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The Founder’s Zodiac: A Guide to Personal Growth and Development

Illustration of person emerging from an open book and growing vines covered in different symbols to represent life and work balance

After studying some of the one million business owners who use Shopify, we discovered that founder types tend to fall into one of five personality types. Which one are you? Start with our quiz.


Let’s reflect together, Stargazer. Close your eyes and remember being a kid, looking up to your parents or teachers and thinking that they had it all the answers. Of course, they didn’t. You know now that while age brings with it the wisdom of experience, you’re human after all, susceptible to mistakes and still ripe for learning. That’s doubly true for entrepreneurs. Personal growth is a school of one from which you never graduate. 

After months of adversity that may have forced you to pivot and adapt, it’s time to take the wheel of your personal growth adventure. What new skills do you need to acquire to be prepared for what’s next? Are your habits and lifestyle working with you or against you? What’s your vision for your best self? 

Personal growth is a school of one from which you never graduate.

Here, we’ll discuss the benefits of active, intentional personal growth and offer tips and tools to build your own plan. For tailored advice based on your entrepreneur personality type, skip ahead to your Founder Sign.

What is personal growth?

A hand holds a potted plant against a blue background
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A houseplant’s growth is supported by the soil and pot, by intervention from a watering can, by its placement near a light source. These are the things beyond the plant’s control. But like all living things, it grows and adapts to its environment to increase its chances for survival. It leans into the light, wraps its vines around nearby supports, grows roots through holes in the pot.

Humans are no different. We are all born into a certain set of conditions that are beyond our control. To thrive, we can harness personal growth to help adapt to our environments, rise above challenge, and grow stronger.

Personal growth is the lifelong process of striving for a better self, either socially, spiritually, physically, or emotionally. What “better” means for you may be different for others—that’s something you can only define for yourself. Personal growth is generally intentional and self-directed. It refers to steps taken or techniques used to better oneself, whether that’s through building healthy habits, learning new skills, or gaining self-awareness.

A journey of personal development can contribute to increased confidence to pursue professional opportunities.

Personal growth and professional growth can be linked—a journey of personal development can contribute to increased confidence to pursue professional opportunities or career growth. For example, developing good fitness and sleep habits can give you more energy during the day so that you’re able to, say, pursue a side gig.


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What are some examples of personal growth?

Three plants pots filled with soil and seeds
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Personal growth is entirely, well, personal. There are countless ways to improve yourself, so don’t let this list limit you! Just remember that personal growth should focus on you and the things you have the power to change and improve within yourself or your environment.

Examples of personal growth:

  • Building healthy habits—or kicking unhealthy ones
  • Learning new skills (life skills, social skills, tactile skills)
  • Increasing energy or improving physical health through fitness, diet choices, and improved sleep habits
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Reducing clutter—both stuff and emotional clutter
  • Finding joy in new hobbies, friends, or surroundings—and cutting out those that do not bring joy (think Marie Kondo for your social life!)
  • Learning to find happiness or validation from within
  • Getting in touch with your mental health

How to achieve personal growth

A man sits next to a large fern type plant
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How do you achieve personal growth? Trick question. It’s not something you can necessarily achieve—personal growth is a journey, not a destination. 

However, an end goal is a powerful motivator. How do you continue on a path of personal growth when there’s no end in sight? It’s important to build in pit stops or checkpoints. Like on a meandering road trip, there are sights to take in over the course of the journey, places to stop and enjoy the results of all of that driving. Along your path, set mini goals and pace yourself. Betterment takes time—but it’s also worth celebrating.

Develop a personal growth plan

What parts of yourself are you looking to improve? If you’re new to an intentional approach to personal growth, let’s start with your biggest pain point. For example, let’s say you struggle with focus and it’s a trait that holds back productivity or waylays your professional aspirations. 

Your personal growth plan should:

  1. Define the area of growth
  2. Be established with intent and willingness
  3. State a clear “why”
  4. Include goals or checkpoints to allow you to track progress
  5. Outline your commitment to growth (What steps will you take? How often? What’s holding you accountable?)
While the first stages of personal growth require more intervention and deliberate steps, the continual improvement may begin to happen naturally as you develop habits.

