Some people resist change, and spend most of their waking hours buttressing their “same old, same old” or the “familiar.” Their focus and energy goes to creating predictability, running their “hamster paths” of life, staying safe, reducing risks, and protecting their comfort zone. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this approach. In fact, it is their presumed stability and security that gives them their satisfaction and comfort in life.
But what happens when you shake up that very foundation, and challenge yourself by allowing—even creating—quite a bit of personal discomfort for the sake of personal growth and change? In prior posts, we talked about how cultivating a growth mindset actually conditions you to take on challenges and learn from them, and can, in fact increase your abilities and achievement. Remember, Dweck’s research showed how having a growth mindset allows you to thrive on challenge and see failure “not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”
I often use my trapeze analogy to remind clients that when you reach out for the “other bar” as you are swinging out over the abyss, the open space between MAY be terrifying…but, it also creates the openness and freedom to seize new opportunities, see new vistas, encounter new people, find new perspectives, feel exhilaration…hey, you’re FLYING, right?!
You swing out over the abyss, letting go of the familiar. On the “old” trapeze bar, you are letting go: of things and people you don’t need, hangups and toxicity that no longer serve you well. You mourn, you grieve, you hurt, you cry, you may even strike out. You close doors. You say good-bye. You “unfriend.”
But, wait, you say, when you move, aren't you just you taking your baggage with you—“you can’t outrun yourself,” you may have heard...?
But what if that’s not true? What if a “do over” really can produce a “new and improved” you?
When you head out in a new direction, you can’t help but put one foot in front of the other. You may feel unguided, uncertain, lonely, alone, unsure. But if you keep on walking, keep looking, stay open, seek…you will find.
In this mindset, the hand you choose (or are dealt) is just the starting point for development.
How can you learn to trust the process?
The hardest part of truly letting go, starting over, moving to a “new state” (a place, a way of being) is learning to trust the process. Connections will come. People will extend themselves to you. Opportunities will arrive. You will grab onto that bar on the other side of the abyss.
We have uncanny abilities as human beings to effectively reproduce the conditions we need for happiness, fulfillment, security, love, friendship, family, spirituality, a home. AND, most importantly, you need to learn to trust your own decisions. Don’t avoid growth and change because fear keeps you from moving forward.
“Make a decision, then make the decision right.”
So go on...Jump in the river, and swim! If you don’t, you won’t get across.
Only you can decide, after all, if the decision is right or wrong. Only you can dwell, and let those anchors drag you down. My friend, Linda McShan calls these hard knocks or lessons “growth notches,” like growing to become a strong, tall redwood tree. "They create a lot of experience, and strength, and growth," she adds.
Just a couple of notes, then, about learning to have confidence in your decisions, and not second-guessing yourself, as you put yourself in new and uncomfortable situations in order to grow.
1. Trust yourself. Making a decision sometimes forces you to grow in areas where you are not comfortable.
2. Choose to think differently. If you THINK you have made a mistake, stop dwelling on the idea of having made a wrong decision. No decision is irreversible, first, and second, you are doing the best the can on any given day, with the information that you have.
3. Don’t catastrophize. Don’t imagine the worst.
4. Reflect on what you are learning. Yep, sometimes you learn from your mistakes. But, sometimes, they aren’t really mistakes…you’re just learning from the decisions you make. Especially the scary ones!
5. Get comfortable with mistakes. No one is perfect. And, even “masters” in their field of endeavor started out NOT being good at what they do! Cut yourself some slack, all learning is good. Maybe you’re not “dumb,” you’re just “new.” Think about it; if you haven’t done it before, you are simply learning or doing something new. And that’s exciting.
Here’s a quote to leave you with: “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from simply making decisions.” ~Coach Karen
Here's the accompanying podcast on this topic: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/lmacknetwork/2020/12/11/waking-up-with-linda-mcshan-karen-bergh-think-thursday