Is it just me, or does life continue to feel like it speeds up with each passing year?
Throw some life goals and unfinished business into the mix, and the list of things to do just feels like a mountain of defeat. Before you start thinking, “Why try,” let’s look at the time you already have to hold a space for your growth.
Although time is a construct, we are each given the same amount of time in a day – yes, you and Oprah each get the same 24 hours! What’s most important to remember, is that we weren’t meant to live like a hamster on a wheel. We were created to love, learn and to grow. Growth comes in all shapes and sizes and is not always recognizable to others. Hell, it sometimes isn’t even recognizable to us until life gives us an experience that shows we have, in fact, evolved – even if just a little at first.
One of things I have felt myself and hear most often is, “How do I grow?” It’s not like we can press a magic button to download maturity, self-belief or any other desired traits. I might as well let the cat out of the bag right now and tell you that growth isn’t usually about the destination or the desired result. It’s most often about who you become in the process. And I’d recommend enjoying the hell out of that process, even when it sucks. It is all of those moments you’ll remember, refer to or chuckle at when you’ve reached a point of accomplishment and reflect on your journey. Alas, here are my top tips for growing personally and spiritually throughout your journey.
Whether you choose hard-copy or audio, reading is essential. Leaders are readers. I wish there was another way to drive this point home without being annoying or corny. I’ll say it again. Leaders are readers. Can you think of one industry in which those in leadership would not need to read anything? Even if you decide to start your own e-commerce business in the middle of nowhere, requiring little to no human contact, wouldn’t you still need to read? As a business owner myself, I know the dread that comes with not wanting to learn a certain aspect of my day-to-day operations. And while I’ll likely delegate an unwanted task to someone else, I should still have an idea of what it entails, and to do this, guess what? I still have to read.
I have so many favorite books that I cannot list them all, but here’s a peek!
Personal Growth (many also help with business)
Give yourself at least 20 minutes of reading time per day. When I read or listen to a book on a topic I love, I can really get lost in it. Sometimes it’s a topic you need and may grow to love it. The point is to start somewhere and just read! And don’t tell me about how busy your schedule is – I know you can find some gaps in your “wait time” – your commute, lunch break, just after waking, just before bed, sitting in the car line, at practice pickup, etc., are all nooks where you can read, even if just for 5 minutes here and there until you rearrange your schedule. Bottom line – just begin. You got this!
Create moments of silence to encourage inner peace. Do your best to feel gratitude for both the things you have and the things you’re waiting for. Meditation also reduces stress, hormone balance, improves well-being and gets your mind in check. Don’t worry about forcing yourself to not think about the negative garbage that can creep into your mind. It’s about recognizing the thoughts and letting them go. It’s so easy to run away will all the wrong thoughts, but this gets us nowhere. Whether you call it prayer or meditation, carve out just 5 minutes a day (preferably each morning at least) of solitude and your life will improve with ease as each day goes by.
Visualization is the process of creating visual imagery in our minds. We do it all the time. The question is, are you visualizing what you want? Or what you don’t want? Replaying the “tape” of what we don’t want serves no one. What we think about we bring about.
Energy flows where attention goes. I encourage you to be intentional for 24 hours and to only give attention to the the things that make you feel good. This can be difficult, but starting is necessary. Hold your visual images or scenes in your mind for at least 5 minutes. Set the timer if you need to. Do this daily, even more than once in a day if you can, and feel the sense of peace that consumes you from visualizing the ideal “you” and life that you want to embody.
Self-care is a must! As a wife and mom of 2, it is so easy to get caught up in what everyone else needs or wants. I’ve lost myself at times because I cared for them before I cared for myself. Think of the attention and love you give yourself as water in a glass. When your glass is overflowing, give your excess to others. Don’t empty your glass by giving others what you should really be giving yourself.
Believe me, I’ve tried to be superwoman, but the truth is – I’m not supposed to be (thank God because that would be exhausting!). I’m meant to care for and love myself first, so I can be fully present with the others who need me. Anything less than this will create anger, frustration and resentment, whether now or in the years to come – and that is no bueno.
This takes time to adopt if you are so used to being everything for everyone. But that stops today, OK? You are an individual before you become a partner, spouse or parent. You will be an individual when you die, so might as well live a life that feeds and nourishes you, the individual.
I am a firm believer that what we tell ourselves is what we will believe, positive or negative. It’s important to create positive affirmation statements that you see and read (even silently) daily. I keep mine visible so that I see them throughout the day. It serves as a reminder that I need positive self-talk on a consistent basis. One of my favorite people to listen to when it comes to affirmations is Louise Hay. You can find many of her webinars and guided meditations for free on YouTube, but you don’t have to follow any guru to talk more kindly to yourself. What types of things do you say about yourself now? Turn them into affirming, loving statements for a great way to start and end your day!
I hope you’ll make the time to start your growth journey. If you’ve found these tips helpful like I have, I’m confident you’re mindset will go from scarce to abundant, complacent to driven or fearful to confident!
Cicely Everson is a holistic medicine practitioner and high-performance health & lifestyle coach. Join her free Manifesto Monday Club at her website and receive weekly health and lifestyle tips via email.