“If you want to choose the pleasure of growth, prepare yourself for some pain.” – Ritu Ghatourey
Do you remember having growing pains when you were young? They weren’t pleasant were they, but who would want to stay the size of a baby? That’s just part of growing up.
However, what most people don’t recognize is that we continue to have growing pains – emotional, mental and spiritual ones – throughout our lives. However, discomfort now becomes our choice – we can avoid it, endure it, or embrace it. It’s no longer automatic.
Since our brains are hardwired to avoid pain, we often choose to avoid discomforts rather than embrace them. As a result, our personal and professional growth can become stunted.
What are some attitudes that people adopt to avoid the discomfort of growing?
- I’m happy where I’m at.
- I want to take it easy.
- I want to be comfortable.
- I don’t want to do that because it makes me uncomfortable.
- It’s too hard.
The trouble with staying in your comfort zone is that you can become self-absorbed, complacent, or easily bored. And if you have a creative nature, you’re going to be miserable.
Learning to be comfortable with discomfort is one of the most important skills you can develop. It’s how you’ll live a full and purposeful life. As Jean Shinoda Bolen said, “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”
But why is growing emotionally, mentally, or spiritually so uncomfortable? Because it involves taking a risk. Letting go of control. Venturing into the unknown. But that’s okay. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
When you regularly seek out fresh experiences, you become more creative and emotionally resilient. It makes you stronger and more confident as you see each success and conquer each hurtle. Can’t you look back and remember things that used to make you uncomfortable, but you can now do with ease?
How do you embrace discomfort?
- Develop a craving for something more in your life.
- Resist the pride of perfectionism.
- Be willing to make “mistakes” and see them as learning experiences instead.
- Deliberately seek out things that push your limits.
- Stop avoiding what’s hard.
Oftentimes you have to expand your understanding to overcome obstacles in front of you – understanding yourself, others, or how things work. It challenges your mental skills. But your brain is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Conversely if you don’t stretch it, it will become flabby.
Make time for continual learning. Try a new language. Take a mindfulness course. Start a new hobby. You can tackle any project you set your mind to. As Calvin Coolidge said, “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”
If you make a practice of welcoming discomfort, your comfort zone will expand to include and embrace discomfort as a natural part of living. Then you can have a similar attitude to American writer Jonathan Lethem, “Discomfort is very much part of my master plan.”
Most things seem impossible until you do them. Remember that others have felt just as you do and they were able to push beyond that feeling. So can you.
Sometimes it helps to have someone coach you through a big growth spurt. If that’s where you’re at, I’d love to partner with you so you can more easily embrace discomfort. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
“I think it is essential sometimes to go into retreat, to stop everything that you have been doing, to stop your beliefs and experiences completely and look at them anew, not keep on repeating like machines whether you believe or don’t believe. You would let fresh air into your minds.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Have you ever come home from a vacation more exhausted than when you went? Usually this happens when you try to cram in too many activities. Or to the other extreme, you laze around the pool, doing absolutely nothing except eating and drinking too much.
Either way, you may be missing the whole point of vacation – to refresh and reinvigorate yourself. As soon as you get back to “the real world”, stress piles up again. Plus you may have the added burdens of detoxing and getting rid of the extra pounds.
Instead, why not try a women’s retreat that balances your mind, body, spirit? This is something that I love to do! And here are five reasons why I think you’ll love a body wisdom women’s retreat too…
- Women’s retreats produce long-term benefits.
Retreats are designed to help you connect with your body’s wisdom so you can lead a more balanced lifestyle. You’ll experience emotional release and physical rejuvenation. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how these feelings stay with you and improve your health once you return home. Choose a retreat that gives you the time and space to reconnect with yourself and center by aligning your emotions, beliefs, values, goals and intentions.
- Women’s retreats are designed for introspection and reflection.
Visiting a beautiful and tranquil location puts you in a contemplative frame of mind. It’s important to quiet outside “noises” so you can “hear” what your body, mind and spirit are communicating.
- Women’s retreats help you connect with nature.
Being close to nature is very healing. It reduces the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Filling your lungs and soul on the clean air and peaceful surroundings lets your body, mind and spirit calm, giving you a fresh start.
- Retreats surround you with like-minded people – your guide and fellow attendees.
There are so many types of retreats. You get to pick a retreat where the guide leads sessions in what you desire to improve the most – health & wellness retreats, fitness retreats, meditation retreats, and body wisdom retreats to name a few possibilities. Look for techniques that will enhance your life long-term.
Group retreats bring together women who have similar concerns or interests. Because you have similar goals and intentions, you can build a support system. The others can act as a mirror to help you identify issues that you can’t clearly see by yourself. It’s good to know that you’re not alone, that others are on the same path. Women’s retreats are also a fantastic way to find new life-long intimate friendships.
