Guys, I have the world’s saddest basil plant.
To be clear, it’s fair to say that I have the blackest of black thumbs. I can’t grow a darn thing. That’s right: I killed a spider plant once. The hardest plants to kill? They clearly had not met me. I’ve been keeping a jade going since the spring, but really it’s only because it’s right in front of me when I’m doing my work so it can’t die from neglect.
Anyway, back to my basil plant. Turns out I should have been doing what is known in the gardening world as “topping”. That means when your plant has some new growth, you pinch it off so you can have better, fuller, lusher plants. So you kill the new growth to encourage better growth.
I was thinking about how this relates to personal growth (because lately everything I come across I try to relate to personal growth), & about how sometimes it can be helpful to discard early, preliminary (sometimes positive) results to make way for something better.
Back in February, when I sat down & took a hard look at my image consulting business plan, I saw that while I had seen some growth, I hadn’t seen the kind I was wanting for myself & my business. I decided it was time to take a step back & figure out what my next step was. This was unspeakably challenging for me, because the business was kind of working, & that’s hard to let go of. I knew, however, that if I didn’t let that grow I would be stunting what could be something really awesome in the future.
I found myself asking myself if this was the best it was ever going to get for me, career-wise. Did I really want my image consulting business to be a part-time venture, & not a business that could support my life? No, I did not. So I took a step back from it, got a job in a real estate office, & started trying to figure out my next steps.
Luckily, I have found something that I feel truly called to do, & passionate about. This next step in my career (life design & boldness coaching) & life (living in California, at least part of the year), feels deeply resonant with me. It feels real.
Are you happy with where you are right now? AWESOME. You’re good. No topping for you! But if you feel like you can do better with you life, & feel like you might have something else on the horizon that’s a better fit for you, then maybe consider making some cuts & taking a leap of faith. If you need to free up time & energy for the truly fabulous & wonderful, sometimes you have to give up the comfortable & satisfactory.
Now, let’s be clear: I’m not saying you need to quit your job & plan a move to a foreign country to get some growth in your life. Just try mixing things up a little, & see where that gets you. Got an old routine that isn’t awesome? Why not try something new? The worst that could happen is that you don’t like the new routine any better. You’re always free to go back to the old one, or try another change.
I’ve lived in Ottawa for 12 years. Every year, I go through an absolutely miserable depression that is brought on by the cold & grey winters. I’ve been comfortable here, sure. Even satisfied. But why shouldn’t I try spending the three worst months somewhere that, even when it’s cold (& cold being relative, with January, February & March hovering around the high teens), it’s still bright & sunny? There’s no reason for me to not try it this winter. My work is flexible, I have pals to stay with while I find a place to stay, & I’m setting myself up in such a way that I could thrive there. I don’t want this to sound like a slam against Ottawa & the people I’ve loved here, I just feel like it’s time for me to try something new, something that might work better. I just don’t want to look back on my life & say, “What if I had?”
To continue the gardening metaphor I had at the beginning (that’s right, I was going somewhere with that), when you stay in one place long enough, your seeds that you plant start to become roots, & those roots get stronger & stronger with time, making it harder & harder to make the changes you might need to make. People start to relate to you based on where you’re at in the moment, rather than where you think you should be. (If you do start making changes in your life, prepare for some resistance from the people around you!)
Your thoughts & feelings can get repetitive & seasonal. Your physical environment starts to exert more & more influence on your daily routine (I wouldn’t have been able to make changes if I hadn’t started selling off most of my stuff). If you’re good with your comfort zone, that’s totally your choice. I’m not here to pass judgement on you & what is right for your life. But for me, I need to choose to push myself into this change. I’ve been still for far too long.
Yeah, growth is painful. But there is so much to learn & explore. Every day I am getting more & more excited by the possibilities.
I encourage you to try some change. It’s not an easy path, but it’s one filled with beauty.