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Achieving personal growth

Anton Ng

Achieving personal growth

“Roar” by Katy Perry was the piano piece that my then six-year-old daughter practiced for her recital. On recital day, she was begging me and her mom that we skip the recital altogether. Until now, I still feel the anguish she had that day. I still hear her cries for understanding. I still see the fear on her face. She was fearful of performing in front of people. She was afraid of failure. She was frightened of making a fool out of herself.

A few months before that day, we encouraged her to take up piano lessons. Apart from learning how to play the keyboard, my wife and I hoped our daughter would gain more confidence and overcome her shyness. We thought that encouraging her to take up piano lessons culminating in a recital would help her become more fearless. The result? A lot of tears and heartaches hours before the recital.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that we should be mindful of our growth. Not minding our growth is essentially a disservice to ourselves because in a sense, we are the ones hindering ourselves to reach our maximum potential.

I also discussed about funding our growth. One should not only be mindful of one’s growth. He should also make a commitment to fund self-growth. Funding is not only about allocating financial resources. It also means investing time, mind space, and motivation to fuel development.

There’s also the need to form a roadmap towards personal growth. It’s actually a list of skills and competencies one needs to acquire to hit professional growth objectives.

The ease in creating a development plan depends on one’s awareness on the skills and competencies that he has and those he doesn’t possess. It also relies on the knowledge to identify skills and competencies needed to reach career targets.

Some said one should create a development plan before committing to fund his growth. It should be the other way around. Creating a development plan without a commitment to fund growth will be an exercise of futility. Commit to pursue growth before crafting the development plan. This way, while crafting the growth plan, one can already determine if it’s in line with the established vow.

Many are very good in making a ‘to-do list’ but they fail to accomplish it. Apart from not establishing first the commitment to fund growth, they also forget who they need to become which is required for a development plan.

There’s a reason why New Year resolutions are not achieved. It’s lack of commitment. Unless we change something from our “being,” the probability of missing our “to-do list” is going to be high.

Making a “to-do list” is not enough. We should know what kind of person we need to become. There should be equal focus on the “being” and the “task.” At the end of the day, the being is the one who’ll be doing the task. The task will not be accomplished without also being mindful of the being. This equal focus on the being and the task is one of the lessons I learned when I attended the recent Accelerated Coach Training Program.

We totally forgot about the “being” when we were planning for the development of our daughter. We realized that she can’t gain confidence by simply doing certain tasks. Though performing in front of an audience is a way to give her more confidence, we should have been mindful as well of what kind of person she needs to be for her to perform. We wanted her to perform in front of people to gain confidence but how can she do it if she lacked self assurance to begin with? Playing at the recital wasn’t enough.

My daughter went through with the recital after much prayer and encouragement. We focused on her mindset and perspective in relation to her fear of failure. We talked to her about being more trusting to us as parents. That our love for her means that the things we’re encouraging her to do, no matter how difficult, are for her benefit. More importantly, we also discussed with her about where her identity is rooted. By fearing how the audience would react to her performance, she is anchoring her identity on the approval of others. Her identity should be rooted in God,who created her and essentially gave her the talents she possesses.

Anton Ng is a Partner, Audit & Assurance of P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading Audit, Tax, Advisory, and Outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 21 Partners and over 850 staff members. We’d like to hear from you! Tweet us: @PAGrantThornton, like us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to or For more information, visit our Website:


As published in The Manila Times, dated 20 June 2018