need for an ecosystem to support artists of their faith and preserve and celebrate their cultural expression.

  • Nelson and his colleagues worked for two decades promoting works by artists of their faith. In 2021, they opened their first private gallery near Juilliard and the Met Opera.

  • The pandemic delayed their plans in 2020. Nelson used this time to try drawing, something he had always wanted to do but lacked confidence in. He worked through the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain workbook, journaling his progress. In a short time he went from feeling like he couldn’t draw at all to feeling like a real artist.

  • Small anchorings like this, where we commemorate crossing from the old to the new, add up to major growth over time. Celebrating achievements, even modest ones, helps us internalize the meaning of our effort.

  • Anchoring has an element of bittersweetness - satisfaction at the achievement but some sorrow that the journey is over. Allowing this complexity enriches the moment.

Here are the key points for the Mountaineer phase:

  • The Mountaineer phase is about scaling new heights after reaching mastery on the previous S Curve. It requires courage and determination as you embark on a new learning journey.

  • Climbing a mountain is an apt metaphor. It involves planning, training, gathering supplies, pacing yourself, and dealing with adversity. Reaching the summit is thrilling but usually means you’re only halfway done.

  • This phase can feel daunting as your brain must create new neural pathways. Take small steps, draw on your experience, and leverage partnerships. Stay focused on growth, not validation.

  • Mindset is key. Maintain beginner’s mind, cultivate grit, and remember that setbacks are inevitable. View them as data points, not failings.

  • At higher elevations, the climb gets harder. But each step builds capability, confidence, and mental models. With each S Curve we master, subsequent climbs become more attainable.

  • The thrill of reaching new heights and expanding your potential makes the Mountaineer phase worthwhile. The view from the summit reveals new possibilities.

In summary, the Mountaineer phase requires courage, resilience, and focus as you start the upward climb of a new S Curve, building on your prior mastery. Small steps accumulate into substantial growth. With each curve climbed, you gain confidence and capability to scale greater heights.

  • Feyzi Fatehi is a software engineer who became a pioneer in real-time database systems. He constantly challenged himself to learn new things and take on new roles, even when it meant giving up comfort and security.

  • As “Mountaineers”, Fatehi and others seek to reach the mastery stage on an S-curve of learning, celebrate the achievement, then find a new challenge and begin climbing a new learning curve. Stagnation is dangerous.

  • Neuroscientist Tara Swart excelled in her medical career but eventually found it unfulfilling as she was no longer growing. This led her to leave and find new mountains to climb.

  • Tech executive Shellye Archambeau provides an example of someone who climbed multiple learning curves over her career to eventually reach her goal of becoming a CEO. Each role was a new mountain bringing new challenges.

  • The “death zone” metaphor conveys that stopping learning and growth for too long is like staying too long at high altitudes where the body starts to die from lack of oxygen. People need challenges and growth to thrive.

The key message is that we must keep seeking new learning curves and challenges to grow, even when it means leaving comfort zones. Stagnation leads to decline, so we should celebrate achieving mastery then embark on a new “mountain” just as ambitious Mountaineers do.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Even though reaching the peak of an S curve can feel rewarding, staying there leads to stagnation and boredom. We need to continually seek out new challenges and learning opportunities.

  • Reaching new heights often requires descending from one peak to start climbing another curve. Successful people repeatedly move from one growth curve to the next.

  • Getting pushed off a curve unexpectedly can be painful but also liberating. It may open up unexpected new paths forward.

  • Key influencers like spouses can help provide perspective when we experience an unplanned setback. Their encouragement can motivate us to see new possibilities.

  • Being open to different kinds of work, including “regular jobs,” can lead to personal growth and satisfaction. We shouldn’t assume one type of work makes someone inherently “better.”

The main message is that continuous growth requires courage and flexibility to move between S curves, even when it’s difficult. Stagnation is the real danger, not unexpected changes. With an open mindset, setbacks can become springboards.

  • Mike Rowe argues that many lucrative and rewarding jobs go unfilled while students rack up debt pursuing impractical degrees. On the S Curve, professional and vocational achievement are on a continuum.

  • Like mountain climbers, unexpected events can knock us off our S Curve climbs before we reach the pinnacle. But resilience is often accumulated along the journey.

