“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” ― C. JoyBell C.
What does it mean to be successful? Many times we have a vision in our heads of having “arrived” at some poignant point in our lives where we have achieved all that we have set out to achieve. Finally, I have work-life balance, finally I am as healthy as I want to be, finally I have work that fills me with passion and I can execute with integrity and purpose. Finally I have the people in my life that I want. Finally I have financial security and I can give back. Finally. I am successful.
But whether you have actually arrived at this place, called “success” or are still striving in that direction, the problem with this day dream is this – what happens to your life once you have arrived? What then? We now have all that we ever wanted, but is it enough? How often we achieve exactly what we want in life, only to find ourselves mildly content for a bit and then largely discontented. Maybe because the dream wasn’t all the reality was cracked up to be. Maybe because what we really needed in life wasn’t the success vision we had pursued, but something entirely else. Or maybe the truth is a realization that if we aren’t growing, we are dying. Bottom line; open yourself up to the next passionate scheme that ignites your soul.
We need something else to strive for. The depths of our souls are endless and the possibilities of our passions are limitless. To live, we must grow. And to grow, we must change. We must take risks. We must take on new assignments, new beliefs, and new people. We will never “arrive” at a point in our lives where we won’t be uncomfortable or have to deal with difficult people or circumstances. This is because without trial and tribulation and pain, we can’t grow.
This reminds me of weight lifting. If you’ve ever had a particularly intense workout, you know that your muscles will be sore the next day (or several days!). Muscles grow only through the process of repairing damage to themselves. When you lift significant weight, you are actually tearing and damaging the muscles. They grow larger and more defined through the re-building process. Without the pain and damage, there could be no growth.
Even when we think we have “arrived”, we still should be open to new challenges and continue to expose ourselves to life. We will continue to suffer setbacks and damage and there will be moments of strife, grief and really hard work. But in the end, we’ll keep growing. And that is better than the alternative!
Don’t give up on something just because the going gets tough. Remember why you decided to pursue it to begin with. If it was something or someone you felt strongly about, try and reconnect to those feelings. Be honest with yourself. Is this still the path that spoke to you? Do you only want to give up because it is difficult? If so, take a pause, re-connect and get back to it. If however, after much reflection and rest, you still can’t stand what you are doing, this is probably a sign that you need to move onto to something else.
Don’t forget to rest – take time to revel in your success, reconnect with what is important and before jumping into the next phase, be sure it is something you are truly passionate about. Remember, just like the muscle, the growth occurs while resting.
Ultimately, life is about the steps on the path that we take, not the destination. So regardless of what you are pursuing, don’t ever lose this moment right now.