~ Abraham Maslow, psychologist
Did you know that most of us only use a small percentage of our ability and never reach our full potential? We settle for an average life, take average jobs with little desire to stretch out of our comfort zones to explore our own potential beyond our default position. We often fall into our careers and wait for things to happen to us rather than shaping and making it happen for ourselves.
We make excuses to justify why we didn’t make more of ourselves: The time wasn’t right, I didn’t have the money or the opportunity never presented itself. We believe our story and settle into patterns and habits, doing the same things with the same people and the years roll by. Rinse and repeat. Until one day you’re looking in the mirror at an old, tired person and saying to yourself: “What the hell am I doing with my life?!”
We are taught to blend in and follow the path of least resistance. While average feels safe it can also create a sense of unfulfillment – is this all there is? You are dissatisfied with your life or work, but can’t really articulate why.
Have you ever felt dissatisfied and wondered why things haven’t worked out the way you’d hoped? There’s a lot of pressure to follow the status quo. It’s easier to blend in with those around us, using them as pacesetters for our own life.
Here’s how my clients describe what average feels like to them:
- Plodding along
- Just getting on with it
- Numb and dull
- No balls (sorry!) to stand up and do something different
- Passing the time away
- Waiting for something to happen
- Checking out and being lazy
- Stuck in a rut
- I should do something about it
- Maybe next year when… (Insert your own excuse here)
Personally, I’ve never wanted to be average at anything. When I worked in a bank NO ONE wanted an average appraisal. Average meant that you were written off; you had limited value and potential.
My own life continues to be full of stretching and reaching for a new normal, both in my professional and personal life. You have to create some tension to move out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territory if you want to create a new experience and a new normal for yourself. Sometimes it’s scary too.
Creating tension is what gets you going!
It’s easy to stay where you are rather than to change and take a risk to become something different. The gap between the two seems wide and scary.
It’s a bit like having a back massage, when the masseur finds a knot… they have to apply some tension to increase the flow and flexibility of soft tissues and joints (…and getting rid of all those ‘knotty bits’). You have to do the same if you want to change.
It’s ALL about choice…
Here’s how to step away from average…
Where do you want to stretch? What areas of your life would you like to stretch and create some growth tension just now? How is NOT doing this making you feel? Where are you falling short of your potential?
What’s stopping you? Write down all the reasons WHY you’ve settled for the status quo. What excuses are you using to stay stuck? How are you getting in your own way? What is the story you are currently telling yourself? Re-write your story looking for a positive place to start.
Find the courage. Build your fire within and find the courage to push through your comfort zone – to break through your current mediocre mindset. Let go of things that no longer serve you, step away from the familiar and leave it behind. Explore the unknown and take a few risks if you want to change and grow. This is what life is all about (get a coach to help you)!
Embrace the tension. Lean into feeling uncomfortable. Recognize your growing pains and become your own masseur! It’s challenging to change and you will feel some resistance. Keep growing through it. Remember that any obstacles are the raw materials for your solutions. Create forward motion – don’t cling to the past. Take action in the present and begin to shape your own future today.
Keep growing! If you stop learning, you stop living. You become mentally and spiritually inactive. It’s like you die on the inside. Be curious! Looking forward and taking consistent action will fill you with energy. Create a strategy. It’s the small incremental things that you do each day that make a difference. Don’t take the foot off the gas when you’ve tasted success… Dream Big and go deep!
It’s your life!
Keep Going…Keep Flowing…Keep Growing!