According to human needs theory, ‘growth’ is one of our 6 essential human needs. It varies from person to person, we each rank it differently on the continuum of importance based against the other 5 needs categories.
The pursuit of growth can be seen as external or internal pursuits but it all connects to our internal growth. Often this period remains unseen to the naked eye by outsiders, but we can feel its velocity inside. Our internal growth may come on rhythmically like spring cleaning, though sometimes it feels like a hit between the eyes.
We can cultivate circumstances that both support and propel our growth path, leading to more peace, inner wisdom, connectedness, transformative experiences and opportunities!
Here are four themes to creating your journey, cultivating for yourself growth conducive circumstances :
1. Wisdom meets Wonder: A state of beginner’s mind, curiosity
2. Prepare to cross old boundary lines: To retrieve new information
3. Question what is stopping you: Look for the invitation to show up
4. Expand Your Tribe: Protect Your Desires
“Before the beginning of brilliance, there must be great chaos. Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish in the crowd.” from I Ching written by Fu Hsi
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. “ Viktor E. Frankl
“There has to be this pioneer, the individual with the courage, the ambition to overcome the obstacles that always develop when one tries to do something worthwhile that is new and different.” Alfred P. Sloan
When you are running on empty or in a transition period, it’s easy to simply lose your way, to have that feeling “I’ve lost myself” – because you have. This is particularly true for sensitive folks, natural care-givers, professionals who meet so many demands of others and almost miraculously keep so many balls up in the air at one time, and during times of great uncertainty or traumatic experiences.
The cool thing, is that you are there, waiting to be reconnected. Ready to form your next step.
It’s essential to discern what is your essential needs versus other people’s agendas. Discernment is a big part of conscious growth, conscious exploration and conscious decision making.
Ironically, throughout these four themes I reflect on the art of paying attention, and yet recent research on various forms of meditation’s impact on creativity (defined here as the act of growing or creating something new, not necessarily being a great artist) found that the unstructured meditation (a soft focus vs. directed attention) is more receptive and conducive for creative growth.
I surmise it’s the use of the right tool for the purpose, and a balance between soft focus, clarity and intention.
Among the ideas I share here today, my goal is to provide a few themes to explore. Sometimes the one that gives us the most agita, is actually directing us to the gold. Measure this for yourself, against any inner critic voices and ‘shoulds.’
These themes are prompts and pointers to get really clear so you can work in your own best interest. Staying aware so you don’t forget or dismiss your own desires altogether. That hurts.
What signals to you that you are operating from your clear, centered space?
How do you honor and bring into your day, time to get quiet and deeply connect?
Do you record any of the inklings or recollections, information that may quickly arise and just as easily dissipate?
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. “ Unknown
“After living with their dysfunctional behavior for so many years, people become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than changing them. “ Marshall Goldsmith
The word growth, has an energizing effect. Birthing, lifting, pushing, there is power and energy attached to the word. So naturally, the very effect of wanting self-growth, to explore, create, change circumstances, invent, is going to push you up to your edge of your comfort zone. Going to any place that is unfamiliar in your life, when you are seeking that which you cannot yet fully ‘see,’ produces the feeling of ‘the edge.’
Moving past your edge is a process of letting go.
What was your last 3 letting go experiences like?
What have you discovered about yourself from ‘letting go’ ?
And I just want to add this idea – there’s no age discrimination here. Don’t let anyone tell you, you are too young to understand, when you know you are a seeker, or too old to make a new life, when you are a creator, willing to learn, open to something new.
Shifts know no boundaries.
So what does stretching look like for you?
Get clear on what you want your stretch to be?
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” Plutarch
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make a mistake.” Elbert Hubbard
In his research and in his book The Luck Factor, psychologist Richard Wiseman, Ph.D researched the differences between people who said they felt lucky and those who said they were unlucky in life. He distilled it down to four principles which you can use to design patterns to break routines, to feel greater satisfaction, and to create growth opportunities.
Dr. Wiseman shares four basic principles lucky people rely to generate their own good fortune:
1. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities
2. Make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition
3. Create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations
4. Adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good
Dr. Wiseman also spoke of the role anxiety plays in our ability to disrupt our ability to notice the unexpected.
It stands to reason, when anyone is anxious, you are in a tense state which by its very nature, disrupts your natural ability to notice things, missing opportunities that are right in front of you because your focus is elsewhere.
Just think for yourself about times you were able to appreciate or receive from chance opportunities. Were you in a more open, relaxed state? Was it a time you listened using your intuition? Dr. Wiseman’s studies showed the power, in this case of tapping into positive expectations and adopting a resilient attitude.
How do you relate to the four principles Dr. Wiseman lays out?
Is anxiety or other emotional states overriding your ability to presence yourself, allowing yourself to take advantage of opportunities?
“He who wrestles with us, strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper. “ Edmund Burke
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin
Our environment is an energy that you can cultivate to sustain you, to plug into as needed.
The dictionary defines ‘environment’ as the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings; milieu. And, the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population. So for the sake of this final theme, we’re looking at environment as all the external forces around you. The setting of your home and office, the various ‘tribes’ or people you engage with, hobbies, vocation activities, the fact that you go food shopping on Sunday’s so there is food in the house during the week, the appointments you place on your calendar, etc.
There’s two points I’d like to share here.
One comes from various teachings from Wayne Dwyer in which he would strongly urge protecting unfinished dreams from all the nay-sayers and environmental hazards just waiting to thwart your desires before they even saw the first sunlight.
The second idea I learned in the book, BOLD, by Peter Diamandis and Steve Kotler. There’s a fascinating story about the company Lockheed during World War II where they were tasked to design and build a new jet in a short amount of time. They accomplished the task, and in a shorter time period, a big bold audacious goal. They attributed this to having a moonshot – big goal; being in isolation (the group was sequestered near a smelly, thus the word skunk, private area) away from other’s opinions; rapid iteration – the idea of fail fast and move on comes from here; and intrinsic value- more than money, the workers were very moved and motivated by the goal. So I share this not based on the theme of war, but to share what can happen using creative growth circumstances.
Here are a few more reflective questions before you go:
If you are feeling stuck with (x), why do you think you are stuck?
Have you used a stance of openness instead of tenseness, anxiety?
How are you designing your environment?
“Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is.” Erich Fromm
“It is always your next move.” Napoleon Hill
So wrapping up:
We’re all in the same growth pot. In order to bump yourself up requires a personal level of self-mastery managing your own inner workings, wisely using our intuitive gifts.
Taking time for self reflection, places you in a position of clarity which is a position of self-power. You will be more comfortable with your yes being yes, and your no being no because you’ll know what intuitively is leading you to growth and what is holding you back.
I know it can seem corny but you get what I’m saying, when you want to groove out and live full on – even if it is during the in-between crap this is hard time, you can still appreciate yourself, your efforts and support your goals. Your next move is right around the corner!