There are times in our lives where we are forced to change, and there are two ways of approaching that change. I can move kicking and screaming into the unknown, or I can go willingly, trusting that there is going to be something amazing ahead.
What if we could enter into change on a conscious level? What if we choose to stretch ourselves and grow even when we aren’t forced into it by life’s situations? I believe that entering into growth consciously can help us be aware of the skills we are building at the time to make us more resilient to the obstacles that are thrown at us unannounced.
Here are five ways to help you move into the learning/stretching zone.
- Begin by playing the movie of your life forward. See yourself doing the things that scare you now, and notice how easy those things are for you. Maybe you want to write a book, travel to your ‘someday’ destination, start your own business, learn a new language. When you imagine yourself doing the things that scare you today, you can more easily move into the future with right action, instead of fear. Visualization is a powerful tool to help you create the life you want. When I wrote my book, I created a fake cover and wrapped it around a different book to carry it around and own it. When my real book was finished, and I found the mock up on the shelf, I was surprised to see the same mountain range and the same colors floating through my cover. Maybe it is a coincidence, yet our minds are powerful creators!
- Be mindful of your thoughts. Do you spend time thinking about all the bad things that can happen in the future? What if I don’t succeed? What if I can’t find my next clients? What if I am not good enough? What if my daughter struggles with this upcoming issue? Turn these statements around and give them a positive twist. What if I succeed beyond my wildest imagination? What if my next client leads me to a new opportunity? What if the world really is abundant and I am enough just the way I am? What if my daughter learns from this experience and gains the skills she needs for her next adventure? I call this technique REFRAME. Give your negative statements a positive spin and see if that moves you closer to what you desire. Are you a half empty or half full type of person? Becoming aware of how you see the world is the first step to changing it. As a coach, one of the most powerful suggestions I can give to people who are struggling with their lives is to write a gratitude journal. Writing just three things a day that you are grateful for can shift your whole perspective. When you move as if your life is a gift, you look for ways to see those gifts every day. One of the best questions I have asked myself when facing a challenge is “What are you here to teach me?” When I look at the struggles as opportunities to grow, I realize that I am grateful for the struggles too.
- Develop some new habits or hobbies. Another question I often ask my clients is “How did you play as a kid?” It is a great question to help them get back in touch with what makes them happy. One of my clients recently reflected on her love of being outside in the wilderness as a kid, and now she is turning that love into a hiking adventure with her children. Next year they are hiking in Spain. Is there something you have been wanting to learn or create and you have been putting it off? Are you afraid to run a 5k because you think you can’t do it? It doesn’t need to be a big thing like a race, or even something that stretches you physically. We grow in many different ways and when we work on something new, our brain creates new connections that help us to stay fresh in our approaches to new opportunities in our life.
- Just do it! Goethe said it best, ““Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” When you put your feet on the path and head in a direction, what you need to be successful will show up. Often times, our fear creates a picture worse in our heads of all the what ifs, and it paralyzes us from action. Each step you take helps you develop the strength and tools and courage you need to keep going. It is like getting up for exercise in the morning. It is hard to get out of bed, but once you do, then the rest falls into place. Take the first step and see where your life can go.
- Invest in You! I have infested in my own personal growth over the years, and I have always learned something new about myself. Those discoveries remind me that I am capable of living my life with purpose and meaning. Whether it is a new book, a class at a community college, or a weekend workshop or retreat, you are always worth the effort to do a little soul searching and growing.
This is a great mantra to practice, courtesy of a story in the book Lectio Divina, by Christine Valters Paintner.
Fall into the Mystery placed before you,
The person you will become will catch you!
I can’t wait to see who you and I become!