When asked to name her favorite piece from her portfolio, a well-known artist replied, “The one I am working on today.”
This painter knew that to keep growing and learning she had to give up her previous work to connect with interesting and satisfying work. She had to give up her past accomplishments to grow and to enjoy the moment.
With every new venture there is the risk of failure, but also the chance for personal growth. Unless we are willing to try something new, we cannot head in the direction of our dreams. Our fears keep us hanging on to the past. Giving up the security of past accomplishments to try something new becomes a stepping stone to our positive development.
Be careful. That stepping stone, through our poor choices, can become a slipping stone or an insurmountable boulder. When we sacrifice our personal relationships and values for the sake of trying something new, we may find ourselves facing devastating and perhaps crippling obstacles.
Our direction should be informed by the pros and cons of the opportunity before us. “Is what I am giving up worth my potential growth?” We always know the price of something if we will take the time to consider the costs to our life.
Most growth opportunities are not occasions for instant gratification. As we plan our growth potential we need to consider this question, “Am I willing to change and step out of my comfort zone to grow?” Remember potential is a stretch.
As we meet with success, at times we might be inundated with new opportunities. Have we stopped to really consider what we want out of life and whether new opportunities are truly aligned with our purpose? Sort of the old college paradox—go to the party or study for the exam?
It’s important that we know how to make a living and we know how to make a life. We need to ask: Is this new growth opportunity going to make a difference in my ability to help others? Be clear on how your choices are affecting your abilities to make a living and make a life. There is usually a giving up of one to get the other. Be aware of your choices and how they affect others.
The paradox of being aware of your choices is that your work and play can merge and you can’t tell where one stops and the other begins. Making a life and making a living join together.
For our young children work and play are the same thing. Choosing the next interesting physical activity will take all of a child’s concentration and efforts, and it will look like play to us. The work of young children is to build themselves with meaningful experiences in their environment. By choosing an activity and being in the moment our children are choosing “the one right now” as their favorite. By being and working in the moment they are learning and growing.
Effortlessly our children move to the next stepping stone. Developmentally they are searching out new and interesting activity to build themselves. They want to know how to help themselves. They want to know how to care for others. They learn from their mistakes, and keep moving forward. When we see obstacles that block their progress, we offer encouragement as well as work at removing that obstacle.
Watch children. They will show you how to give up something good for something better.
Next Week: Learning To Lead and Follow