Richard Maun – Growing Up Or Growing Down?

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Growing Up Or Growing Down?

26 January 2020

It’s interesting to me that once we reach the age of 21 in the UK we are considered all grown up. I’m not sure why 21 is so special. When it happened to me I was still getting the hang of being 18!

A part of me wanted to shout…

‘Hey there world! Slow down a bit please! Being 18 feels like last week and now I’m 21 I’m supposed to be all confident and mature and I’m really not …give me time to adjust a bit pleeeaaase!’

However, time marches on and we are left to make sense of who we are, often without any external support. My chemistry O-level was no use. Ditto German. Especially ditto physics (still a mystery how I passed that one, I’m convinced that my neat handwriting got me over the line).

Our formal education comes to an abrupt halt right at the time when we are thrown into the world as adults and left to get on with it.

Who decided on that?!

If we are lucky then we will have savvy friends, a loving life partner and grounded parents to guide us. Of course, that’s if we bother to listen to them.

It’s too easy to assume that parents know nothing and that we have nothing to learn.

In my experience as a business coach it seems that many people simply take their 21st year and repeat it ad infinitum. Not everyone does of course, some people do a fine job of reflecting on their mistakes and learning from them.

It is the job of all of us to grow up again.

This may sound patronising at first, until we realise that, often, none of our adult life was catered for at school. Except perhaps catering.

Being in business is like diving into a fast flowing river and realising that our school swimming lessons don’t really cut it.

For sure, we all learned to tread water in our pyjamas, but that’s not so helpful when, to extend my metaphor, we are swimming about now in a business suit and carrying a laptop.

Our business success is dependent on how we conduct ourselves and that’s contingent upon acting as a grown up.

Rational. Humble. Thoughtful. And with a learning mindset.

We need to make rational decisions and not dive in and follow our heart.

We need to be humble enough to learn from others, own our mistakes, say sorry with sincerity and remember that plenty of other people are smarter than we are and a great source of inspiration to us.

We need to be thoughtful by asking good questions, allowing time for reflection and by researching options.

Options protect us from the dangerous business syllogism that runs:

I must do something / this is something / I must do this.

No! Do nothing. Research. Wait. Think. Review. Make a calculated decision.

And we need to be open to new learning. All the time. Every day.

Here’s a pinch point to test whether we are growing up, or growing down:

Q. Do you turn up to work on time, every day?

Being on time recognises that we are in a formal contract, that this is an adult world and that we are being paid.

Being late, even if only by a couple of minutes, shows our contempt for our contract and our colleagues. If we were paid late we’d soon get cross, so why are we surprised when people criticise us for our time keeping?

This week we can all take an honest look at our behaviour. Are we growing up, or are we growing down?

If it’s the latter, what truth do we need to recognise? What are we going to do about it?


Or sigh, admit we need some support and then go and get it?

The choice is ours. However, if we’re in business we need to continually make good choices in order to survive.

Happy growing up again!

Next week: Three Cool Books!


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact