It’s week two of Women’s History Month! Today we’re talking about what happens after you stop being invisible. It’s time to grow.
What does it mean to grow? Merriam-Webster defines grow, in part, as “to spring up and develop to maturity: to be able to grow in some place or situation.” These definitions are mostly speaking about plants, but they can also apply to humans. I thought for days on what this question means to me. I hadn’t looked up the word yet because I didn’t want a dictionary to influence what I myself thought about growing. My personal definition came to me while thinking about something else. (Isn’t that always the way?) Originally I thought grow meant God Rewards Our Worship but then that didn’t fit. Then I thought – God Revealed Our Weakness. This is better but isn’t a fit for everyone. Then it clicked – Get Rid Of Wavering. Aha! This was perfect.
We can only grow when we not only know where we are weak but also where we waver. Would you prune the same bush over and over for days on end in order to help it grow? No. It has no weak branches anymore. In fact, too much pruning might kill it. Would you teach a child how to balance on a bike with no training wheels? No. It could be done sure, but why cause more frustration? The same applies to you. You can’t prune your strengths, and you shouldn’t avoid helpful tools. Both are death to productive growth.
Now that your weaknesses have been revealed, you can make a plan to overcome them. One strategy is to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Not wildly uncomfortable – I’m not asking you to try to escape while handcuffed underwater in a giant fish tank before a bomb explodes on the Polar Express. I mean uncomfortable like you don’t like what’s happening but it won’t send you into a panic.
For instance, I am a rather shy and introverted person. I don’t usually speak up because I don’t like drawing a lot of attention to myself. And I would rather scoop my eyes out with a rusty spoon than make small talk. Anyway, I challenged myself to participate in conversations and engage more. I interacted in the online groups I’m a part of first, as it was less stressful. I worked my way up the socializing ladder and recently networked. It was stressful, but the overall experience made me a little more comfortable speaking to strangers. Whatever you waver on or feel weak in, find some aspect of it you can challenge yourself to overcome.
You may be asking why it’s so important to grow. The somewhat short answer: To not be stagnant. Stagnation is the ender of dreams and quite frankly, some of us have stood in that pond a little too long. When you are stagnant, the dream gets fuzzy because you stop focusing on it. The longer you stay still the harder it is to get going again.
At times that looks like focusing more on taking care of your kids. Or you take on more household chores to support your significant other in their pursuits. Stagnation even looks like ignoring your hobbies and favorite activities. Those sacrifices for others rob you of the things you enjoyed. It can also cause you to miss opportunities.
Stagnation can cost relationships. If you focus so much on the other person to the point of ignoring what makes you who you are it can build resentment. The other person may feel you blame them for your stagnation. They may also feel like you don’t fit together any longer, because while they moved forward, you stayed in the same place. Even if you gave up your things for them, you will still be seen as stuck.
How can we maintain our growth? We create new experiences, continue our education, and strive to learn new things all the time. It doesn’t take much to create a new experience. You can try a new type of cuisine, take a hands-on class, or attempt an idea you saw on Pinterest. You learn new skills useful to home or work on places like Udemy or YouTube. Your brain makes new connections when it comes across new knowledge all the time. Give it a little more to do.
That’s going to be it from me this week. Next Thursday is National Single Parent’s Day, a bonus day to celebrate my awesomeness as a mom without stealing Father’s Day from dads. If you enjoyed this week’s blog, please comment and share. If you think you want to explore ways to grow click Work With Me and schedule a call. Until next time, be empowered to G.R.O.W.