3 Difficult Growth Spurts You Must Move Through in Order to Succeed

“You don’t need to change the world; you need to change yourself” — Miquel Ruiz

In this article you’ll learn:

  • Why pulling what you’ve planted is keeping you stuck

  • That challenges are invitations to your next level of growth (and a step-by-step guide on how to recognize the lesson)

  • How to recognize your shadow-self, and what it means for your growth

Personal growth isn’t for the faint of heart.

That’s why most people stay stuck in the same place.

It’s why they plateau and sink into average.

But you get what you ask for and if you’re screaming for an upgrade in your life, and doing the hard work to make it happen, your personal growth will be delivered.

It’s not going to be handed over in a pretty box with a ribbon.

There will be tears, there will be struggle, and there will be plenty of opportunity to confront the things you’ve been avoiding.

Each new stage in your personal growth requires a different version of you.

Which means, you will be required to move through difficult emotions, past traumas, and blockages that have been holding you back.

That simple fact alone is why most people stay stuck. We avoid things that are hard, we often take the path of least resistance.

But if you choose to take the road blocked with boulders, river crossings and tangled branches determined to hold you back, you will be delivered to the things you desire.

This article is both for you and me.

This journey has not been easy for me. Every day is a challenge, mostly of the mind.

I fail daily.

I do not have a steady income, I have been forced to come face to face with my character flaws, and I have been forced to do the thing that has always proved the most difficult for me:

To keep going.

The growth spurts below are ones that I have encountered personally and have either worked through or am in the middle of working through.

I share them with you so that you can realize these things happen to all of us, that they are a sign that you’re moving forward (even when it feels like you’re falling behind).

My goal is to lend a supportive shoulder, to say me too. I hope you find comfort in knowing you are not alone on your journey.

1. Don’t pull what you’ve planted

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones” — Confucius

Losing energy for my projects is arguably my most significant character flaw. I am the impatient, the unsatisfied, the shallow learner. I get bored easy and shift my focus right before the deep understanding sets in.

But to succeed, and really become a master, you must stick with something.

The biggest download from my intuition I’ve received recently is to just let it be. To let the seeds I’ve sown — my presence on Medium, my focus for helping people with their personal growth — germinate.

It is so easy for me to panic only days after I’ve started a new project and set it out into the world. Then I go through my garden and pull everything up because the fear of not being good enough and failing, is so strong.

It’s counterproductive and exhausting.

When you’re in a personal growth spurt, or starting something new, it’s easy to second guess yourself and want to start all over with a new idea.

But sometimes the best thing we can do is to iterate on an idea that’s already been planted.

So many people lose steam after they’ve done the difficult work of planting their seeds, that they start pulling what they’ve sown and go about planting something new.

Why does it always feel easier to start than it does to keep going?

My biggest lesson has been: water what you’ve planted, tend to the garden you worked so hard to sow, weed out the bad, care for the ideas.

2. Remember that challenges are lessons in disguise

“It may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou

I dive deep into this topic in this article, but I always seem to forget that challenges — emotional, physical, mental, financial — are all necessary steps to accomplishing your goals.

When you set out to accomplish a goal, a few things are set into motion:

  • The Universe conspires to make your goal happen, which means

  • You’ll need to become a different version of yourself, and

  • You’ll be forced to face challenges in order to grow into this next version of yourself

We can’t expect to become the person with the accomplishments we seek as the same person we are now. If that were the case, we’d already have the thing we want.

But since that isn’t how it works, the world is going to throw situations at you that force your personal growth so you can accomplish your goals.

If you don’t grow through these challenges, you’ll stay stuck in place until you’re ready to move to the next level of growth.

On paper, it’s so very simple and it makes complete sense. But in the real world, when we encounter these struggles and hardships, they easily knock us off course and break our self-confidence.

In order to combat this, I wanted to share with you my system of looking at struggles and hardships:

1. What is the central theme of the issue? Is it financial, relational, trust, self-esteem?

2. Where else has this issue come up for me in the past?

3. What are my feelings/emotions around this issue and what can I learn about myself?

So, for instance, my biggest hold up recently has been financial. I’m struggling trying to figure out the best way to make money as a writer and personal coach. As with anything, it takes trial and error and fine-tuning.

It’s not easy, especially when you have bills and financial obligations.

But I’ve felt a consistent block around making and earning money through my writing, and asking people for money in this new venture. It feels vulnerable and daunting — what if I’m not good enough?

