I talk to people all the time who are overwhelmed. They are overwhelmed by all the things that are changing in their life, in their thinking, in their relationships. I tend toward this too; carrying a strong sense of what needs to change, what is changing… but always feeling about two weeks (or years!) behind where I want to be.
Are you just starting out on your journey of change? Overwhelmed by your sense of change being needed, but not sure where to begin? Or perhaps you are in the middle of it and so many things are shifting and moving that you feel unsteady and vulnerable, about to crash to your knees amidst it all?
Breathe. Still your racing mind. Grab some paper and a pen (or pencil for the commitment-phobes amongst us!) We need to prioritise our growth. We need to figure out how to concentrate our nurturing to see fullest growth.
Familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Let’s adapt it. We’ll create our own pyramid of growth needs. What is your most pressing growth need? What needs to happen before other things can? Maybe there are several issues interplaying – is there a common denominator? This can be your growth investment for now. This priority issue is your concern for now, today, this week… this month.
If your growth investment was a money box, what shape would it be? What symbol, or word perhaps, would represent your priority investment for the moment? Personally, I’m trying to grow in allowing contentment to be a part of my life, whether or not I’ve ‘earnt’ it by doing enough work or ‘achieving’ enough. It turns out I have a very flexible notion of ‘enough’ and this contributes to my personal overwhelm. So my growth money box is a steaming cup of tea – this is the practice that reminds me to slow down and notice my own life happening, to appreciate and enjoy my achievements as they unfold, rather than waiting for the race to be over before awarding my medals.
So you now have a money box identified – how are you going to invest in your growth area? What practices or behaviours mark a moving forward, stretch those new growing muscles? For me, every time I sit and have a cup of tea, quietly reflecting on my day in a non-critical way, this is paying into my money box. Every time I manage to limit my to-do list to something rational, or am able to peacefully accept unchecked items, I am investing in my growth.
If you are dealing with home, belonging or identity issues, perhaps your money box will take a different shape. Maybe paying in for you will look like a new purchase for your home, reaching out to a community or volunteer group, or spending some time expressing a part of your identity that normally hides.
If we want growth, we have to nurture. We have to find what practices or resources we need in order to grow. But first we have to determine which plant to focus on. What growth area do we want to focus on growing right now? And if then how do we invest in our own growth? One penny at a time…