Early mornings are a part of life I Love. Especially when I wake up well rested and refreshed. I will often stand in the driveway and enjoy the absence of unnatural sounds and all the moving about that tends to begin only moments later. There’s only the peek of the sun. The lively singing of the birds, and the reveille sung by a distant neighbor’s rooster. There’s a magnolia tree in my yard that struck my conscience this morning and I couldn’t help but take the lesson I was given with gratitude.
I remember having a conversation with the previous homeowner about this magnolia tree when we were looking at what would become our home. He explained that the tree was a gift that started in a small pot. They decided to plant it and for some reason this tree has become one of my favorite parts of our property. When we purchased our home the tree wasn’t very tall, maybe twelve feet at the most. This past spring I noticed it released one blossom at the very top and as weird and corny as it may sound I found that to be very exciting. This morning I couldn’t help but notice how much taller the tree has gotten since the summer of 2015. I mean it’s like its growth just crept up on me. One day it was this short sapling, and this morning I’m standing there looking at it admiring it’s growth much like it’s a growing child heading into those pre-teen years. This really lead me to think deeply about growth and it just caused me to gain a greater understanding of the power of small incremental steps. Many times when we take on new challenges and we set new goals we start looking for immediate visible results. We work hard for a week, a month, or even a year. If we don’t see a clear tangible amount of change we begin to become discouraged and begin to believe that we are on the wrong path or what we are trying isn’t possibly going to work. Once we set a plan in motion, having a clear vision of the final destination and how we plan to get there, we just have to fight to make forward progress every single day. Knowing that the evidence of growth isn’t always immediately seen. Growth becomes obvious over time. Healthy growth is just unique like that, it takes time. Weeds on the other hand grow fast. Have you ever prepped soil for a garden, planted the seeds and waited for the magic to happen? If so, you know that in most cases you are going to have to pull and pick the weeds before you ever think about a harvest. Weeds grow fast. They drain your resources and leave you nothing of sustenance in return. So when it comes to growth, I’m learning that I have to be willing to be in it for the long haul. I have to know that if I am doing the things that are good for healthy growth I have to trust that growth is taking place whether it is evident from moment to moment or not. I have to believe that in due time the amount of growth will be undeniable. So here’s Five Tips for Growth:
- Be Clear About Your Goals And What It Will Take To Reach Them
It is not enough to know the final destination. We have to determine the route we plan to travel. So along with writing down our goals we should also chart daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly (whatever is applicable) steps to reach them.
2. Concentrate On Taking The Steps Rather Than Focusing On The Distance
At times, when it comes to growth and the attainment of goals, we can be like kids on a road trip. We get overly anxious and find ourselves constantly asking “are we there yet.” When we really need to be focusing on the actions that are going to get us there. For example, if weight loss is the goal lets focus more on adhering to the diet and exercise plan instead of worrying about what the scale will read at the end of every single day.
3. The Pace Of Growth Is Subject To Change
There are seasons to growth. There are times when growth will be fast and there will be times when growth is slow and there may even be times when there seems to be no growth at all. There will be times when shedding and/or pruning is necessary. Trust your plan and see it through. This is not to say there should never be a need for a change of plans, but it is to say we should work with the thoughtfully chosen plan until we know for sure a change is needed. Evaluate your map before you make the decision to change your direction. Slow moving traffic doesn’t necessarily change the fact that the road you are on is the best one to get you to your destination. Have you ever detoured to avoid traffic only to find that you probably would have been better off staying put? That’s what we want to avoid. Before we detour let’s count the cost.
4. Grow Towards The Light
Another amazing thing we can learn from trees is the fact that they always seek to position themselves to take full advantage of what the sun has to give. They will bend, twist and turn for the light. they will push through obstructions in ways that are unbelievable to get the energy the sun provides. When it comes to receiving light trees have a determination and a focus that is unrivaled. It is a must that we make sure to position ourselves around the people and things that give us the energy we need (mentally, physically, and spiritually). As we grow, let’s make sure we are growing towards the light. If not, we will either become stagnant or even worse we will die.
5. When Stagnancy or Setbacks Occur Move Forward Without Shame
This one is important to me. As a person that wrestles at times with staying focused and on track. I believe one of the things I am most proud of is developing consistency in my willingness to get back up and try again. It’s like meditation. When you realize you have wandered, without judgement, return to the breath. This is a journey and we are learning along the way. Never get so discouraged that you don’t pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.
If we are ALIVE we should be GROWING whether it’s millimeter by millimeter or mile by mile. Let’s do what it takes to make GROWTH happen.