You won't grow from reading this post.

IMG_1975We're revealing a dark secret today: Reading this post is not actually going to result in you growing.  And before you run off to read a post somewhere else (how could you!) - neither will reading any other post focused on growth.  Coming here each week and reading our content won't make you grow.  It won't move you toward the future that you envision for yourself when you really let yourself dream.

Sure, we might stretch your perspectives and attitudes (on a good day!).  And we might have you consider new things to take on.  But those will all be incremental at best, and in line with what is predictable.

No, if you really want to grow, if you really want to move forward, there is no other option: you have to get comfortable with the struggle.  Those of us that come naturally geared toward personal growth like to read content that relates to new insight.  It feels good to experience an epiphany and see things in a new light.  But that's usually as far as we go. I know this, because I did it for 32 years.  32 years of reading new insight, feeling great about what I'd read, patting myself on the back, and then applying it incrementally to where I was currently at.

It lead to more of the same.  For example, reading about the power of simply putting myself out there, I would acknowledge this, and then take on the easiest way I could of putting this into action.  What the heck, I'll instant message that friend of mine that I haven't talked to in a few months.

I wouldn't pick up the phone and call him, and I certainly wouldn't say hello to a stranger in the street.  Those things were impossible, for a myriad of reasons (a phone call is intrusive, my friend was too busy, time zones conflicted, people in coffee shops don't want me talking to them, I'm rude, I'm an interruption, etc.).  My action was consistently in line with what was predictable, and always accommodating of my existing coping mechanisms.

The fact is, I had become masterful at avoiding the struggle.  I would read self-development books, and then put that information into practice within my existing comfort zone.

The thing is that life begins outside of our comfort zone.  So while I was becoming more effective and efficient within my comfort zone, it was still the same.  It wasn't until I had this reflected to me that I could see that I was just repeating what was familiar and comfortable.

And holy crap, did I hate it when my coach started recommending that I do things that were outside of that comfort zone.  I gave her a gazillion reasons why I couldn't do it.  She listened quietly (how infuiriating!), and told me to start using the word "won't" instead of "can't".  I hated that too!  That meant that it was entirely on me - not on my circumstances.

Thus began the start of my struggles.

Struggles define us (here's a great blog post about our signature struggles).  Our past struggles have created the person that we are today.  Over time, our socialization has us develop coping strategies so as to avoid struggles and say safe with our fears protected.  But there's no empowerment in that.  There's no excitement.  There's no growth.

Struggle is essential to growth.  Look for places that you can start struggling, and embrace that struggle.  It is a sign that you are taking on something new.  It's an indication that you are doing something different.  It means that you are living!

By all means, keep reading our content - but start taking action outside of your comfort zone.  It's the only way to create something new.

Where have you struggled in the past, and how has that defined the person you are today?  Where are you currently struggling, and what does that struggle reveal about what you want in your life?