Remember that unlike a specific goal with a defined achievement, you may be working on your personal growth for life. However, while the first stages of personal growth require more intervention and deliberate steps, the continual improvement may begin to happen naturally as you develop habits.

You may need to experiment with different methods or tools before you find a learning style or technique that works for you—and most importantly, one that you’ll stick with. In the focus example above, you might try guided meditation, a productivity timer or app, or a change of scenery that presents fewer distractions. 

How to measure personal growth

In some ways it may be difficult to quantify your progress. If we take the example above, “improve focus” doesn’t have a measurable goal. You may be slowly working on focus techniques for a lifetime. However, you can test your progress by setting mini goals along your growth path. Do you struggle to sit down and write for long periods? (Asking for a friend.) Set increasing focus goals for yourself (one hour, two hours, etc.), and use techniques to help you achieve those. 

Resources to get started: personal growth apps, books, and more

Personal growth is lifelong learning. If, like me, you’re better at learning by doing, you may find that experimenting with different approaches is best for you versus sitting down with a book (focus is my challenge, remember?). But there are oodles of resources available to help kickstart your personal growth, whether you’re into book learning, apps that keep you accountable, inspiring podcasts, or guided courses.

Read on to get personalized recommendations based on your personality type.

Personal growth and development advice for every Founder Sign

Illustration of a group of people unraveling a giant ribbonYour personality type may be the key to unlocking a personal growth plan that works for you. Dig into these suggestions to help you kick off your own pilgrimage to find a better you. (Don’t know your sign? Start here.)

👟 Skip to your sign:

Feature sign: The Trailblazer

Illustration of The Founder's Zodiac sign, The Trailblazer

Oh hey, changeling. This one’s easy for you—that’s why you’re our feature sign this month! As someone who thrives on change and isn’t afraid of diversions and creative challenges, your personal growth path is well-trodden. Even if it isn’t exactly a straight line. But your casual approach might not be working for shedding those truly ingrained habits. What’s that one aspect of your life that’s holding you back? Your challenge, Trailblazer, will be to create an actionable plan for growing in this specific way—and not get lost on another tangent.

Personal growth and development ideas for Trailblazers

Your passion for new ideas sometimes leaves your best laid plans in the dust. If you’re really serious about personal growth, you’ll need to work on your focus. Carve time out to work on yourself, but don’t be too rigid with your schedule—your personality still needs spontaneity to thrive. 

Try:

  • Guided meditation practice to improve your focus.
  • Productivity timer apps that encourage you to work on one thing for set intervals.
  • Reducing clutter both online and in your physical space—a clean distraction-free environment is your blank canvas.

Resources for personal growth, picked just for you

📚 Read How to Focus Better in the Era of Information Overload on the Shopify Blog
📱 Download Ivy, a to-do app that has a built-in self-reflection feature 

The Outsider

Illustration of The Founder's Zodiac sign, The Outsider

We know, Outsider, you’re not necessarily interested in self-help. You’re a steady person, focused on the task in front of you. Investing in yourself might not seem worth it because the positive effects aren’t always obvious—or financial. You care about your craft and the reliable income it provides. If that part of your life is running smoothly, why change? But as 2020 demonstrated, we can all use a few extra skills in our back pockets to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Where did you fail in the past year? What aspects of yourself can you invest in to protect what you care about most?

Personal growth and development best practices for Outsiders

This part might involve stepping outside your comfort zone. Your personal growth, like the growth of your business, has the potential to lag or even get stuck because you tend to be set in your ways. Hear us out. Growing as a person can only help you build life skills that will come in handy the next time a pandemic-sized obstacle gets in the way.

Try:

  • Investing in personal time by setting “work hours,” even if you work for yourself.
  • Linking personal growth goals to professional goals—making the connection will give you the “why.”
  • Finding a hobby that’s really different from what you do for money—challenging yourself and using another part of your brain may help unlock creativity.

