Happy June!! I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2019 is FLYING by. And if I’m honest, I’m struggling a bit to keep up. All my to-dos that I mapped out at the beginning of the year are still hanging out on my “to-be done” list, and while I am desperately craving the slower pace of summer that is just around the corner, I’m also panicking a bit about how everything will get done.
As long as I can remember, I have been driven. As a kid I was the one that was always striving for more, and as an adult I am constantly pushing myself to grow, to reach higher heights, to accomplish more, and to be an ever-evolving better version of myself. In the past I have welcomed this driven nature. Growth meant that I was improving. Growth meant that I was learning. Growth meant that I could hold my head high and say that I am a better person today than I was yesterday.
For me, 2019 has been a full-blown, non-stop season of growth. And let’s be real – it’s been hard, and tiring, and oh so humbling. One of my favorite designers, Leigh Standley of Curly Girl Design, posted a card design recently with the quote
“Growth feels a lot like failure, at first.”
WOW. Mind blown. I couldn’t agree more. In addition to being a season of growth, 2019 has also felt regularly like I’m failing. Failing forward, yes. But it still feels a bit (i.e A LOT) like failure none the less.
Part of why growth feels like failure is because it is highlighting the things that we need to grow in, which inherently means things that could use improvement or new skills or expertise, and it can be humbling to come face to face with the parts of ourselves that need growth. Growth also means some trial and error, mistakes made or wrong paths traversed, and lessons learned and course corrections as we learn how to grow and improve. Growth also means letting go of old versions of ourselves, old ways of doing things, old mindsets and understandings in order to make space for the new. And at least for me, letting go is never easy.
This month’s focus for our team is on optimism in relationships and community, and specifically around the mindset that Optimism Is Surrounding Yourself with People who Challenge You to Grow. There are 3 tried and true principles that I adhere to in how I surround myself with people who challenge me to grow, and I’ve expanded them here with a refined focus that has been critical for me to remain optimistic in this season of growth.
1. Don’t be the smartest, bravest, kindest, most creative, compassionate, faithful person in the room. Fill in the blank with your own adjective. In what area are you striving to grow? Whatever that is, surround yourself with people who are what you are aspiring to be.
During this season of growth, I’ve learned that surrounding myself with people who excel at being the type of person that I want to be extends far beyond traits that I hope to display to the world. It also has meant surrounding myself with people who are great examples of self-compassion and self-care, who know what it means to be silly and lighthearted with their own shortcomings, and who have taught me (and my very driven self) to live life with a little more ease and take things more in stride.
2. Find people who speak the truth, and listen. When I first wrote about this as a key tenet of living optimistically, what I had in mind was people who would help us course correct if we were going down the wrong path, and trusted friends and advisers who would be honest with us if something we were doing needed improvement or if we had opportunities for growth.
What I’ve realized during this season of growth, is that part of having trusted advisers who speak truth to us is also about processing these seasons of growth. It’s about having a great sounding board who can help us identify if we are growing, or failing, or a little of both. It’s about surrounding ourselves with people who will encourage us and be cheerleaders for us – and whose inspiration we will take to heart – when growth is exhausting and we need those reminders to keep going.
3. Learn from everyone. There are so many opportunities to learn throughout a day – both from the people who we choose to surround ourselves with, but also the people who end up in our lives without our explicit say… the quirky neighbor, the angry person in line at the grocery store, the people you pass on the street on the way to work. And there are countless ways to learn from the difficult encounters on a day to day basis, be it a lesson in patience, or compassion, or letting go.
Click to tweet: There are countless ways to learn from the difficult encounters on a day to day basis, be it a lesson in patience, or compassion, or letting go.
During this season of growth, difficult moments have abounded, giving me plenty of opportunities to learn about communication, patience, and grace – just to name a few. But I have also learned to take note of the AMAZING moments throughout the day, and not only be grateful for them but learn from them as well. I’ve learned about resilience and coming together with others to build support and community, I’ve learned about self-compassion and how to give myself grace because of how a stranger that crossed my path gave herself – and subsequently me – a great expression of compassion, and I’ve learned so much about friendship and showing up because of the people in my life who not only challenge me to grow, but show up for me in the growth process and love me in beautiful, consistent, deep ways.
What is growth looking like in your life these days? Who are the people that challenge you to grow, but also walk beside you and cheer you on in the process? Take a moment today to CELEBRATE your own growth, and say THANK YOU to the people who are with you in the growth. And we’d love it if you shared those things with us by writing to us at email@example.com, or on Facebook or Instagram.
Cheers to a beautiful June of growth!With Optimism,
Elizabeth Shaw & The Davine Team