Through my constant financial instability and troubles, I’ve realized very important things about myself:

  • Historically my relationship with money has always been volatile, growing up as an entrepreneur’s daughter meant that money didn’t always come easy and it was always on the forefront of my families mind. Money was a trouble maker.

  • I don’t trust money and I don’t trust when people give it to me, as I always feel like it’ll be used against me, therefore I hate asking for it and feel better making my own.

  • I have a hard time measuring my value without money, or a job to backup my worth. It’s difficult for me to see the value of my work here without getting paid for it, or doing it as a job. But I’m learning.

All of these realizations have come out of my continued struggles with money these last few months, and by recognizing and understanding them I can move through them to the other side.

I’m working through my blockages so that I can move up to the next level of my personal growth.

3. Recognize (and accept) your shadow-self

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

We are all like icebergs. Only a small portion of our true-selves are revealed in the light, and the rest of us is hidden far beneath the surface.

I’ve talked about this a lot, the parts of myself I pushed away when I was young in order to fit in and to make my way through life. That side of myself turned out to be a huge iceberg.

As I’m getting older and pushing farther into my truth, more and more of my shadow-self is being revealed. My truth is becoming more obvious and my inner guide is becoming louder.

I picture this as that moment the iceberg begins to flip to reveal it’s hidden underbelly.

As we make our way through life, and on our personal growth journey, we will continually bump into things that force us to choose: reveal your shadow-self and your truth, or keep it hidden.

It’s in these moments that parts of your identity are either maintained or pushed aside for something new.

Ultimately, you get to choose who you’re going to be and what parts of yourself will flourish and which will stay beneath the surface. The point here is to recognize what parts of yourself want to come forward.

This is a recognition of your shadow, and that your identity isn’t fixed. You’re allowed to change your mind and allow parts of your identity, which were once hidden, to come forward and be seen.

Conclusion

We will encounter numerous personal growth spurts throughout our lives.

Some will be small, others will be massive.

Regardless, they will be difficult and they will either force you to change and grow, or you will decide it’s not the right time and you will stay the same.

If you’re being called to grow through any of the challenges above, sit with it, and realize that these are invitations into your next level or personal growth.

If you’re ready to forge ahead, you will do the difficult work. If not, you’ll remain the same, but know these things will continue to come up until you grow through them.

Take Action!

Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇

Click here to get the Feel > Do > Be exercise now!

You're Not Bad at Relationships, Your Relationship With Yourself is Bad (Here's How to Fix It)

“Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it’s all about.” — Brene Brown

You push people away. How could you let someone close enough to hurt you (again)?

Your relationship with your parents is strained, but no one is willing to talk about it (HELLO family-issues).

You’re a master at playing hard to get. So hard to get, in fact that literally no one will ever catch you.

I’m just not good at relationships, it’s easier to be alone anyways.

Or so you thought.

Relationships and connection are a fundamental part of living life, and give us meaning far beyond anything we could come up with alone. If you:

  • Push people away

  • Refuse to talk about deep issues with people in your life

  • Tend to yell and scream when your views are challenged

  • Are better at lobbing insults than you are at talking calmly

  • Obsess over perfection and material things

Your relationship with yourself is likely the cause. We can only connect with people as deeply as we’re able to connect with ourselves.

We are the most obese, the most addicted, the most anxiety and depression riddled we’ve ever been. It’s safe to say that many of us struggle with the relationship we have with ourselves and would rather numb those feelings than face them.

Unfortunately silence and numbing breeds more feelings of disconnection, anxiety and depression. If you’re ready to make reality-bending change to your relationships, read on.

Paradigm Shift:

Par•a•digm shift: (noun) a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

Around 140 AD the Greek astronomer, Ptolemy theorized that the earth was the center of the universe and all other planets, including the sun, orbited around it.

This view of the universe sustained for 3 centuries and was adopted by the Catholic Church.

In 1514 Copernicus laid out a basis for his heliocentric view of the universe, placing the sun at its center, with all other planets, including the earth, orbiting around it. He kept his theories quiet, for fear of retaliation from the Catholic Church. It took 39 years for him to publish his major manuscript of the theory.

This major shift in astrological theory fundamentally changed our worldviews and the direction of astrophysics altogether. This kind of radical, reality-bending realization is referred to as a Paradigm Shift.

This is exactly the kind of shift you need to undertake if you hope to make positive change in your relationships, and in turn, your life.

Current View: (Perfection)

I can’t be myself in relationships, I don’t want people to get close enough to hurt me.

Paradigm Shift: (Courage)

In order to create true connection, I have to have the courage to show up authentically (even with my messy, unruly parts).