- Women’s retreats are managed for you. You don’t have to worry about planning or finding places to eat and sleep. Your retreat facilitator takes care of all those stressful things. You just have your well-being to focus on. Another perk is that you’re more likely to receive exclusive features and discounts because of being in a group.
This year I’m leading a Body’s Wisdom Women’s Retreat through Italy. We’ll discover beautiful Sicily while learning to connect with the body’s untapped wisdom and practice centering, rejuvenating and mindfulness techniques. I plan on making this an annual event. Want to join me? Contact me with any questions.
I’m going to share with you a productive secret that very few people will ever share with you. And it may even shock you. Are you ready? It’s okay to be selfish in the morning. No, actually it’s absolutely necessary.
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend selfishness, because it can really damage relationships. But, when you think about it, what is your most important relationship? (Hint: It’s the one you’re most likely neglecting.)
It’s your relationship with yourself, right? If you’re not treating yourself with love, patience, and respect, you won’t be able to show those qualities to others. And you won’t have enough energy to be productive in life.
So, I’m suggesting you do something just for yourself as soon as you get up. It might be making your bed, exercising, reading something inspirational, or meditation. Whatever fuels your creativity and energy. Become a master of your time and set intentions for how you want your day to be.
Now let’s increase your productivity in life by using this same “principle of selfishness” as you carve out the first hour of your work day to focus on your own project. (Of course, this works well if you run your own business. But the principle can also make you indispensible in whatever organization you work for, because it effectively prioritizes your day.)
Too often we jump into taking care of others’ requests or ‘urgent’ needs. Emails, voicemails and the like can wait…they’ll still be there later. Responding in this reactive manner makes you feel like you’re always trying to catch up. Like there’s not enough time. Like you’re not doing what fuels your soul. Like you’re missing out.
On the other hand, if you guard the first hour of your workday, you’ll feel like you’re living up to your potential and that you’re accomplishing something important. In turn, this energizes you to do more, and you build momentum, getting more accomplished with less effort.
Try the following steps to ease into this new morning routine:
- Block out the first hour of every workday on your calendar. Make this a recurring event, and let everyone know this hour is taken. No compromising!
- Avoid distractions and set boundaries you can live with, like not checking your email, social media or answering your phone.
- If you have a mandatory meeting at this time, consider starting your day an hour earlier so you honor your commitment.
What do you do with the first hour of your new schedule?
Choose a meaningful and/or important project to work on. Look for something that you’ve been intending to do, but haven’t gotten to yet because you’ve been too busy taking care of everyone else’s priorities. For entrepreneurs this can mean working on your business instead of in your business and coming up with plans for future growth.
Then, start making notes for what needs to happen to make your project a reality. Once you have these notes, organize them in a book, card file or small sheets of paper. Put one task per page, card, or piece of paper with instructions of how to do it. If you don’t know, then your task is to find someone who can teach you or can do it for you.
How do you organize all these notes into a productivity strategy you can reuse in all facets of life?
- Break your project down into monthly benchmarks for success.
- Break each month’s objective down into weekly tasks.
- Break down your weekly tasks into 3 critical items.
Start your day working on your single most important item. Once it’s completed, move to the next. If you don’t accomplish all three tasks within the hour, move the unfinished task to the top of your pile to work on tomorrow. Oftentimes you’ll accomplish more in this first hour than you otherwise would all day.
This process helps you become more mindful as you regularly pause to breathe and assess what’s most important to you everyday. You develop a skill that helps you to be fully engaged and productive in life.
Need some help getting started? Whether it’s personal development, improving your health or marketing your business, I’m here to help you stay on track and reach your highest purpose. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype), and let’s get started.
“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” ~ James Allen
We don’t often think about this, but if you make a choice, you also make a sacrifice consciously or unconsciously.
For example: You give up work time to read a book. You invest in your education rather than taking a vacation. You may even purchase shoes instead of food. In each case you sacrifice something to get something you value more.
Each sacrifice, each choice brings you closer to, or takes you further away from, the amazing lifestyle you desire. To get it, you must pay the price of success.
What will excellence cost you? Focused action, hard choices and consistent follow through. You have to become what some might view as “obsessed’ with getting results.
How do you pay the price of success? It could be money. It could be physical effort. It might even be your health if you’re not careful. But your greatest asset is your TIME. Once you spend a second of it, you can’t get it back. It’s in limited supply, so spend it wisely.
