“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.
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.
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 👇