Resources for personal growth, picked just for you

📖 Read The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin
📚 Read 6 Ways to Cope with Stress on the Shopify Blog

The Mountaineer

Illustration of The Founder's Zodiac sign, The Mountaineer

Growth is your middle name, Mountaineer. But you tend to be so singularity focused on that one big goal that you may be neglecting other areas of your life that need tending. If those big professional goals are in your sight, go forth! But pause occasionally to check in with yourself. Are you burning the candle at both ends? Are poor habits affecting your sleep or energy levels? Do you have a knowledge gap that’s holding you back? 

Personal growth and development best practices for Mountaineers

It’s hard for you to divert your attention from your main goal, so you’ll need some intervention. Notifications are your friends. As are daily rituals and practices that bring you temporarily down to earth.

Try:

  • Experimenting with different tools and apps that send timely reminders to stick to your personal growth plan. Post a motivational quote or an aspirational image on your fridge, wall, or memo board to help you stay inspired.
  • Keeping a journal or blog to reflect on your wins and the things you’re thankful for.
  • Setting measurable goals along your personal growth journey (you like goals, remember?)—and celebrating your successes.

Resources for personal growth, picked just for you

📱 Download Three Good Things, an app to practice the art of gratitude
📚 Read The Big List of 40+ Goal-Setting Tools

The Firestarter

Illustration of The Founder's Zodiac sign, The Firestarter

You tend to be someone that has it all figured out—or at least you think you do. We love your confidence, Firestarter! But we all have room to grow. Even you. You are deft at separating emotion from business, but don’t let them get estranged. Empathy, compassion, and humility are all qualities that can actually benefit you as an entrepreneur or in your professional life. How can you grow in these ways?

Personal growth and development best practices for Firestarters

Start by making a list of your strengths (easy) and your weaknesses (not as easy). Think about the last time you failed or fell short of a goal. What was the cause? Are there areas of your life or personality that could use a tune-up to make you better prepared for next time? Is your professional success coming at the expense of your personal life?

Try:

  • Donating your time to something that offers no material gain—it can be as simple as volunteering for a charity or mentoring youth with an interest in your industry.
  • Experimenting with new activities and hobbies. Is there something that ignites your passion outside of work?
  • Looking to your idols or mentors—what traits do they possess or habits do they follow that make them good at what they do? What can you learn?

Resources for personal growth, picked just for you

🎥 Watch How to turn off work thoughts during your free time on TedTalks
📚 Read Passion and the Pursuit of Independence on the Shopify Blog

The Cartographer

Illustration of The Founder's Zodiac sign, The Cartographer

Personal growth sometimes involves being uncomfortable for a while. Things might get more difficult or uncertain before they get better. That’s a scary prospect for a person like you, Cartographer. You have designed your life to be organized, predictable, and completely within your control. The good news is that a personal growth mindset is actually compatible with your personality. Building skills, habits, and confidence can help you fix cracks in your current plans and draft even better ones. 

Personal growth and development best practices for Cartographers

Success in reaching personal growth goals will depend on how you approach them. You perform best in all areas of your life when you’re following a detailed plan. You have the chops to build (or kick) habits, because you’re great with systems and rules. 

Try:

  • Picking just one desired habit at a time that you’d like to develop and use tools and tactics to help you achieve it. Start small and start slow.
  • Taking a course to learn a new skill or mindset—the structure of a guided approach to learning will help you stick with it.
  • Developing a formal plan. How you approach most things in life—grocery lists, business decisions, solving problems—will work well here too. Write lists of improvements you’d like to make in your life, detail how you’ll work toward them, and draft a timeline that allows you to track them.

Resources for personal growth, picked just for you

🎒 Take an online course like this one by Ideo that helps you unlock creativity
📚 Read Getting Unstuck: What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do on the Shopify Blog 

If you’ve yet to determine your Founder Sign, take our quiz, then sign up for our newsletter. The Founder’s Zodiac runs every month and offers up advice and relevant content curated just for your type. 

Illustrations by by Alice Mollon

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