(Estimated reading time 3 minutes)
Personal growth is less like following a paved road and more like wandering through a dense forest, sometimes unsure if you’ve lost the path. It can feel like progress by inches. It is feeling uncertain at times that you are moving forward at all. Then come the deep-breath moments when there is a break in the trees, and you can clearly see what lies ahead.
I had a couple of deep-breath moments this week where I could see that I have been on the right path, despite the struggle at times to inch forward.
Personal growth is not comfortable. It is about letting go of old ways of doing things and trusting yourself to try something new or do something known in a new way before you have any evidence that you can handle it. It can feel like you are setting yourself up to fall flat on your face.
Personal growth experience 1
I was interviewed this week by Joie Garrity. I decided to show up to the interview as myself and just trust whatever came to me at the moment. I am sure some of you are thinking, “So what?” For me, it was a big deal. I always refer to my notes. They are my armour against feeling and being vulnerable. This was the first time I’ve decided to trust myself that much.
You can check out that interview below and see how I did. For me, it felt like I could suddenly see that all the work I’ve been doing on learning to trust myself and on building my speaking skills has resulted in growth I hadn’t noticed was there until that moment I pushed beyond my usual way of doing things and took the risk of just showing up and being seen.
Personal growth experience 2
I decided to compete in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest. I wanted to trust myself enough to do this speech without referring to my notes. This was very scary for me. I have never got through a whole speech before, without referencing what I’d written. I spent the entire day before the area level of this contest, wondering why on earth I had put myself in this position. I felt sick.
Now that it is done, I’m celebrating trusting myself enough to try speaking without checking that I was following my written script. I did the whole speech without checking my notes and ended up coming second in the competition! I was thrilled knowing that it is always easier to push through self-limiting beliefs and behaviour after you’ve already done it once. This was a significant first step in the ongoing journey to speaking without notes.
Personal growth is not easy. It is not comfortable. It doesn’t always feel like you are making progress. Courage is pushing through the perceived or actual failure. It is setting aside the thoughts that you should give up. Courage is finding the will to keep on moving forward even if it feels like it is only inch by inch.
“If nothing changes, nothing changes. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting. You want change, make some.”
Courtney C. Stevens, The Lies About Truth