“My value was once ensured by submitting myself to the traditional authorities.” But now “I negotiate my value every day. Hence the anxiety of contemporary man.” — Yan Dall’Aglio, TED Talk, Love: You’re Doing it Wrong

Perfection is the plague of modernity. With the establishment of the modern market place, we’ve replaced the engrained value of individuals in the community with the need to prove our value to people in order to find our place in the world.

Now we’re able to choose what we want based on something’s value, and that has spilled over into our social lives as well.

Before modernity, a woman or man’s place in the world was defined by sex, age, or social status. Our inherent value was based solely on our ability to play our role in the community.

It was easy to feel value because our roles were defined by traits we deemed as unchangeable — I am a woman, a sister, a wife, and my value is based solely on simply existing in these roles.

Yan Dall’Aglio goes on to explain that with the onslaught of modernity, humankind was overwhelmed by a massive identity crisis. It completely unhinged traditional ideals of family, love and relationships.

Now individuals are able to “value or disvalue any attitude, any choice, any object” but with the implication that others are now able to value or disvalue us based on the same terms.

Our individual value was once ensured if we simply followed the traditions of the community and family. Now our value is negotiated “on the free market of individual desires.”

No wonder we obsess over gold watches, teal Lamborghinis and the asses of Kim, with the waist of Kourtney. We’re told that all of these things increase our value to others.

Unfortunately, now that we’re in control of obtaining things that increase our value, and changing ourselves to increase our value, we have become obsessed with perfection.

The struggle is that perfection is not really achievable, nor is it something we can maintain. Eventually we will meet people who do not value us even though we have done everything we can to increase our value to others, and this is where the struggle happens.

The only way to achieve true connection is by having the courage to show up as our imperfect selves. We cannot find connection when we don’t see our inherent value of simply being who we are.

We must understand that being human is a struggle. We can never achieve perfection and we kill our ability to find connection when we strive for that unattainable goal.

Once we become honest with who we are, and accept ourselves for our messy, tangled imperfections, we can move forward with being vulnerable to others.

The most important thing to remember, however, is that our value is something we must hold onto regardless of others perceived value of us.

We are not less because someone does not love us for our imperfections. We are more for simply having the courage to be ourselves in the context of a world that might not like it.

Current View: (Certainty)

Everyone else is wrong in his or her opinions, my views of myself and world are correct and unshakeable.

Paradigm Shift: (Compassion)

When I yell the loudest, refuse to listen, or judge others, it’s a way to get rid of the shame I feel about myself and discomfort I feel about the pain of being me.

“Shame is really easily understood as the fear of disconnection.” — Brene Brown

Somewhere along the line I discovered that our relationships with others is just a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.

When we spend our time throwing judgment, insults, and blame at the people around us, it’s a reflection of how we feel about ourselves.

When you hear someone lobbing insults at other people, just imagine the internal dialogue they must have.

Unfortunately, judgment is an inherent quality of being human. From an evolutionary standpoint, it’s a survival tactic. Early humans had to quickly and efficiently judge things to decide if something or someone was dangerous or not.

Life was not easy for early humans and we survived because we lived in complex and highly entwined communities. We had to be really good at deciding if something was a threat to our safety and our social status.

So in turn, the quickest way of discovering the things in your life that make YOU feel the most shameful is by listening to the things you silently think or feel about other people.

This might sound like torture, but it’s actually the best way to heal shame. Shame is often hidden beneath layers of internal dialogue and long-held beliefs or stories we tell ourselves, which makes it impossible to cure.

Once we can see shame for what it is (by analyzing the judgments or emotional reaction we have towards other people), we can start doing work on it.

Compassion for others is an inside job and its absolutely essential to building relationships. We cannot even begin to have compassion for other people until our internal dialogue is on point.

These judgments and emotions we feel towards other people are often a direct symptom of the things we feel about ourselves. Things like not being:

  • Good enough

  • Smart enough

  • Attractive enough

  • Successful enough

Connection is a result of feeling those things and knowing you are worthy of love regardless.

Connection is made through being vulnerable in who we are and knowing that despite our flaws, we’re worthy of connection and love.

When we believe we’re enough we turn down the volume on our own judgments towards ourselves and in turn quiet the thing inside that ridicules others as well.

Current View: (Pretend)

It’s easier to pretend the things I DO have no impact on other people, than it is to admit I’m just having feels.

Paradigm Shift: (Connection)

The choices I make, the things I say (or don’t say), have an impact on those around me. I’m responsible for myself.

