What must grow? And what must go?
Does this sound familiar?
It’s New Years Day. You’ve set a bunch of resolutions, and this year, they’re really going to stick. You’ve done your homework; you know what needs to be done, and you’ve got a systematic plan of action in place.
You’re excited. You’re ready.
And then nothing happens. Or maybe some stuff happens for a few weeks, but then it quickly peters out.
Well my friend, what you’ve got going on is a good old forest/trees situation.
Sometimes we can be so focused on the nitty-gritty granular aspects of achieving what we want in life, we forget to look at the big picture. Even with the best of intentions, we may still have limiting patterns of belief and behavior that are hindering our progress. And to see them, we have to take a big step back, and ask ourselves:
If I’m to achieve my goals:
What in my life must grow?
And what in my life must go?
Let's look at an example from my life:
Back in February of 2022, I decided to relaunch the Expansive Woman Project to include a wide range of free and paid training options. I took a growth marketing class to help me get the word out to as many women as possible. I made many lists of things I needed to do to get the project up and running. I collected testimonials from former clients and trainees. I just needed to build a new website and create some ads and I’d be on my way.
I was excited. I was ready.
And then nothing happened.
Well, it seems I was experiencing what writer Steven Pressfield calls “The Resistance”. He describes it this way:
“Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away and prevent us from doing our work.”
Yup. That about sums up what I was feeling. So, I distracted myself for a little while, taking on new projects, worrying about things that are beyond my control, and placing my focus anywhere and everywhere except where it needed to be.
I allowed myself to behave in this unproductive way for a month or so. But I knew I couldn’t let it continue. The problem (or advantage) with being a coach is that you recognize when you’re playing self-defeating games.
I knew I had to break out of my destructive pattern. The nice thing about being a coach is you have access to tools. And I reached for an old favourite: What must grow and What must go.
I took a few days to ponder, and here’s what I discovered.
What must grow?
My willingness to be vulnerable. I’ve been working by myself for a long time. I’m not used to sharing my fears with other people, I’m used to sticking my head down and getting on with it. But I knew in this case, I needed support. So, I asked 7 generous and talented women to join me in this journey. They now make up my Advisory Board.
My willingness to fail. Like any new venture, the Expansive Woman project might not work. I have to be willing to do it anyway. And that begins by focusing on our members and their needs, rather than myself and my fears.
My willingness to struggle. Launching anything with a big vision behind it is hard. It will take a lot out of me. There will be wins and losses, ups and downs, and many lessons learned. So, I must take it one step at a time. And take care of myself along the way.
What must go?
Clickity, click, click, clicking. I don’t know about you, but my favourite way to distract myself is to click over to the internet for a few moments. What’s going on on Twitter? Does ModCloth have any new dresses I might like? How’s my 3rd cousin’s Greek vacation going and are there pictures of it on Instagram? What’s the weather forecast for the weekend? How old is Billie Eilish? To get a grip on my clicking, I’ve implemented a schedule for clicking. Morning, lunch, mid-afternoon and after dinner and that’s it.
Perfectionism. I am not perfect (God knows), and neither is the Expansive Woman Project. That’s just the way it is. I will embrace the magic of “not yet”. As in, we’re not perfect… yet. (BTW, if you have any ideas on how we can be more perfect, feel free to reach out with suggestions!)
The need to know what will happen tomorrow. This is a big one! Who wouldn’t like to embark on a new project knowing exactly how it will turn out in the end? But of course, this is impossible. The only way to combat this pattern is to bring yourself into the present moment as often as possible. And I’m doing that with a 10-minute meditation, twice a day. It’s a slow process, but bit by bit, I feel myself letting go of the need to know.
Now think about where you’re stuck in your life. Then take a day or two to contemplate.
What must grow? And what must go? And what are you going to do about it?