Room For Growth

Palm Tree. Failing to make space for growth to occur.

I am a believer in growth. I don’t mean physical growth, although taller would be nice! Instead, I am referring to intellectual, mental, and experiential growth. As I look out my window, I can see new growth getting ready to explode. Growth is fresh, hopeful, and full of possibility. We joke in our family that we don’t have weaknesses; we have opportunities for growth. Seems like most people desire to grow in one area or another. Unfortunately, many times we undermine this innate desire by failing to make space for growth to occur.

In order for anything to expand and flourish, it needs an opening. For example, a seed can be started in a Styrofoam cup, but it needs to be moved into a larger pot for the roots to expand. If left in the cup, the seeding will eventually die. Likewise, if we want to learn new things, develop new talents, or enjoy new experiences, we need to clear some breathing space in our lives. How do we do this when our lives are uncomfortably packed? Here are a few suggestions…

  • Have a “place to putz”

The most creative location is a wide-open surface. This can be the floor, a workbench, or the kitchen table. An open space is an invitation to bring something in or explore a new project. If every surface is crowded, we are far less likely to use this space to explore a new possibility.

  • Be open to the unexpected

Growth is unpredictable. Not everything works out according to plan, and often we end up at a destination that we never anticipated. Growth is about nimbly adjusting to obstacles and finding a new way to keep expanding, even if we aren’t sure where we are headed. Take a class, attend a seminar, build something with your hands, or reach out to a new contact. Hit a wall? Try again in another direction.

Tree growing crooked
  • Allocate time

If you wait to have “free” time to do something new, it won’t happen. The first step is blocking out time in your schedule. You don’t need to have an hour per day, but you do need to give yourself permission to set aside other commitments. True growth can be fast or slow, and typically comes in spurts, which means you can grow at your own pace.

  • Walk Away From the Comfortable

Sometimes it is good to kick back and “zone out.” Nonetheless, progress most commonly occurs when we are reaching and striving. Bones, for example, must be pounded upon to grow and strengthen. If we want to develop something new, we are going to have to leave the familiar routine and endure a bit of discomfort. It can be helpful to remember that feeling awkward, inept, or insufficient is normal when we pursue a new endeavor.

Pedestrian Bridge
  • Clear the Dead Weight

Just as a gardener prunes a tree to enable it to bear fruit, we too must get rid of what is unnecessary in order to maximize our potential. We all have limited resources, and burdens are cumbersome. Ask yourself what feels “heavy” (a relationship? a habit? a possession?), and be intentional in developing a strategy to either shed it or minimize it. Letting go lightens the load, making each step we take a bit easier.

Bearing Fruit on a Tree

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Regardless of your situation, I encourage you to be open to growth. Do you have a passion or interest you would like to pursue?

38 thoughts on “Room For Growth”

  1. Great inspiration, Seana, and just what I need to read this morning. I always preach to my children how important it is to just lay in the backyard and watch the clouds sometimes. I need to allocate time for that myself.

    1. We were just talking about this over lunch. Those lazy days we used to enjoy. They don’t really come around much any more, and they do have value!

  2. There are many things I’ve thought about and just said, “One day I’ll do that!” One of those was exercise. I’ve started two forms – one in a gym and one just in nature. I need them both, for different reasons and different muscles. Mental muscles too!
    Then there are relationships that need growth. I’ve been working hard on that!
    Tamara recently posted…Gardening & Yard Work Fun With Children.My Profile

    1. Wow, I’m so impressed that you’ve kick started exercise. I totally “get” what you say about being in nature… it feeds my soul. I’ve been out walking if it was possibly warm enough just to see the sun!

  3. Love your references to nature and that natural occurrence of growth. It’s in expanding in many ways (hopefully not sideways in the girth area) that we feel we have conquered something new and grown. I love that this coincides with spring as we anticipate spring.

    1. I’m with you on not expanding the girth, Ellen! But yes, I believe our lives are richer if we can keep reaching out, trying new things, and developing. When we are cramped in, by an overpacked schedule or space, this is less likely to happen. Thanks for the comment!

    1. It isn’t easy to leave the comfort zone, especially if you experience pushback or embarrassment. However, I do think there is empowerment in experiencing the truth that we can try – and even fail – and still move forward. We learn from this, and THAT is growth!

    1. Yes, that definitely happens to all of us. That’s when the “one small step” thing can really be the way to break free. Sending you good vibes!!

