We all have different ways we want to grow. It may be academic, physically, mentally, or emotionally. I can’t think of one person that couldn’t benefit from growing a bit. Too often, we look at others and make judgements about their shortcomings. Instead, I say we all take a bit of time to reflect and grow a bit ourselves. Where do we start? Right here!
This is simple. Yet, we overlook it because to do the actual work is difficult. Reflecting at the end of the day is a great place to start. Ask yourself, what did you do well? It’s like a compliment sandwich. You want to acknowledge shortcomings but squish them between good. For me, I need to be more patient. This is something that often comes up for me. Being aware that opportunities to grow are in front of you can help you on your journey. Seeing a need for increased patience, I use situations to demonstrate patience. A practice run if you will. You’ll see themes and patterns emerge. This will lead you to the next step.
- Put It Into Practice
Arguably, this is the most difficult part. This is where we can see how much work needs to be done. Like on Bar Rescue, they do a stress test to purposefully overtax the staff and facility. (Am I the only one obsessed with that show?) When we start to look at extreme examples, we can see where and why things fall apart. If you’re dealing with anxiety, you may reflect that it’s gotten the best of you. You then put yourself in an anxiety provoking situation. Chart what is the most difficult. Is it intrusive thoughts or physical systems? Where is the anxiety stemming from. This is applicable to almost any situation. Start to analyze where things are going wrong. What led you to act in the way you did?
- Strengthen Your Muscles
Now that we know where things are going wrong, we have to strengthen those muscles. Anxiety is an easy example because it’s about coming to the core fear. You can find triggers and build up a tolerance to the level of anxiety you’re experiencing. Not to say that work isn’t immensely difficult, it is not for the faint of heart but it fits nicely into this structure. As does patience; if I get bored and leave a line because I’m sick of waiting, I need to prepare strategies to combat the boredom. This may seem like a childish or silly example but we all struggle with trivial problems. Come up with strategies to deal with and cope with situations that result in a way you don’t like.
- Test the Theory
Like with working out, the more you progress, the more you have to push yourself. If I ran one mile everyday, I would never improve as a runner. In contrast, If every week I added half a mile or even a quarter of a mile to my run, I’d be growing. That can look different week to week. You can work on distance one week and speed the next. You can accommodate your situation in any way necessary. It’s all dependent on what’s tolerable and applicable to you.
I think of this like doing math. When I first look at it, I hate it. I get frustrated and I’m ready to give up right away. As I look closer, I see solvable parts of the equation. When one part is solved, it gives a clue about the other. Soon, I get caught up in the equation and excited by the premise that I could solve something so complex. Life often feels overwhelming and scary. When we control factors that are ours, we can see tangible progress that makes us feel excited. We can chart and see growth in so many different ways. I like to reward myself at different stages. I may choose to acknowledge my progress by sharing it with a close friend. It can go from something intimidating to something intriguing. I hope you find growth in the future.