Katie Whitsed | 98five blogger
One thing I have come to accept as part of life, which is emphasised tenfold when living remotely, is life really does come in ebbs and flows, and you can’t possibly hold every part of your life together, all the time.
For one season you might need to really focus on your career, your work, and part of that decision means that other facets of your life, family, friends, hobbies, will be affected. Other times might be all about family and other significant relationships in your life, while other priorities need to take the back seat for that period of time.
This is actually OK. You do not need to have everything together, managing it all beautifully, all the time. If you are living life to the potential you were created for, then it is guaranteed there will be days when you feel like a failure. There will be days when things don’t work out, and you feel challenged, you feel like you’ve taken 10 steps back, you question your next best move, you feel like crawling back into bed, forgetting today, and starting again tomorrow.
That’s OK. All of it. The one thing I am learning as I celebrate victories and navigate the challenges, choices and crossroads of life, is that you need to learn how to grow; how to grow with maturity, with wisdom, and with ambition. It’s so important.
God created life as a way for us to grow, move, and be shaped into the best version of ourselves. We aren’t meant to be perfect, but we also aren’t meant to stay the same either. When thinking about growth, and how to grow successfully, here’s a thought or two:
1. Fail like a child
When children are learning to walk, they fall down 100 times, or more, but not once do they stop and think “this isn’t for me”, or “I can’t do this”, or “I don’t know how”. Children fall over, get back up, and keeping moving, always. We encourage our children to get up, keep trying, keeping going, “you can do it!”
Why does that stop when we grow up? We have all these barriers in our minds, telling ourselves there’s always something in our way stopping us from moving forward. Perhaps you have your own business, and things aren’t working out how you might have planned, or you’ve come to a road block, and just don’t know how there could possibly be a way around it. Someone you love is hurting you, over and over, and you don’t see a way forward. Maybe you’ve made a decision and you’ve come to realise it was the wrong one, or a move you have made has turn into a big mess, and you can’t possibly see how it could get better. You’ve tried again and again to get better results, trying every way you know how, and still no change.
The thing about limitations is they are only true the moment you start to believe in them.
Imagine the life of that child if they suddenly thought “this is too hard, I can’t possibly do it”. The rest of their life would be so drastically impaired. Never being able to reach their full potential, and experience life and all of its blessings to the fullest. Don’t let those barriers in your mind stop you from getting back up, trying again, and believing you can do it. Even if you fall down 100 times, you always have the choice to get back up, straighten your collar, and try again! Fail like a child. Never, ever give up.
“Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game” Babe Ruth
2. Keep constants in your routines
The amazing thing about growth is that when you do it well, you’re constantly changing, moving closer to the best version of yourself. Your ideas might change, your perceptions will certainly, and your beliefs may also change, or be further consolidated. When you’re going through change, which if we’re honest will be part of our lives forever, just at different rates depending on the season you’re in, it’s so important to keep a few solid constants in your life.
Firstly, I make sure God is part of my every day. I make time to acknowledge Him and thank Him, to learn about Him and to talk to Him.
Second to that, because I live away from my family and main support networks, I ensure that every week I have scheduled time to call loved ones, and spend time talking to them. Updating them on my life, hearing about their lives, and talking about things that really energise me, and refuel me. That is my safe space. Those together are my constant, my anchor, so I know as long as I have those two things in my life, no matter how rough the sea may be, my boat will always make it to its destination.
Whatever your routine may be, make sure you have constants in there, to anchor you when the winds blow.
3. Always reflect
Now reflection doesn’t always need to be taking time out to ponder, think and wonder about every move you make. It doesn’t have to be writing pages and pages each day in your journal. For me, I love to journal and write. That’s my way of improving my level of self-awareness, and ensuring I am always growing and learning.
When I talk about reflection, I mean taking time (it only needs to be a moment) to ask yourself a few important questions:
Was I happy with the outcome?
What worked well? Why did it work well?
What didn’t work well? Why didn’t it work well?
What can I do better next time?
Keeping an open mind and taking yourself through that process more often than not, will guarantee you better self-awareness, and increased ability to grow successfully.
Remember, it’s OK to take a few steps backwards, and even around the garden path a few times. As long as you’re self-reflecting, you will always learn something you didn’t know before. Albert Einstein tells us ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results’. Reflection is the key to avoiding the insanity trap. Think about what you do, and slowly, slowly, your bank of wisdom will be building up behind you. And the great thing about wisdom, is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. You sharing that wisdom with others around you, can help not only yourself, but others on their journey of growth too.
4. Surround yourself with the right people
In order to grow successfully, you need to be mindful of the people you are spending your precious time with. American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn teaches that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about that.
One of my favourite quotes, currently stuck on my bathroom mirror, reinforces this idea:
“…always choose people that are better than you. Always choose people that challenge you, and are smarter than you. Always be the student. Once you find yourself to be the teacher, you’ve lost it.” Sandra Bullock
I love this. Because it reminds me that life is growth. So surround yourself with:
People who energise you rather than drain you
People who challenge you in many ways
People who provide a non-judgemental and supportive space
People with wisdom
People who are older than you, and are in different life stages
People who are younger than you, who can show you different perspectives
People who honestly accept you. No matter what.
At the end of the day, your life has the potential to influence millions. Believe it. And use your days to step into as much of that potential as possible.
You are amazing.
You are loved.
And when you prioritise learning how to grow successfully, you can do it!
Katie believes in dreaming fearlessly and has a deep passion for seeing other people experience joy and stepping into living their best lives. Her love of writing and self-expression inspired her to create a blog as an avenue for sharing her journey in choosing joy. The kind of joy that makes you smile for no reason at all, the kind you don’t have words for — Joy unspeakable. heartfeltjoy.com | Follow Katie on Facebook | Instagram