How are you choosing to grow?

Clients come in. They sit across from me and ask why things are not getting better. Why is their stress overwhelming? Why are they disengaged from achieving their goals? Why can’t they think of anything to do that would make a difference?

Then I begin to share all of the tools I can to help them with their process of change. We talk about the ways that have become routine and what they are ready to shift. I turn the question around and ask them this: How are you choosing to grow?

The responsibility is on all of us as individuals to make the choices

to live healthy lives and grow in the direction of our dreams.

How growth occurs is way beyond the nature verse nurture debate. We know that the expression of our DNA occurs based on experiences. We literally grow through the influences and exposures of our lives. (If you don’t know this, check out epigenetics). There is very little of our health (mind and body) that is predestined. The more we do, think, and feel a thing, the more of that thing we become.

If we want to be really good at something, we can do it more and see ourselves growing in that direction.

If something isn’t working for us, we can grow miserable, tired, depressed, hopeless, and ill. When we become aware that we are growing in a way not well suited to us, we can choose to grow in a different direction.

Novelty goes a long way. Making a change begins with the choice to try, to potentially fail, but to grow through the experience of something new. If we want to reinforce a change, we must repeat the experience, a lot, even when we can’t see or feel a difference right away.

New, however, can be scary. Familiarity feels safe.

The subtleties of change can allude our awareness. Making a choice to grow into more of who we want to be, who we really are at our core, requires trust. If we don’t take the time to stop and think about where we have been, how we are doing, and where we want to go, we will grow without direction. This could be a wonderful journey, or we could live to regret opportunities not taken.

My choice is to grow in the direction of greater ease. I’m tired of trying so hard. One of my action steps to support this intention is to devote more time to meditation. For me this is the art of being easy on myself, letting go of expectations, practicing self-love. Going intentionally for ease is a foreign place for me having tried so hard for so many years. Do it right Jess. Get more skills Jess. Be the best you can be Jess.

The novelty of the experience is a bit scary. How will this play out? Can I find more of myself by taking the pressure off? I am dedicated, despite not knowing the outcome. I am practicing trust.

So, how are you choosing to grow?

My Passion Was A Problem

To begin my blog series focusing on personal and professional development I would like to share a story. It’s about a retreat I attended.

The experience was a 10-day immersive exploration into how our unconscious worldviews contribute to stress. I knew attending would help me better help my clients in their own growth.

My unconscious issues rose to the surface on day one when we were asked to share our name, where we were from, and our passion.

It was my passion that pointed to the problem. While others were chiming in about art, and nature, family and travel, I declared my passion for…wait for it…

Self-care. (Insert lame face).

Self-care!? C’mom what kind of passion is that? 

It dawned on me that my consistent attention towards managing my stress with self-care (hence the passion for it) was evidence that coping had become my way in the world. Then I learned the antidote to coping with stress is to heal the deep down stuff that was driving me and ultimately impacting my ability to be fully present.

This was a little bit of a shock not only because I deserve a P.hD in self-care practicies,  but also because I am the type of person who is always working on myself through reflection, personal therapy, coaching, mentorship, continuing education, and business development. I thought my masterful self-control to shape my life with a balance of health habits was evidence that I was doing ok.

I thought self-care was the best way to cope with my recurring symptoms, symptoms I am sure many of you can relate to: stress, anxiety, overwhelm, depression, racing thoughts, negative self-talk, the need to do-do-do, and a host of limiting beliefs. The trouble was clear. I needed to heal some of the old unconscious wounds in order to free up some of my life-force that would enable me to feel a passion for more than just “getting through” by taking extra good care of myself.

The retreat allowed me to move myself many huge leaps forward. It also changed the way I worked with clients. If you relate to the exhausting nature of non-stop coping with stress, even if you practice good self-care, let’s talk. It could be a life changing move in the direction of your personal and professional dreams.