Have you ever noticed how your whole life expands whenever you grow and change in any one area of your life?
I do. It’s like I’m different. I act different, I think different, I respond differently, and things that didn’t used to work start working. I get functional. I get fluid. I get solid. Things I’ve been looking for can find me. Opportunities show up. Doors open. Everything clicks. Life feels easy.
It’s like catching a big wave and riding it all the way in to shore.
As sweet as that ride is, it only lasts for a time, and then its over. There is no more momentum behind me, no more force beneath me. If I want to feel that free and fast and strong again, it’s time to get back in the water and start paddling out.
Paddling isn’t effortless or easy. It’s all muscle, determination, and the perseverance of dodging wave after wave. Sometimes there is a little rip that makes the way back out a little easier, but for the most part, it’s initiation time.
This is where most folks give up. They want the thrill of the ride but don’t want to work for it. We’ve been trained to think that everything should be easy and fun and that when things get hard, something is wrong.
Nothing is wrong!
You know the whole “what’s wrong with me” hamster wheel that sucks so much energy and time? How awesome would it be to totally bypass it? You can! As soon as you get the fact that there is a cycle to growing. Winter, spring, summer, fall. Dawn, day, dusk, night. Seed, sprout, leaf, fruit. Why would we be any different? We’re a part of nature and nature moves in cycles.
So when things don’t feel easy, remember, nothing is wrong! You’re just growing. And you’re in the part of the growth cycle that isn’t comfortable. So don’t stop. If you keep going, you will catch another mighty wave and ride it to shore.
7 Steps for Surfing the Cycle of Growth
1. Clarify Your Intention.
‘I want to lose 5 pounds’ or ‘I want to be really kind to my husband/wife/kid/mom/friend’ or ‘I want to get 3 new clients’. Whatever it is, set your intention.
2. Look at the Evidence.
Are your actions lining up with what you say you want? The evidence will show you what you really want. Report accurately. Own it. Choose it. Even if it’s ugly and scary and out of integrity. Say ‘I want to eat 5 gallons of ice cream a night’ or ‘I want to blame everyone and anyone for my misery’ or ‘I want to tear everyone in my life down so I don’t have to feel my own dissatisfaction’ or ‘I don’t want to grow. I just want to complain’. Whatever it is, choose it. Once you choose it fully you will be free to fully choose something else.
3. Access + Choose a Direction.
Are you going to stay where you are, or move in the direction of your intention? There is no right answer. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life and be honest. Can you take on this challenge right now? Do you have the energy to see it all the way through? If the answer is NO, back yourself up. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Put it away for later and do what you are already doing, and do it well. You’ll eventually be ready to take on the next challenge. If the answer is YES… read on.
4. Paddle Hard.
Work for it. Dodge the waves. Put the spoon full of ice cream down. Put your car in manual and steer yourself where you want to go. Stop the words from coming out of your mouth. It’s not supposed to be easy. You’ve got to work at it. Your automatic patterns will take you back to where you were. This part is grueling and there is no way to avoid it if you really want what you say you want. It’s hard work, but if you do it, it will pay! Nothing is wrong! You’re just growing!!!
5. Ride + Wipeout.
You might not stand. You might stand and fall right back off. It doesn’t matter. You’re putting in the effort. You’re surfing. Poorly maybe, but you’re doing it nonetheless. The truth is, you’re bound to wipe out. You’re gonna get a mouthful of sand. It’s cool. It’s supposed to happen. You’re learning. There is no way to look good and learn. It’s a messy process.
6. Recovery Time.
You might think you want something, but the real question is do you want it bad enough to do whatever it takes? You’ve got to want to surf so bad that you’re willing to go face down in the sand… a lot, because you will. How quickly do you get back on the board and into the lineup? How long do you wallow in the water? Do you give up? If so, go back to step 1. If not, get back on the board, baby. You’re getting close!
7. Stand up + RIDE.
It will just happen. One day you will respond differently. You won’t have the urge to eat the sugary thing. Or you’ll have the urge but it won’t be hard to say no. You’ll just say the kind thing, without second thought. You’ll find yourself doing the action you said you wanted to do. Congrats, baby! You caught the wave. Enjoy the thrill. Revel in the effortlessness. Enjoy the speed and the ease of you and the universe lining up. Bliss out in the slipstream.
But don’t go unconscious.
Remember, the next wave is around the corner. The next challenge is on its way. And if you’re like me and you love growing, you wouldn’t want it any other way. So when the ride is over and paddling gets hard and tiring, remind yourself that nothing is wrong. Life is a cycle. Embrace whatever part of the cycle you’re in, and keep living life like a big wave surfer.
Photo by szeke