The Growth Factor
If we aren’t growing we are dying, it’s a simple fact. If you aren’t improving your life, learning new things, venturing out of your comfort zone, then you aren’t growing.
Unfortunately with a lack of growth comes a growing discontent. One of the most fundamental human needs is for growth and variety. We also have needs for love and connection, for stability and certainty, but we can’t stay in a place of comfort and stability for too long without that feeling of suffocation, boredom and a mental downward spiral. Think of it this way, if you go to the gym every day, and every day you run 5k on the treadmill, you will improve for a while, it will benefit you during the period your body needs to adapt and grow strong but then all growth stops. In order to progress you need to change it up, move it on to the next level, up the speed, up the distance, whatever it takes, make a change.
Every aspect of your life is impacted by these truths. Since weaning off my medication, I now feel I am in a position to kick it up a notch. Whilst my job and my life was excellent at supporting my recovery, now I am 90% recovered I am looking for new challenges.
Most of my clients are a two hour drive from my home. On any given day that equates to at least four hours in the car. Some days, with a multitude of visits I can be six hours driving. This to me is wasted time. It’s generally time you cannot do much else, you are concentrating on the road, following the sat nav and, well, driving. The only thing available to you at this time is to listen. So I have taken to listening to YouTube videos and Audible books. I can get through a whole book on a visit day. I have become obsessed with Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins, two very different men with one very similar belief, we need to grow. Spiritually we need to grow and personally. This is where I am at the moment.
My career and my designation at a member of the RICS requires me to complete a certain number of hours of professional development a year. Why would I not extend this requirement to other areas of my life? I have taken my health by the horns and I am currently pursuing a healthier lifestyle. I have never been an unhealthy eater, but there are things which creep into your diet which you know are not good for you. Whilst I take an 80/20 approach to my food, as I don’t think 100% rigorous attitude is good for the soul, there are a number of things which I have changed up. Very few of us eat the amount of vegetables we are supposed to. Believe it or not, potatoes aren’t on the list, therefore your fries don’t count as a vegetable portion. I will be honest, faced with a huge plate of vegetables I find it difficult, so I have started juicing. First thing every morning I will juice my vegetables and add one fruit for sweetness.
I am making sure I drink more. I have limited my coffee intake to one cup a day, but that cup is the best coffee I can afford, if I am going to cut down I am going to ensure that what I do have tastes absolutely mindbogglingly delicious. I have cut down on my crisps (my Achilles heel) and will only eat them on my designated ‘day off’. I have made a number of small changes which are having good results.
I am back at the gym and I have a detailed plan, which I actually spent time researching for myself, and writing, and adapting.
The most important aspect of this personal growth is that its not a phase, I aim for continued and sustainable growth in all areas of my life. To that end I have a goals book. I have a list of seven HUGE goals encompassing each area of my life, spiritual, career, family, personal, community. My goals, most importantly are specific, measurable and my next job is to detail the incremental actions I need to take to reach them.
In all of this there is one thing I am conscious of, and that is flexibility. Life has a way of presenting us with opportunities, and whilst my goals are where I think I want to be, I am sure the Universe has some plans I have never even contemplated. So within this journey I am open.
On a final note. If you want to grow you need to surround yourself with great people. We all have the lifelong friends who are really comfortable where they are, they have a routine which suits them, they don’t have their health as a top priority. Their job suits them and they don’t want to progress any further. They are a little overweight, but hey, their cuddly and don’t see any need to change that. I’m not saying get rid of those people, but I am saying limit your contact. If you spend your time with people of this calibre then the temptation is to let your own standards slip, it may be imperceptible at first, but it will happen, as sure as eggs is eggs.
If you wanted to improve your tennis game, would you play against partners who were better than you or worse? the same goes for every other aspect of your life, if you want to be better, then surround yourself with people who hold you accountable, who push you, who encourage you, people who are better than you, who you can learn from and look up to. It’s no good having someone who says “your perfect just as you are”, well you are, we all are, but where you are is not where you want to be. However well meaning and loving this statement is, and I know it probably comes from a place of good intent, in the long run it may hold you back. Being successful is a long and sometimes lonely path. Many of your peers, colleagues and friends will be excited for you at first, but as you move from success to success it wears thin. You are holding a mirror up and people don’t want to accept that they have settled for less. Or admit that they are in fact too lazy to make a change. There is no such thing as ‘set in your ways’, you are either growing or your dying. Which do you want to do?