  • Feyzi Fatehi’s dream of being a solar engineer was disrupted, forcing him to take odd jobs until finding a new path in computer science. Setbacks can open new opportunities.

  • Andreas Goeldi realized his passion was starting companies, not running mature ones. He stepped down as CEO to become CTO and start over. Choosing when to descend can enable greater fulfillment.

  • Astrid Tuminez was fired from a Wall Street job, which helped her overcome a fear of failure. Smart growth means humbly accepting setbacks and seeking new curves.

  • The key is being the guide on your own smart growth journey, choosing mountains that are meaningful to you, not societal ideals of prestige. What matters is completing the full climb cycle.

Here are some tips for managing people at the Mastery stage of development:

  • Recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. Publicly acknowledge their expertise and how far they’ve come. This validates their growth.

  • Provide opportunities to teach and mentor others. Let them share their knowledge and experience. This allows them to find meaning and purpose.

  • Challenge them with complex problems and projects. Boredom is a risk, so give them stimulating work that leverages their capabilities.

  • Discuss next steps in their career path. Have development conversations about what they want to learn next. Support their continued growth.

  • Watch for signs of stagnation or complacency. If their learning and development stalls, intervene with coaching.

  • Expand their influence. Give them opportunities to take on more responsibility and lead bigger initiatives.

  • Offer lateral moves into new roles. This exposes them to new challenges when they’ve maximized vertical opportunities.

  • Connect them with networks beyond their team. Introduce them to senior leaders and experts to broaden perspectives.

  • Check that they still feel valued. Recognize not just what they do, but who they are. Affirm their importance to the organization.

The key is keeping them engaged, growing, and appreciated for the experts they’ve become. With the right support, mastery can be sustained over the long-term.

  • People in mastery need challenges to stay engaged. Boredom is a risk. Provide new projects, lateral moves, or ways to expand their influence.

  • Tailor your approach based on career stage and organization type. Early career may need more lateral moves. Midcareer needs self-advocacy. Experts need to know they are valued.

  • Celebrate milestones. Set ego aside if someone seeks new opportunities. Encourage external expeditions if needed.

  • Limit mastery stage to <20% for growth. Use insights to have career conversations. Leverage their expertise through collaboration. Create S Curve loops to reengage. Small shifts can reinvigorate a mastery-heavy team.

Here are a few key points about ecosystems enabling growth:

  • No one grows alone - we all depend on an ecosystem of people, resources, and opportunities. A healthy ecosystem enables virtuous cycles where all participants grow together.

  • Florence Knoll Bassett benefited from supportive figures like the Saarinen family who nurtured her talents and opened doors. Finding mentors and allies creates a fertile environment for growth.

  • Choosing the right work and life partners is crucial. Hans Knoll recognized Florence’s brilliance and gave her space to lead. The right collaborators help us thrive.

  • We must contribute to the health of our ecosystem too, not just take from it. Look for ways to lift up others, share opportunities, and build communal success.

  • Toxic elements like self-centered actors can poison an ecosystem. Seek out and nourish the virtuous cycles where all benefit.

  • Our growth depends on the health of our whole ecosystem. Be mindful of nurturing the relationships, resources, and environment that allow you and others to flourish.

  • Florence Knoll and her husband Hans were a dynamic partnership that created the innovative Knoll Planning Unit (KPU). KPU pioneered a holistic design approach that integrated all aspects of a building’s design.

  • After Hans died in a car accident in 1955, Florence took over as president of the company until she sold it in 1960. She was a leading figure in industrial design.

  • The people we need change at different stages of our S Curve journey. At the launch point, we need teachers and mentors. In the sweet spot, we need focus and autonomy. At mastery, we need celebration and a nudge to the next challenge.

  • Teachers, parents, coaches, managers etc. can be ‘smart growth leaders’ who create ecosystems for people to thrive in. They provide encouragement, training, focus and celebration at the right moments.

  • Smart growth leaders recognize potential in people and give them the trust and push needed to grow. Like Florence’s husband Hans did for her.

  • The person behind your S Curve journey may be a teacher, parent, spouse etc. who guided you at a key moment. Their belief in you can change your trajectory.

  • Harry Kraemer, a junior analyst at Baxter International, questioned the company’s $100 million acquisition offer after his boss Jerry told him it was finalized.

