“You’ve really changed!”
I had lunch with a friend last week. She’d just come back from her high school reunion and was surprised by how little some people had changed while others seemed to have done a complete 360.
If you’ve ever ventured back to a high school reunion, you’ve probably noticed similar results. Maybe it was the shy, unassuming “wallflower” who was barely noticed then but has now blossomed into a spectacular head turner. Perhaps it was the average kid with no particular ambition who now radiates success. Or, maybe it was the quarterback who “had it all” in high school but is now merely an older version of his youthful self. No changes. Still the same. Still living in the same hometown. Still has the same friends. Still lives in the glory of days past.
Still the same.
Yet, the irony is that it’s the wallflower or the average kid who will hear the surprised musings of “You’ve really changed!”
Maybe, just maybe, the response to that remark is:
“You’ve haven’t changed enough.”
The Ultimate Metaphor for Change
There’s an old saying that goes, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Rivers are ever flowing and never stagnant. For people, every new experience we have shapes us and changes us. Change is more than physical; it’s transformational from the inside out.
It’s a metamorphosis.
Have you ever pondered the caterpillar and the butterfly? The butterfly begins with a caterpillar hatching from an egg. The caterpillar spins itself a silky cocoon as a form of protection while it undergoes a radical transformation. What emerges is beautiful. It’s the butterfly, anew, gracefully alighting on our plants so we can enjoy their splendor.
Just like with the caterpillar and the butterfly, it’s the same way with our personal growth. We start out as one person but through a series of mini-transformations, we emerge as someone who is a mere shadow of the person we used to be – if we make it a goal to grow. Personal growth has a profound impact on every single aspect and stage of our life – including our career.
Do You Fear Change or Embrace It?
Change is not for the weak in spirit. It takes more courage to create positive change than it does to remain the same.
It also takes time.
Change is scary and painful. It takes us out of our normal routines and comfort zones and forces us to dip our toe into uncharted waters. But that’s okay, that’s where the well of transformation lies. Sure, it’s uncharted territory. You’ll feel uncertain and insecure. It can be slow and frustrating and maybe even filled with struggles and disappointment. Yet change can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever encounter.
It makes you stronger.
Author John O’Donohue says: “Change, therefore, need not be threatening… The soul loves risk, it is only through the door of risk that growth can enter.”
Change is not something to be apprehensive about or something that should give in to fret. Change is essential for your growth, development, and your career progression.
Change makes you smarter. The more you live, the more you learn. So every time you go through a new experience or learn a new skill, you grow wiser because of it — even if it’s just learning how to adapt to it.
Adapting to change makes you flexible. Being resistant to fresh ideas can make a normally stressful situation even more so. Change helps you become fluid and it reminds us of the various possibilities we can have available to us.
Personal growth keeps you moving forward and not backwards. Whether you are looking to grow in your relationships, at work, as a leader, or even in your spirituality, you won’t be able to do that without making conscious daily choices and acting on the behavior that enhances your growth and development.
Personal growth is a vital to your maturity, success and happiness. It is the foundation of emotional, physical, intellectual, and even spiritual health, if that is important to you.
There are two essential questions to ask every day:
In the morning: “How will I grow today?”
At the end of the day: “How did I grow today?”
When you make a concerted effort every morning to ask yourself, “How will I grow today”, your mind kicks into gear and starts thinking about what you need to accomplish in order to make that a reality. Maybe you want to be a better spouse, parent, friend, or leader so when you ask yourself that question, you start thinking specifically what that means in all of those important areas in your life.
Our days are hectic. Life is busy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and just glide by on autopilot without much thought of the bigger issues at stake. When you do that, you’re not making a conscious effort to change your behavior to make positive impacts on your life.
Equally important to your morning question is your at-the-end-of-the-day question, “How did I grow today?” It’s one thing to ask the question, think about it, and take no action. It’s another to actually take action that spurs your growth.
Remember, life changes the instant you decide it changes.
And if You’re Still Not Convinced…
Without Change, you’re stuck.
But, when you see change through the eyes of new possibilities, you start to see the future in an exciting new way. Change break plateaus. It helps you move from one level to the next. When you are finished changing, you’re finished.
So the next time that someone tells you that you’ve changed and it is positive change, embrace it and wear it as a badge of honor.
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How will you grow today?