However, success isn’t solely guaranteed by how much time you put into an endeavor. Perhaps you’ve heard that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” Malcolm Gladwell posed this rule in his book, “Outliers.” It gives you the impression that you have to put in a vast amount of time and deliberate practice to achieve excellence. (Deliberate practice means pushing your skill set as much as you can.)
But I don’t think that time and deliberate practice are the entire equation for success.
Excellence doesn’t just take time and practice. Your heart, soul and mind must be involved as you find and fulfill your purpose in life. If you aren’t good at an endeavor or you’re doing it just because someone else expects it, no amount of time and practice is going to make you great at it.
When you’re firmly convinced of your purpose, you’re more than willing to make sacrifices to fulfill it, because it fills you with joy and brings out the best in you. Some women have achieved excellence by being wonderful wives and mothers. While the world in general doesn’t give them the recognition they deserve, I think they’re awesome! Others achieve excellence in their chosen profession. That’s awesome too!
Personally, I’ve found my purpose by being the best daughter, wife, friend and coach that I can be. I love assisting women to achieve their purpose whatever that might be. Will this be enough for my lifetime? Time will tell. We all have the freedom to rewrite our lives any time we want.
One thing I do know is that you don’t get anywhere without some level of sacrifice.
On the other hand, be careful about the price you’re willing to pay for success. You don’t ever want to trade your reputation, ethics or integrity for a quick gain. It’s not worth it.
Giving up on your dreams is not a good option either. It exacts a high price in regrets and unhappiness. Don’t quit because you can’t figure out what to do next. If you want it enough, you’ll find a way.
Granted, it is human nature to default to what we’re used to, what’s in our comfort zone. However, growth depends on discomfort. Creativity isn’t sparked in a circle of comfort. It’s sparked by challenge, by needing to think outside the box, by deadlines, by stress, by what’s called, “Optimal Anxiety”. To achieve greatness, you have to push yourself.
Yes, we live in a world that loves instant gratification. But there are no shortcuts to excellence. It’s so satisfying to take your time and do it right. It will cost you, but it’s worth it.
Would you like to ensure you’re spending your time and energy on the right thing for you, right now? Then please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). It pays to explore new ideas and paths that can help you get closer to what makes YOU feel like a success.
Your approach to life is influenced by so many factors – your genetics, upbringing, culture, beliefs, values, and more. As a result, everyone has a unique approach to life that is either slightly or vastly different from your own.
Some people go through life doing just enough to get by. They’re the make doers who are perfectly happy making do with whatever happens. At the other extreme are the perfectionists who strive to do everything perfectly no matter how complicated the process is.
In the more sustainable range are the following:
- Simplifiers (who do everything the easiest way possible even if adding that little extra would produce better results).
- Optimizers (who look for the best solution even if it’s more complex and increases the odds for complications).
- Maximizers (who never cease to educate themselves and learn from others so they can excel at what’s important).
Actually, a balanced life involves all of the above, except for perfectionism, which only brings you stress from having unrealistic expectations of yourself. The trick is to know how to approach life on the terms that serve you the best in your present circumstances with the least amount of cost (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual). The good news is that you can choose to alter your approach to life whenever it suits you.
But how do you know which approach is the best at any given time?
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase about “knowing when to pick your battles”. Some things just aren’t worth fussing about. While others things matter a great deal. Often you don’t know what you’re dealing with until you’re well into the project. That’s why it’s so important to be flexible, resilient and adaptable.
However, as a general rule of thumb, whenever possible choose simplification, because it maximizes and frees up your personal energy. You’re not worn out from one task, so you have plenty of energy for the other activities that the day brings you.
Doing things simply makes it easier for not only yourself but for everyone involved. And it’s a huge time saver and keeps your stress level down. It’s best to avoid complicating something if there’s no need for it.
If you can simplify, streamline and document any system, you won’t have to expend the time and energy to re-figure it out in the future. This kind of simplification pays off in a big way. It even allows you to delegate tasks to others knowing that they’ll do the work to your satisfaction.
By simplifying your daily life as much as you can with supportive routines and habits, you have the luxury to optimize, or even maximize, the things that really matter to you. Instead of doing it so-so, you can truly master what you’re passionate about.
This principle works in all aspects of life and business. Just get started doing what needs to be done, step-by-step, and when you have the luxury of time, come back and master what’s really important. Over time, you may find that what you thought needed careful, meticulous attention doesn’t really need it, while things you neglected need your undivided attention.
When you’re mindful about reviewing your day, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and you’re tuned in to your own feelings and those of the people around you, you develop the flexibility and creativity to make course corrections in your approach to life as needed.
If you feel like you need to make some adjustments in your approach to life, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to partner with you as you discover new ways to live life to the fullest.