  • Kraemer approached CEO Vernon Loucks directly at the company cafeteria to discuss his reservations, arguing the company was worth only $50 million.

  • Loucks was intrigued and asked Kraemer to meet with him and Jerry to discuss it further. After their meeting, Baxter revised its offer downwards.

  • Loucks praised Kraemer for challenging his superiors and asserting his own judgment, wanting to foster an ecosystem where employees weren’t shut down and information wasn’t overlooked.

  • The anecdote illustrates how contributing valuable information and questioning leaders, whatever one’s role, helps create a virtuous growth cycle.

  • Just as the Idaho sockeye salmon contribute nutrients even in death to help future generations thrive, we must contribute to the growth of others to create a healthy ecosystem, not just take resources for ourselves.

  • We are responsible for our own decisions but achieve little alone - we must be keystone species that enable others’ growth, not poison the ecosystem.

Here are the key takeaways from the ecosystem chapter:

  • The S Curve of learning sits within an ecosystem of relationships and resources that support growth. We cannot grow in isolation.

  • Actively cultivate long-term relationships that provide the support you need at each stage of the S Curve - launching, climbing, and mastery.

  • Consider the role you play in others’ ecosystems. Be a “keystone species” that enables the growth of those around you. Generously contribute resources like time, patience, and support.

  • Balance what you take from your ecosystem with what you give back. Your greatest legacy will be how you helped others grow.

  • See yourself as a creator of friendly environments, not a critic of people. Shape an ecosystem that brings out the best in others.

  • Keep growing your ecosystem over time as your needs change. Surround yourself with people who nudge you up to higher S Curves rather than pulling you back.

The takeaway is that we grow interdependently within an ecosystem. Be mindful of what you take, what you give, and how you can enrich the environment for collective growth.

Here are a few key points I took away from the summary:

  • Growing yourself, your people, and your company is interconnected. As a leader, you need to nurture individual growth to maximize team productivity.

  • Conduct a “culture audit” along four dimensions - conducive, connected, resilient, and nurturing - to assess the health of your team’s ecosystem. This involves evaluating if your team has the resources, relationships, and support needed to thrive.

  • When setbacks happen, reframe them as opportunities to learn rather than failures. Celebrate resilience and have open discussions about what worked and what didn’t.

  • Make people your priority - focus days on developing your team members rather than just tasks. Show you care about their growth curves.

  • Believe in continuous human growth, like a growth stock. With the right environment, mindset and effort, our capacity to grow is unlimited.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • The passage begins by introducing a friend, Mr. Blah, who we met earlier.

  • It then shifts to discussing human growth, which follows the S Curve of Learning model with three stages: the slow launch point, the rapid sweet spot, and the waning mastery stage.

  • This S Curve applies to individual skills as well as the overall human lifespan. We go through many mini-S Curve cycles as we learn new skills throughout our lives.

  • Life itself is like an ocean, made up of infinite smaller waves and learning curves. We should try to pick and ride the most impactful waves during our lifetime.

  • The passage ends by reiterating that life is waves within waves within waves, and we should aim to direct our own growth and help others do the same.

Here is a summary of the key points from the excerpt:

  • Growth depends on identifying and entering new learning curves or S-curves. As we reach the top of one curve, we must transition to the next to continue growing.

  • Three factors accelerate growth at the launch point of a new S-curve: Compelling Vision, Autonomy, and Relatedness.

  • A compelling vision provides purpose and direction. It energizes people and helps them persevere through difficulty.

  • Autonomy satisfies the human need for self-determination and choice. It breeds engagement and ownership. Leaders should guide with loose reins.

  • Relatedness fulfills the need to belong. Social connections motivate us. Leaders should foster collaborative community and mutual understanding.

  • Accelerating growth requires zooming out to discern the broader landscape and zooming in to focus intently. It means alternating between divergent and convergent thinking.

  • Small wins build momentum. Progress compounds over time. Quick bursts of acceleration have an outsized impact, like interest on interest.

  • Launch points are fragile. Accelerators help new endeavors gain traction and speed despite uncertainty at the outset of a new learning curve.

