Monday, 16 May 2016

5 Learnings About Growth

"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still"

Change is inevitable, in fact, it is the only constant. But growth can be optional. As life continues to sweep by, we can choose to grow with it or dig in our heels and stay stuck. Fighting change for fear of the unknown trips us into the sinking sand of a whirling rut. We get trapped in an uncomfortable comfort zone - afraid to move forward and unable to go back - we stagnate.

Embracing our growth means opening up our world; it means allowing our minds expand beyond our miserable monotony and inviting a fuller, richer perspective in. When we imprison ourselves within the steel bars of negative thinking we lose sight of our own potential growth beyond them. Our self-limiting beliefs of 'can't', 'should' and 'not good enough' pad-lock away our potential light.

But it's from these places of dark deflation that we can actually take valuable steps towards growth. We often forget that every strong tree or every breathtaking flower began as a tiny seed; buried in the dirt, in the cold, dark isolation with no idea of the light and opportunity on the other side. Knowing that something better is waiting on the surface allows us to break through and seek out the light that simply wants us to thrive.

I've learnt that growth greatly enriches our lives, enhances experiences, relationships and ourselves personally. It leads us away from the dark times towards a place where we can finally flourish. It lures us away from our uncomfortable comfort zones and into a courageous, authentic and emotive life.

"Deltas are where rivers meet the sea. They're marshy, full of sediment and forever changing. They are also rich, fertile areas of growth. This is where we need to do our growth - our key learnings emerge from the delta." Brené Brown - Rising Strong

What I've learnt about growth:

1. TIMING

'For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.' Cynthia Occeli

Quite often growth comes from a time of significant struggle. When we get cemented in stagnation and realise that we're seriously unhappy, we're just like that seed. We crack, our inner struggle comes tumbling out and then everything changes. 

It might seem as though it's the darkest, most depressing time, but in fact the conditions are perfect to direct us towards the light. Because we've realised that we want better than this, we want the bloom, the colour, the vivid luscious life. We cannot stay buried in this miserable hole any longer - it's time to grow.

2. PATIENCE

You don't just plant a shrub and watch it magically bloom in front of your eyes. You also wouldn't give out to a seed for not instantly shooting up. Likewise, our growth takes time and naturally requires patience. It needs nourishment, care and commitment.

As such, when we're coming from a place of negativity, growing towards a positive mind set is quite a transformation. We need to nurture the energy needed for this process with the kindness and gentle patience that this kind of growth deserves. We need to accept that with consistent watering and nourishment, we'll get exactly where we want to be. And we need to avoid the urge to try rush this process. Enjoy each break-through moment and each little bud of learning opening up.

3. CHANGE

'Nothing changes, if nothing changes.'

We don't just get to decide that we'd like to grow and then kick back and wait for it to happen. That's not quite how it works. In order to move away from a rut, we need to take responsibility to pull ourselves out of it. We need to actively take part in our own journey of growth.

We need to choose to consciously change what is no longer serving us. Maybe it's our way of thinking, our behaviours or our values - there's something that we're engaging in that is hindering our growth. If we truly want to grow, we've gotta act on implementing these changes. This might mean letting go of old beliefs, practicing new concepts and opening our minds. It means being honest with ourselves and chopping away any weeds that are stealing our energy. 

4. SUPPORT 

If you honestly want to embrace growth, you've gotta be there for yourself. We've all heard of growing pains and yep these quite possibly will strike as we move away from the old restricted comforts and stretch our minds towards something better. Yes it can be challenging or tiring and we might find it hard to break through at times, but it's essential to stick with it. Every wobbly step into growth is still a step away from the darkness.

Regardless how familiar and safe our depressing routine may have become, it is no match for the growth that we can lead ourselves to. 

5. TAKE STOCK

This is a journey. It's likely going to encompass all seasons - the periods of slow growth and those where we really thrive - but all of these are necessary. They are crucial parts of this undertaking. For each baby step, recognise the milestone that this is - when we are no longer crawling but holding ourselves up, this is when we need to give ourselves genuine kudos. 

Give credit for those moments that were tricky but we did anyway, those actions that we knew we needed to take even when we didn't want to, those times we had to pick ourselves up after a fall. Note the growth in each little stretch towards the light. 

***

It's never too late to seek growth. Regardless who or where we are in life, we have the opportunity to embrace a new mindset, a new chapter of our experience, a wider, brighter view of the world. We deserve better. We're not here to lie underground in a limited view of darkness. There is so much within each of us - talent, opportunity, personality, potential and light. We can inspire, create, change and grow as little or as much as we like.

Personally I'm aiming for giant sequoia - how much do you want to grow? 


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