  4. Seana, I enjoyed your post and appreciate your words of wisdom here. Getting rid of the unnecessary to realize your potential is sometimes hard to do because the unnecessary can become to comfortable which leads right to your other point – to walk away from the comfortable! Without trying new things you may never know how far you can go. I can relate this to my blogging – so much to learn and so far to go, but I so enjoy it. Thanks so much for sharing with us each week at Brag ABout It! Pinned and tweeted. Hope you are having a wonderful week 🙂
    ~Laurie

    1. I will share BragAboutIt out as well, Laurie. Fun to visit the sites of your wonderful contributors. I think even beginning a blog is an example of stepping out of the comfort zone. We don’t have to immediately jump to our end goal, just be willing to move a bit further out. Trees don’t grow overnight either, right?

  5. Love this Seana! When my boys were young we often talked about growing pains. I think that is a relevant term these days – we can experience growing pains when we reach outside our comfort zones to take on something completely new and different. What a wonderful way to stay young and vibrant!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Diane. Growing does keep us young… when we stop stretching and growing, we stagnate, which feels awful. I believe we can keep growing – in one way or another – until our last day!

    1. “Uncomfortably packed” is a good way to put it, Nancy. Seems like we barely have time to do what is required, let alone reach into a new place. But creativity and exploration and expansion are the richness of life’s fabric, so it is worthwhile to consciously seek to make space for them!

  6. Moving out of your comfort zone is so important for growth. My mantra this year is to “stretch by saying yes” and I’ve been opening up myself to great growth opportunities and expanding my knowledge base just by inching out of comfy place.

  7. I totally agree. Making space for new learning is so important in our lives. And, each person may do this differently. To make room for new things, I like to go through my filing cabinet and get rid of anything that was from the past. The papers in the filing cabinet symbolize the past so if I let go of the papers, I let go of the past and make room for the future, whatever it holds. Great post, Seana. Thanks for sharing.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…How To Keep Pantry OrganizedMy Profile

    1. Great idea to go through and clear out the files. I always did this at the end of the school year, and encouraged my children to do the same. I had a client once say that after a particularly rough school year, they actually burned the papers in a little fire pit. Good riddance — and making space for a better year ahead:)

    1. Oh Janet, I think I need to check out our Achieving Awesomeness board…. the very title makes me smile! There is no doubt that growth takes some intentionality, even if we grow in an unexpected direction:)

    1. I always hope people are blessed… So glad to see those words! It can be hard to let go of the known to make space for the unknown, but I agree that when we do, we often experience rich new realities!

  8. Oh, how I LOVE this post! There’s nothing quite like the onset of spring to bring our focus towards growth. We impossible to ignore nature’s cues and not be inspired by the changing landscape. The ideas you share about creating space and room for that growth really resonated with me. If we are cluttered in our minds and spaces our environment won’t support growth. While my clients work on letting go all year round, I often see a renewed energy for this in the spring. Everything around them is lightening (the air, our clothes, the daylight) and they too want to feel less encumbered to be ready for next.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…5 Different Types of Next & How to Solve ThemMy Profile

    1. I love your point about lightness! We can move more easily and nimbly when we are less weighed down. To me, exploration and growth keep life interesting, and giving myself space is equivalent to granting myself permission to see where life leads!

  9. ‘Have a place to putz’, I love it! I try to clear off my desk each day, so when I’m ready and motivated to work I don’t get distracted by a previous task. I love being able to sit down and start in a fresh space. Allocating time is also very important. Allocating time is also important and helps me to realize when I’m taking on too much. If it can’t fit in the schedule then it is time to reevaluate my priorities. Great post!
    Jamie Steele recently posted…Tech Tip: Glitches Be Gone!My Profile

  10. I really love this post. This is right up my alley. I feel I am stepping into lots of new and uncomfortable territory in many ways and while I have felt the anxiety of it all, I also find myself saying WOW a lot. I love the reminder about making time to do what you want to do instead of waiting for “spare” time or the “right” time to start doing it. Great Post!!

    1. Sending you positive vibes as you step out. I love that you find you can say, “Wow!” This so often happens when we take a risk, and sometimes we don’t even see the growth until we look backwards. Talk about a wow!

  11. I NEED to schedule time in my day for fitness and NOT feel guilty about it or like I should be doing something else. Part of it is I make myself feel like I don’t have time and part of it is I know getting back into shape the way I want/need to is going to take me out of my comfort zone. It only takes a week or so and then I actually feel like ddoing it but those first few days are hard! Great post Seana!

    1. Sometimes we rationalize ourselves out of what we know is good for us, don’t we Autumn? I am sending you positive vibes as you seek to get fit (although I think you look great now!)

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