Here is a summary of the key points from Chapters 4-6 in Build an S-Curve: How to Make Your Strategy Sizzle:

Chapter 4: Metamorph

  • Change and disruption can be challenging, but viewing them as opportunities for growth is empowering.Michelle McKenna, chief digital officer for the NFL, shares how she led her team through disruptive change during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • To adapt, we must shift our mindset and develop new skills. Neuroplasticity shows our brains can continue to learn and change. Strategies include getting enough sleep, exercising, and finding flow experiences.

  • There is an optimal zone of productive stress between boredom and anxiety. Reframing stress as excitement can improve performance. Partnering with others also enables growth through challenge.

Chapter 5: Anchor

  • Anchors provide stability amidst change. The Orton family created anchors like traditions and ceremonies to stay grounded while sailing around the world.

  • Anchors connect us to purpose and community. They remind us of who we are and what matters most, which builds resilience.

  • Personal history and cultural heritage serve as anchors. The immigrant experience of disruption invites lessons on adapting to the growth curve.

Chapter 6: Mountaineer

  • Scaling an S Curve requires persistence, grit, and learning from failure. Mountaineering is a fitting metaphor for overcoming obstacles on the growth journey.

  • A growth mindset believing abilities can be developed opens us to new possibilities. Neuroplasticity shows we can always expand our capabilities.

  • Social support provides safety ropes for risk-taking. But independence helps build the judgment to know when to seek advice.

  • Reaching new heights requires leaving comfort zones. Disruption is inevitable - we can choose to frame it as opportunity.

