I recently reflected on what I’m most thankful for this year. Many things came to mind with ease, but one word bubbled up that I wasn’t quite expecting: growth.
Brené Brown summed it up prophetically: “I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.”
Brown’s quote stuck out as I thought about giving gratitude to growth this year. It’s been one of profound growth—both personally and professionally—and I’ve been stretched in ways I didn’t know possible. And while I was totally on board with calling in the benefits of massive growth this year, I wasn’t fully prepared to take on the ass-kicking part of the path. That didn’t have to apply to everyone, right?
Much to my chagrin, it turns out it did include me. Growth took on many forms this year. Below are a few areas that showed up for me and how I worked through them in the arena.
Getting comfortable with discomfort: To stop avoiding discomfort and welcoming it instead as an ally for growth, I’ve worked on shifting my mindset from one of resistance to acceptance. I found a community that offered a safe space to be supported when the going got tough. I sought accountability to keep me moving forward when it felt safer not to. Brene Brown was right after all—if I was committed to growth, I needed to accept that it wasn’t always going to feel good at the moment.
Mindset: I needed a different approach to get different results this year, and for me, this included a closer look at internal wiring. Working with a coach, I continue to align my beliefs, attitudes, and perspectives with my goals. It all begins there. Without this, all the goal-setting in the world is for naught.
Taking imperfect action: The progress over perfection mantra is the key that has unlocked years of inaction for me. Committing to something scary each week and seeking out accountability has helped me get off the hamster wheel and into creation. I’ve sought out mentorship and taken in their stories, affirming that we are always in a state of learning. Finding and being in a community that encourages and practices this approach keeps me in the arena.
Joy and fun: So it turns out that ass-kicking can be both humbling and exhilarating at the same time. Completing something (this post for example!) that my perfectionism or discomfort would have previously made impossible is an incredible feeling. Recognizing and celebrating growth has been a big shift. Reflecting on your attempts—not just outcomes—brings in more energy and motivation to get back in the arena. Now, my Friday recaps include moments to celebrate, and I’m in communities that challenge members to shout out their growth on a regular basis.
Energy and intuition: Trusting myself, even when the next step isn’t revealed, has made space for incredible shifts in my personal and professional life this year. If you’re struggling with feeling stuck or are feeling that all your work isn’t yielding clarity, I invite you to tap into your energy and inner wisdom more fully. Regular meditation and committing to a morning routine have been integral for me in connecting to my energy and intuition on a deeper level to guide my growth.
I’m feeling grateful for the totality of the experience—the wins and the hell yeah’s and the crawl-out-of-your-skin moments that come with growth. I know now that it’s all part of the journey; it’s all intertwined.
Will I see you in the arena in 2020?
Content provided by Women Belong member Kate Solis Silva