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Relational Reflections: Yes, another blog, and this one’s from Dr. Nadine and Dr. Zan at True Heights

Considering Your Future: Deciding to Dream and Pursuing Your Potential

Dr. Nadine’s Thoughts:

For those of you who’ve been following Dr. Zan and me in Relational Reflections over the last several months, you might have figured out that I’m going through a stage of transition in my life.  I’m taking a lot of time to observe my circumstances carefully -- at home, at work, with friends, family and acquaintances.  I’m reflecting on what brings me joy, who supports me, what steals my compassion, and what nurtures my soul. As I’m advancing through my process, one of the exercises I’m undertaking is to search out and absorb the wisdom of those who’ve already done the same thing.  I’ve been listening to podcasts, watching broadcasts, reading written materials and having substantive conversations devoted to self-improvement and self-actualization. I’m fascinated and roused by people’s impassioned desires to do better for themselves. So while I’m engaged in doing better for myself, I also am referencing my dedication to helping others do the same.  To more effectively guide others, I decided to first understand my own evolution.

This morning I listened to a broadcast by Terri Savelle Foy, “your cheerleader of dreams”.  She’s often quite a character, but her motivation to encourage people to achieve their dreams and desires is infectious to her subscribers.  In this broadcast, she identifies the five ways people can determine if they’re wasting their lives. I was pretty sure I haven’t been wasting mine, but I was intrigued, nevertheless.  So I listened. Here are the five indicators (my paraphrases):

1.      Are you TOO comfortable in life?

You’re not growing -- stretch yourself outside your comfort zone.

2.      Are your days spent at a job that you hate?

It’s estimated that 1/3 of each day is spent at our jobs; you’ve settled for misery.

3.      Is TV your best friend?

Then you’re spending time watching other people live their dreams.

4.      Are you making excuses for where you are right now?

“Excuses are what we give ourselves when we don’t want to admit that we are where we are because of our choices.”

5.      Are you reliving the “good old days”?

You can lose your future by looking back; are your memories bigger than your dreams?

After considering these, are there any that poke your “sleeping tiger”?  Perhaps there are a couple that produce a little twinge in your heart when you read them…?  Maybe that’s your internal sense suggesting that your potential is yet waiting to be released…?

So it’s still early in the new year.  There’s time to consider your future. There’s time to assess, to decide, to act.  There’s time to think about what you REALLY want. I don’t know about you, but realizing that I can keep improving, and that my life can continue to be remarkable, is exciting.  So I challenge you to look for ways to make your future fantastic. Conjure some ideas. Take some risks. Be bold. Start NOW. We’re in it together.

Dr. Zan’s Reflections:

The mere mention of “wasting” a life gives me pause, and I shudder at the notion. And yet, I must admit, that one of the many gifts that Dr. Nadine brings to my life as both friend and colleague is the gentle but consistent encouragement to think about the unthinkable--to contemplate that which brings discomfort. She presses me to stretch, to grow, to reach for more and to be more. For that I am eternally grateful.

Please indulge my reflection on the idea of comfort for a moment. I don’t know about you, but I crave comfort. I love to retreat to the cocoon of my cozy bed and then to don the envelopment of my most beloved sweatshirt and softest socks when I must leave the comfort of my bed early each morning. My wardrobe is comprised of an array of sweaters and shawls that I like to call “wearable hugs.” I meditate on words and images of people and places that represent peace and security. As much as possible, I surround myself with people who love me unconditionally and welcome me into a warm embrace, literally and metaphorically,  when I’ve had a difficult experience. I construct my life so that soothing is available and readily so.

And I know that Dr. Nadine would not want me to relinquish that which gives me comfort; however, I also know that she would compel me to move beyond my space of comfort. With her support I can press beyond that which has been prescribed for me and begin to embrace that which is possible if I am only willing to ask, to reach, to aspire. Getting outside my comfort zone means allowing myself to relinquish self-imposed limitations. There is no one in my life who has been as willing to inhibit my learning, my growth, my success as me. While it may be quite comfortable to stay right where I am, whether in the comfort and warmth of my own construction or someone else’s, that is likely not where I need to be. Yet, it is in the honest acceptance and submission to where I am right in this moment that I can find the courage to move forward with intention and focus. In other words, I must acknowledge and admit that I am a little too comfortable right here in my cozy, protected space before I can propel myself out of it. Besides, I do have all of those comforting supports in place when my propulsion forward results in missteps or failures.

Dr. Nadine also references excuses. Back in middle school I had a math teacher named Mr. Polly, and he shared frequently and fervently this, his favorite quip: Excuses satisfy only those who make them. Well, I would like to do a better job of finding less satisfaction within my own self-limiting excuses. I will do well to remember that the “good old days” are the moments that I am creating right here, right now. Perhaps you would like to join me. And, even as we are pushing and nudging toward greater psychic growth, I vote that we do so wrapped in our coziest security blankets!

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