Being Light, 104–105

CEO: Finding Flow, 111–112

Board: Hard on Vision, Soft on People, 117

CFO: In Pain Don’t Gain, 112–113

Tech: Dialing Goldilocks, 113–114

The Talent: Play It Again, 114–115

For COO: Follow Your No’s, 115–116

The Astronaut: The Overview Effect, 117–118

Artist: A Messy Desk, An Ordered Mind, 118–119

Chair: Listen So Others Will Speak, 119–120

Nurse: Civility Cure, 120–122

Ref: The Power of Progress, 122–123

Cathy family, 73–74

Cathy, Truett, 73–74

celebration, 133–134

Center at Mariandale, 33–35

certainty, 95–97

Chappelle, Dave, 40–41

childlike attitude, 55

Churchill, Winston, 189

Cialdini, Robert, 49, 50

Citrin, James, 139, 140

climbing solo, thinking like when, 13

The Cliff Walk (Snyder), 139

climbing solo, thinking like when, 13

collections, creating meaningful, 69–71

command-control structure, 36–37

commitment stage, 14–16

comparison of self to others, 47, 118–119

competence, 88–89

complexity, delighting in, 27–29, 66–68


building, 46–57

in oneself, 94–96

in others, 96–97

confidence gaps

about failure, 132

delegation and, 103


embracing, 37–39

fluid, 24–26

sticking points and, 121–122

consultative structure, 37

contagiousness, 88

control, letting go of the illusion of, 156–157

cooperation, 88

Cooperrider, David, 28

correction, 25

COSI (Center of Science and Industry), 28, 148, 157

courtesies and civility, 120–122

Covington, Russ, 148–149

creative action boards, 58–59


fear and, 23, 24

optimal stress and, 110

safe spaces for, 119

credibility, 73–75

Cuddy, Amy, 46

cultural fit, assessing, 42–44

Dame, Andy, 197–198

Davidson, Richard, 109

de Bono, Edward, 63, 64

debriefs, 137, 140

Deeds, 192–196

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), 184


confidence and, 103

of projects and roles, 102–104

development plans

assumptions in, 31

creating, 30–31

finishing old projects and, 29–30

DHL, 160–161

Diageo, 72–73


clarity of, 68–69

committing to a, 41

doubt about, 14–16

Di Resta, Laura, 57

disappointment, grieving, 140

Disney, Walt, 41

Disrupt Yourself podcast, 201

Ditch the Checklist; Embrace the S Curve, 75–77

Diversify Your Inputs; Avoid Neural Rigidity, 104–105

diversity, 37, 51, 70

D Khan, Abid, 193–194

do, vs. be verbs, 49–53

Dodge, Ralph, 63–64

Don’t Spiral Too Tightly; Take Wider Turns, 105–107

Doolittle, Jimmy, 116

doubt, 14–15

downsizing of self, 32, 35


in learning, 87

of success, 10–11

Dweck, Carol, 49–50, 135

Dyer, Wayne, 135–136

earnings, 157

Ebb and Flow; Practice Mental Hygiene, 108–111

Ebert, Roger, 137

Edison, Thomas, 54


downsizing of, 32

pride and, 47

regression and, 151

Elkind, David, 55

Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 162

emotions, 154–158

empathetic understanding, 119–120

employee experience officers (EXOs), 27–28

encoder rings, 71

energy, 34, 154–158

English, Bridgette, 143–144

enthusiasm, 16


for innovation, 183–184

optimal, 99

equality, 51, 70

errors, 136–137

ethics, 197

Evanovich, Janet, 54

Evans, Aicha, 179

Evslin, Tom, 186

exercise, 111

expectations, managing, 101–103

expeditions, 69–70

experience, 70

failing forward, 134–138, 182, 186–187


confidence gaps about, 132

emotions related to, 154–155

giving it its due, 138

willingness to, 134–138

Falklands War, 58

familiarity and novelty, 31–33

Fanning, Shawn, 186

Farr, Christina, 140–141

Fearless Organization, The (Farr), 140

fear of loss, 59–60

feedback, 59–60

Fenn, Forrest, 65, 67–68, 69–70

Fenty Beauty, 33