We end up so guarded by fear that we refuse to let anyone in that could possibly hurt us. When we do let people in and feel that twinge of vulnerability, thediscomfort is enough that we end up hurting others:

  • We can’t be faithful

  • We let people in and then disappear

  • We say things that draw people closer and then pretend we never said those things in the first place

  • We keep eyes on the exit

We can be so destructive with our misguided fear.

When we shy away from being real with our emotions and the things we’re feeling, we can end up doing hurtful things to other people. Unfortunately, this is a toxic cycle.

We feel shame about who we are, so we can’t be real with people, and when we start to have feelings for others, we’re terrified that they’ll see us with all our imperfections.

So then we leave, or hurt them before they can hurt us. Or worse yet, we keep people on the backburner, mildly warm to us but never letting them in close enough to really start something.

The unfortunate part in this is that we can’t build real, deep connection with others until we show up authentically, in all of our vulnerability and brokenness.

We’re basically stuck in this swirling disaster of “I’m not good enough for other people, so I pull away before anyone can prove to me that I’m worthy of love regardless of my flaws, and so I never find love, which must mean I’m unlovable.”

GOODNESS. What a difficult way to go through this life.

We end up leaving a trail of half-baked relationships, angry-exes and unkempt relationships in our wake and then wonder why we feel so alone.

You can change your relationships, and in turn, your life, by first changing your relationship with yourself. You do this by harnessing these three things:

  • The courage to show up authentically.

  • Building compassion for myself by analyzing the judgment and emotions I feel towards others so I can understand the areas in my life I feel the most shame and then working on it.

  • Allowing myself to connect with other people and taking responsibility for things I do.

In his final days on earth, marooned in the Alaska bush, starving and alone, Christopher McCandless wrote in his journal:

“Happiness only real when shared”

McCandless’ real-life journey to self-discovery was traced and written by Jon Krakauer in the timeless book Into the Wild. In his journey, McCandless shirks all of his worldly possessions, including deep connection, which he believed could be just as treacherous as our infatuation with money.

It was only when he was stuck against his will in the Alaska backcountry, alone and starving to death, that he realized our happiness is only real when it’s shared with other people.

Without even knowing it, we’re starving ourselves for true, deep connection by putting ourselves in a psychological “backcountry” where our toxic relationship with ourselves is what keeps everyone else out.

Until we’re able to untangle our shame and show up with courage as our messy, authentic selves, we’ll continue to starve for connection, just as McCandless did in his final days.

Connection is the ultimate reason for our very existence, it provides meaning and purpose for our lives.

If your relationships are struggling, tense, or non-existent, you’re missing out on a fundamental experience of being human.

Connection and relationships are for everyone, regardless if you think you’re worthy of love or not.

You are worthy of love and belonging, it’s time to come out of the woods.

Take Action!

Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇

Click here to get the Feel > Do > Be exercise now!

9 Hard Truths You Must Learn to Start Loving Your Life

In the matter of years I have gone from a woman suffering the symptoms of being out of touch with her truth and identity, to owning my story and living an authentic life. I’m steadily designing my life and my future, living life on my terms and learning how to make a living doing it.

It is freedom, it is joyous.

Its still hard, I will never stop growing, but my life feels right for the first time in a long time.

These are 9 truths I had to learn before I was able to start living a life I love.

1. You are Ready to Be and Have Whatever You Want, Right Now

I had to let go of the idea that I needed to be thinner, smarter, better, and more perfect before I decided to start living the way I wanted to. I decided to be happy, and be the woman I wanted to be before anyone gave me permission or invited me to do so.

I just started where I was, with what I had: thick thighs, empty bank account and imperfect life. When we own our story we are freed by it.

2. Truth, Identity and Authenticity is a Path, Not a Destination

When I realized I didn’t know who I was, what I stood for, or what I wanted to be in this life (after more than one identity crisis), I was horrified that I didn’t know my truth, and didn’t know how to live authentically.

I only recently realized that truth, identity and authenticity is a process, it is not a final destination. I would look at businesses and people who had made up their minds, who were standing for something and being bold and authentic, and I would compare them to myself, a woman who stood for very little, and didn’t know what was authentic to me.

When I understood truth #1, I gave myself permission to start living without having it all figured out. It was only recently that I realized my truth, my identity and authenticity is a process, not something I was ever going to arrive to.

I just have to keep doing, to keep speaking and living in ways that feel right to me at the time, and that is how I live truthfully and authentically. My identity is found in the doing, it is not a fixed point.

