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September 1, 2023

Growth Is A Progression

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I was reflecting on a few areas of my growth and came upon a realization I’d never had before. Today’s world caters to the extreme ends of the spectrum and it shapes our perspective. It’s the strong political views of people in opposing parties... It’s the 5am club crazy morning routines... The people who read 50 books in a year.

The truth of it is the far majority of people don’t operate at the extremes, but that’s where the focus is, and it creates a biased reference point that leads to us having unrealistic expectations for ourselves.

Back to my realization - I’ve found myself getting self-conscious about my level of achievement because of this. But then I made a discovery. I realized that growth is a progression, and that the people at the far ends of it are just further along on their growth journey in that area.

This surfaced for me in a real life example. I was at the grocery store checking out at the cashier. As I was bagging up my food, I heard the person behind me ask for a job. The employee said that they are always hiring but she didn’t know what they were hiring for. The person behind me thanked her for the information and he walked away.

Something I’m trying to get better at in my life is finding more ways to be of service to others. I heard the conversation and I have enough experience to know that if you want a job, you need to probe a little harder than turn away at the first obstacle. I had this thought process, wanting to encourage him to try harder and navigate to someone who can give him a better answer, but then I felt myself get nervous and began to dismiss it.

But fortunately, I remembered my intention, mustered up the courage to speak to him, and provided some insight to support a stranger on their job-finding process.

I felt accomplished and proud of myself for showing up for the moment, but when I got in the car to drive home I started comparing my actions to the greater acts of kindness other people did in similar situations. People who don't just give advice but buy that individual clothes, help them write and print a resume, coach them up on how to get a job, and support them at a higher level. 

That’s not what I did... But that’s the point. Progression is a spectrum. I’m not ready to serve at that level yet so I can’t expect myself to be there. I didn’t even have the awareness in the moment to consider it. 

Is that the type of person I want to be? Absolutely. But that’s not where I was at on the spectrum on this day, and I’ll continue growing toward it.

So the insight here is - Just because you’re not operating at the ultimate level you want to does not mean you haven’t made progress. Do not discredit your growth! Everything is a progression where we improve over time, and the longer we’re in it, the more we improve!

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