financial independence, 157–158

Find a Barbarian, 196–201

Find Yourself; Lose Yourself, 31–35

first follower, second follower phenomenon, 197–198

5 Choices (Kraemer), 36–37

5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers (Citrin), 139

Fixate Less; Fascinate More, 62–65

fluid constraints, 24–26


on being vs. doing, 49–53

delegation and, 102–104

staying present and, 106–107

follow the follower, 198–201

Forge Healthy Alliances; Bring Out the Best in Each Other, 88–92

Franck, Frederick, 116

Franzese, Michael, 44–46, 48, 71

freedom and responsibility, 185

Freud, Sigmund, 175

Frick, Larry, 101–102

Frisby, David, 87

Fritz, Robert, 148

Gates, Bill, 60, 61

General Electric (GE), 9–13, 181–183

generalists, 11

The Genius of Opposites (de Bono), 63

gentleness, 95–97

Get Back Up; Don’t Take It Personally, 154–158

getting vs. being, 32

Gilbert, Daniel, 40

Give Failure Its Due; Make Piece with Imperfection, 138–144


achievability and, 26–28

breaking down, 26

clarity of, 68–69

in growth plans, 69

progress toward, 122–124

for self-development, 41

Goffman, Erving, 51

Goldilocks choices, 113–115

golf, 5

Google, 184

gratitude, 140–141

grief, 140–141

grit, 50, 132

growth plans

aspirations and, 13

for continuous growth, 69

development plans and, 30–31

expeditions and collections in, 69–71

setting inspiring goals in, 68–69

starting vs. finishing and, 29–30

Growth Rings; Run Your Own Race, 46–49

guides, visual, 69

gurus, 136

habits, cultivating supportive, 109

Hamel, Gary, 175

Happier (Ben-Shahar), 95

happiness, 95, 179

Harari, Yuval Noah, 147

Hargadon, Andrew, 183

health, mental and physical, 108–112

Hein, Bettina, 158–159

hellos and goodbyes, courteous, 120–121

helpfulness, 88

Hewlett Packard, 63–64

hierarchy of needs, 179

Holiday, Ryan, 54–55

hope, 42

How of Happiness, The (Lyubomirsky), 95

humility, 32, 117–119, 182

Hurricane Katrina, 37–38

Hwang, Jason, 101

hyperfocus, 106–107

Iacocca, Lee, 63

IBM, 10

IDEO, 183

Immelt, Jeffrey, 181–182

Imperial College Business School, 30

imposter syndrome, 135

improvement, striving for, 50

incentives, 97

income, 157

incremental progress, 122–124

indecisiveness, 14–15

individuality, cultivating, 91–92

industriousness, 88

information gathering, 13–14

Infosys, 162

initiative, taking vs. waiting, 40–44


cultivating environment for, 183–184

through subtraction, 62–65

inputs to the brain, diversifying, 104–105

insecurity, 59–60

insight, moments of, 33

inspiration, 74

Instagram, 184

intention, 41, 68–69

interests, following your, 41

interpersonal bridges, building, 88–92

intrinsic rewards, 89

introspection, 32–33, 56

intuition, 13–14, 41

inversion technique, 64

investing in others, 96–97

iPod, 2–3

IQ, 84

jazz musicians, 115–116

Jobs, Steve, 2–3, 60, 61

John, Elton, 34

Johnson & Johnson Credo, 120–122

Jong-Fast, Molly, 54–55

Jordan, Michael, 132

journaling, 56–57

judgment, suspending, 119–120

Jung, Andrea, 158–159

Kahneman, Daniel, 84

Kanter, Rosabeth Moss, 183

Kaplan, Robert, 113–114

Kellaris, James, 32

Kennedy, Dan, 148–149

Kierkegaard, Søren, 135

Knoll, Florence, 174–178, 179, 181, 189

Knoll, Hans, 175–176

knowledge, confidence and, 94

Korn Ferry Institute, 11

Kraemer, Harry, 36–37

Krzyzewski, Mike “Coach K,” 132


cultivating environment for, 183–184

through subtraction, 62–64

lean methodologies, 30

Lear, Norman, 34


asking better questions and, 119

continuous, 5, 6

embracing failure and, 138

learning (continued)

