How do humans grow? Much like seeds, we require a specific set of circumstances and nutrients to prosper. The seed, although tiny, becomes almost fearless. It knows the secret for living, what’s required—to push through layers, break the shell, and enter deep, dark soils of growth material. If the seed can follow its life design and become both larger and something altogether changed, why can’t we experience the same personal growth?
Within the seed is coded information on how to grow. We have access to our growth patterns, too. However, somewhere along the way, we lost touch. The majority of us stop at a particular growth stage without seeing the cycle all the way through—without fruition.
Opportunities are formulas that result in maximum growth, though we tend to perceive them a little differently. We cannot thrive by rejecting, neglecting or escaping incoming opportunities.
Let’s challenge the status quo. An “opportunist” is defined as a person who takes advantage of opportunities as and when they arise, regardless of planning or principle. That sounds negative. I say we redefine opportunists as survivalists and personal alchemists—people who don’t just want a standard life experience, but rather a life that breaks down physical boundaries. Opportunists wish to thrive, much like seeds, which seize and activate every opportunity by pushing forward, upward and outward.
Through seizing opportunities and expanding our boundaries, we allow opportunities to work their magic in our lives. We are able to identify which set of actions will bring us into the person we always knew we could be.
Of course, like any new opportunity, the first step feels uncertain, even risky. The challenge lies in pushing into fear, into unknown territory and beyond our physical limitations. Therein lies the secret to success.
Here are five ways to work with our "growth edges" to create space for personal growth:
Fear prevents forward movement because it keeps us living in the past. It is a learned behavior, one that we often let rule our lives despite our desire to be different or better. When we tap into our fear, though, discover what it is and where it comes from, we can begin to heal. First, we must be gentle with ourselves as we transition from living with fear into managing it. There is no “fearlessness,” but there is a way to handle fear that supports our best selves.
Victimhood is a cousin to fear. Living with fear and being the victim is a comfortable place because we’ve lived there for so long. We don’t know what life can be like after healing, but on the other side, we begin to truly exist. It’s a safe place even if everything around us says it’s not and even if we don’t know what’s on the other side. Why? Because anything is better than living with fear, the root of all of our inability to embrace opportunities and happiness.
Once we make it to the next level, where fear and victimhood no longer dwell and dominate, we are in full transition. This is where the real magic happens. This is where personal growth happens. Letting go of the old means making room for the new. Opportunities arise, as if out of thin air, and they come in droves. We don’t often seize opportunities when they arise because deep down we are afraid of change and success, but when we let go of those thought patterns, we open to so many possibilities. Pushing past fear, we acknowledge our boundlessness.
Believe it or not, failure means more opportunities. Our imperfect states are what make us so incredibly beautiful and complex in the first place. When we accept failure as a part of the growing process, we accept the nature of things. Failure can be the closing of a door, which means another door will open—one that is better suited for us. Failure can be a missed opportunity, which means another opportunity will surface—one that is much more appropriate for our life design.
The ideal formula for a successful, happy life full of abundance, is one that involves compassion. Pushing into your growth edges does not require forceful action, rather a sense of acceptance and a compassionate attitude. Ease into the process. Give opportunities space to grow; offer them the nutrient-rich soil they crave and plenty of sunshine to prosper. But most of all, accept that abundance is a human right. Be gentle during the transition from a fear-based past into a compassionate present.