Personal growth is part of evolution, especially if you want to lead others. Most want to become better versions of themselves and reach their full potential. While there are many strategies and methodologies for personal growth, one surprising source of inspiration I have leaned into is software version control, which I learned in my 20’s working for a Financial Software Company, and even that process has evolved into agile formats over the years that helped me even further in being iterative around personal growth..
For those who are not familiar with software version control, it is a process that enables developers to manage changes to code. It allows multiple developers to work on the same codebase, keeping track of the different versions of code and allowing for changes to be made and tracked over time. With version control, developers can work collaboratively, manage complexity, and ensure that the code always moves forward without losing track of where it's been.
Wait, before I lose you with the technical jargon, stick with me, I promise it relates to your personal development.
Let me break down how you can apply the principles of software version control to our personal growth? Here are a few ways:
Branch Out: Create a branch for experimentation and exploration
Imagine the trunk, the main code base of who you have become, and the branches that grow out of you when you experiment and explore new things. Each branch starts to serve a new line of information back into the trunk and sometimes creates new roots, as dead roots die off.
Just as developers can create a new branch of code to try out a new feature or idea, you can create new branches in our own lives to try out new hobbies, explore new interests, and take risks. By creating a new branch, you can experiment without fear of failure, and explore new areas of our lives that you may not have considered before.
Keep the lessons learned, not the mistakes
In software development, mistakes are inevitable. They are called bugs. With version control, developers can easily revert to an older version of the code if necessary, especially if the most recent release causes everything to shut down.
You can apply the same principle to your personal life. When you make a mistake, you can create a new "branch" by acknowledging the mistake, learning from it, and making changes to our behavior, and applying a fix. You can then "merge" that branch back into our main life codebase, becoming better and more evolved versions of ourselves leveraging the lessons learned.
Reflect on your progress, don’t let the past bugs lead you.
Just as developers can look back at older versions of code, and clean out any remnant code that no longer is needed, you can do the same. See how far you have come, focus on the journey ahead, and reflect back on the progress you have made to become version 04.25.2023. When I look back at older versions of me, I think she’s so cute thinking she had no bugs and knew it all. Kareen Version 01.01.2008 was going through a big upgrade that took years to reconfigure into Kareen Version 04.25.2023. I am grateful for the system overhaul and ability to reflect back, and know the version I am leading with today has some upgrades ahead too.
Collaborate with others
Version control enables developers to work collaboratively, manage complexity, and ensure that the code always moves forward. You can apply the same principles to your personal growth by collaborating with others. You can work with mentors, coaches, or peers to learn from their experiences, get feedback, and collaborate on your personal goals.
Your personal evolution is an ongoing process that requires effort, intention, and a growth mindset. I encourage you to experiment, learn from your mistakes, reflect on your progress, and collaborate with others to become better versions of yourself.