from below, 117–119

motivation and, 86–87

by observing, 115–117

plateaus in, 84–87

testing assumptions and, 31

letting go, 156–159

liftoff, 87

likeability, 51

Lincoln, Abraham, 115

Lindbergh, Charles, 116

listening, 119–120

little bets, 25

lodestar, 17

Lopez, Nancy, 33

losing self to find self, 31–35

loss, fear of, 59–60

love, 190–191

Lovett, Lyle, 34

loyalty, 121

Lurie, Jeff, 143–144

Lyubomirsky, Sonja, 95

MacArthur, Ellen, 159

MacKenzie Scott, 159

mania, 150

Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl), 116

marshmallow test, 85

Masterson, Laura, 143–144

Masters Tournament, 5

mastery, striving for, 49–50

Mauborgne, Renée, 64

McDonald’s, 41–44


in collections, 69–70

through subtraction, 62–65

medicine, 168–169

Meet People Where They Are; Make Sure the Status Is Quo, 101–103

mental health, 108–111

mental hygiene, 108–111, 107


for career transitions, 11

job requirements and, 97

modeling success for others, 116–117

Mercedes-Benz, 160–161

Michelangelo, 118

Microsoft, 10

mindfulness, 107–108


acceptance of, 136–137

as learning experiences, 135

Mitchum, Robert, 41

Model the Way You Want Others to Be, 115–117

Modigliani, Amedeo, 175

momentum, 123–124

monotasking, 106–107

Moore, Geoffrey, 5

morale, 122


engagement and, 88–89

internal vs. external, 89–90

through progress, 122–124

Movement Mortgage, 34

Munger, Charlie, 84

Musk, Elon, 41

Mysonne, Linwood “Roc,” 194–195

Name Your Fears; Shrink Their Power, 56–62

naming emotions, 155

National College, 12

National Football League (NFL), 148–149

natural environment, connecting with, 109

Naval Ravikant, 193


hierarchy of, 179

meeting people’s core, 101–103

negative self-talk, replacing, 48, 58

neural networks, growth of new, 25

neural rigidity, avoidance of, 104–105

neuroplasticity, 84, 85

New Orleans Pelicans, 143–144

Newton Minow Associates, 183

Nikoletseas, Michael, 85

9/11 attacks, 98

Nin, Anaïs, 135

NKI (Nederlands Kanker Instituut), 92–93

Nokia, 2–3, 10

novelty and familiarity, 31–33

Nowak, Martin, 190

nurse leadership example, 120–122

nutrition, 111

Oakley, Barbara, 135

objectivity, 117–118

observation, learning through, 115–117

Ochsner Health, 143–144

Ono, Yoko, 34

openness to possibilities, 41

Open Table, 184

opportunity, seizing, 41

optimal challenge point, 113–115

Osofsky, Justin, 184

outcomes, detaching from, 157


role of, 193–194

symbiosis with, 196–201

outsourcing, 103

overview effect, 117–118

OWN IT: Responsibility Is the New Smart (Archambeau), 148–149

parenting, 89–90

passion, following, 41

patience, cultivating, 107

PayPal Mafia, 60

Peloton Interactive, 33


feedback and, 59–60

of others, 51

of reality, 117–119

Performance Frontiers, 95–97

perseverance, 50, 132

personal lives, disconnect from work, 12

personal reinvention, 41

personality assessments, 43

perspective shifts, 117–119, 141

Peters, Tom, 41

physical needs, 111

Picasso, Pablo, 175

Pierpont Morgan Library, 175

Pinterest, 15

Pixar, 183


of competence, 84–87

in learning, 84–87

Podolny, Joel, 184

politics, shared, 37

portable skills, 12


for growth, 124

recognizing, 133

practical intelligence, 84

praise, contingency-based, 89

preconceptions, shedding limiting, 31–32

present moment, staying in, 106–107


optimal, 113–115

removing, 91

Priceline, 92–93

pride, 47, 117

priorities, clarifying, 34–35

process, focusing on, 50

Procter & Gamble (P&G), 133


celebrating small wins of, 133–134

incremental, 122–124

motivation through, 122–124

promotions, unreadiness for, 11–12

psychological safety, 92–95

public speaking example, 46–49

purpose, sense of, 116, 117

pushback, constructive, 37

questions, reframing, 28

quieting external noise, 56–57

Quindlen, Anna, 147

Quit Social Comparison; Run Your Own Race, 46–49

rationality, 117

R.C. Bigel

Here are the key points about smart growth and the S Curve model:

  • Growth is our default setting and choosing growth leads to advantage. But growth needs to be smart and paced.

  • The S Curve illustrates the stages of growth, with slow growth at the beginning, rapid acceleration in the middle, and a levelling off at the end.

  • Knowing which stage of the curve you are in allows you to maximize opportunities and manage challenges.

  • There are 5 key phases of the S Curve:

  1. Collector - Auditing yourself, curating dreams, finding your identity

  2. Explorer - Assessing opportunities, balancing novelty and familiarity

  3. Accelerator - Building skills and confidence

  4. Mountaineer - Reaching the summit and finding the next mountain

  5. Anchor - Transitioning to a new S Curve through service and celebration

  • At each stage, different mindsets and strategies are required to optimize growth.

  • Surrounding yourself with the right people, environment and habits enables ongoing growth across multiple S Curves over a lifetime.

The S Curve provides a model for pacing and maximizing personal and organizational growth through the different stages of progress and change. Knowing your place on the curve allows you to navigate challenges and make the most of opportunities.

Here is a summary of key points from pages 42-43 and 73:

  • Power of relationships (p. 42-43): Forming deep connections and relationships with others is critical for navigating the Explorer phase and making progress on your S-curve. Relationships provide support, accountability, and resources.

  • Predictive modeling (p. 73): Using data and analytics to forecast future outcomes can be a useful tool, but has limitations. Predictive models may fail to account for unexpected events or human behavior. Avoid overreliance on predictive modeling.

  • Premature cognitive commitment (p. 42-43): Jumping to conclusions or making major commitments too early in the Explorer phase can limit your options. Remain open and gather more data before making definitive choices.

  • Professional development (p. 73): Investing time and resources into developing your skills and capabilities is key, especially as you approach the Launch Point. Identify skill gaps and seek out training and coaching.

In summary, nurturing relationships, avoiding premature commitments, using predictive modeling carefully, and pursuing professional development are highlighted as important strategies in these pages. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions!

Here are the key points I gathered from the author’s acknowledgments:

  • Whitney Johnson thanks Amy Cuddy for connecting her with Simon & Schuster and for providing valuable feedback on the book. She admires Amy’s brilliant and strategic mind.

  • She thanks her husband Roger for creating an environment where people, especially her, can grow.

  • She thanks her children David and Miranda for being on this journey with her.

  • She expresses gratitude to God.

Overall, the acknowledgments convey appreciation to those who supported Whitney in writing this book and developing the ideas within it. She is especially grateful to Amy Cuddy for her input and strategic guidance. Whitney also acknowledges the role her family played in enabling her growth and journey in writing this book.

Author Photo

About Matheus Puppe