I am always changing, and thus my truth and identity will always change. I may become a hypocrite. I may change my mind. But it’s fine, because that is the process.

Identity therefore is an action, we are what we do, not what we think we’ll do.

3. When We Live Based on What We ‘Should’ Be Doing, We Will Always Be Chasing

There is a place many people arrive to where every day is spent doing what must be done, what should be done. We are simply living our to-do lists and then collapsing on the couch, exhausted.

When I decided to slow down, and do things for me, instead of doing things because I should be doing them, I started living my life on my terms. I removed myself from the rat race, and put myself in my own lane.

It was only after I started living for myself did I realize that this is the #1 key to living an authentically and to becoming exceptional in life and in business.

When I stopped living for everything I “should” be doing, I stopped paying attention to what others were doing and realized that most of our “shoulds” are wrapped up in competing and keeping up with other people. They are not authentic to ourselves.

Living from a place of “shoulds” keeps us chasing after other people, reacting to what the competition is doing and keeps us living outside of truth.

4. My Identity Isn’t Fixed

Many people believe that who they are right now is who they must be. This is simply not true, you are not required to be who you were yesterday or even 5 minutes ago.

When I finally gave up alcohol, my behavior proved to me that just because I once considered myself a “drinker” did not mean I had to be for the rest of my life.

What we repeatedly do is who we are. Therefore, our behavior and our actions dictate our identity, not the other way around.

So start behaving as the person you want to become behaves, and your identity will follow.

5. We Must Practice Self-Reliance

Being self-reliant is the only way to start living an authentic and truthful life, but we must practice self-reliance every day. It is a muscle that needs training.

When I decided to travel to Costa Rica for 3 months alone, without my husband, I was practicing self-reliance. It taught me that I can do hard things alone, that I can survive without my loved ones (though difficult and less enjoyable), and that I can make decisions for myself.

We must practice self-reliance in the comfort of our daily lives because there will be a time when we will have to rely on ourselves in difficult times. If we don’t practice self-reliance daily, we will flounder in the tough situations.

6. I am NOT My Emotions

Gaining a meditation practice forced me to become the observer to my own ego and my emotional reactions. This gave me incredible insights into who I am and how I was living from a place of lack.

It made me realize that I am not my emotional reactions to life and people. I am the observer of my emotional reactions. This is one of the most powerful distinctions we can make. It allows us to own our emotional reactions and understand ourselves on a completely different level.

It forced me to take responsibility for myself, to own my truth and learn to speak it.

7. Speaking My Truth is What Sets Me Apart

I was once scared of my story and the ugly parts of my truth. I was living my life passive-aggressively. I would react to the world and then stuff down my emotions and carry on.

When I learned to finally own my truth, and recognize my emotional reactions as a sign to people and situations not lining up to my truth, I gave myself freedom. I gave myself the gift of choosing how I wanted my life to feel every day.

There is power in saying ‘no, this doesn’t line up with my truth’ and then walking away from the people and situations that no longer serve your truth. We need more people willing to speak up for their truth, and willing to own their story.

Speaking our truth is the only thing that has changed the world. Vulnerably sharing our truth with the world gives other the power to speak their truth.

This is your invitation to start speaking yours.

8. Owning Your Story is the Surest Way to Control the Ending

I had to learn to own where I had been, and the person I am in order to start living a more fulfilling and happy life. When I stepped into my story, this forced my hand, and effectively eliminated people and situations that weren’t moving me forward.

I had to realize that I will not make everyone happy, and that not every situation (even the ones I wanted), was meant for me in order to find the people and life that are.

We write a better ending for our story when we decide to start being the heroine or hero of our own.

9. Deciding How I Want My Life to Feel Everyday is How I Got the Life I Wanted

No amount of goal setting, or vision boarding was getting me a life I wanted. My life still felt unfulfilling after I had achieved the goals and got the job, or the promotion, or whatever.

I was running in goal setting circles.

It was only when I got clear on how I wanted my life to feel every day, that I was able to actually get a life that meant something to me. After I figured out I wanted my life to feel, I was able to construct a career that was actually fulfilling because it’s authentic to me.

Conclusion

Life is a moving target. It is a process of trial and error, growth and setbacks.

It is not a destination.

You will grow, you will change, you will make declarations that were once your truth and that now make you shudder.

You will be a hypocrite. You will be wrong.

But if you are making decisions from a place of your truth, as stands right now, you will walk the path you are meant to walk.

And that is the point.

Take Action!

Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇

Click here to get the Feel > Do > Be exercise now!