10 ways to Grow
Here's how to start 'repotting' to achieve your dreams:
What happens to a beautiful plant that outgrows its container? If you don't repot it, eventually it withers and dies. Repotting is our term for transplanting yourself into a larger growth environment. Just as gardeners look for ways to promote growth in spring, you can rejuvenate your life by following this step-by-step process.
By Diana Holman and Ginger Pape, authors of Repotting: 10 Steps for Redesigning Your Life (Hay House).
1. Rethink Your Landscape:
Adopting a new perspective is the first step to successful repotting. Just as some plants need a different environment to thrive, you need to start thinking in new ways. Ask yourself: What is really important to me? What trade-offs do I need to make to bring more light and meaning into my personal garden? What will bring color to my landscape? For example, if you are constantly traveling for work, but missing important family events, you could shift your priorities and adjust your schedule.
2. Realize That Planting Is a Process:
Slow down and create time in your schedule to research new avenues for personal growth. Don't be afraid of empty spaces. A friend of ours who cut back on her schedule immediately filled the open time slots with new activities. Remember to let "fallow beds" lie--don't fill up your free time until you know what you really want to do.
3. Weed Your Garden:
Take a disciplined approach to finding more time in your day for activities that offer opportunities for growth. Make a list of the "must-do activities," then eliminate non-essentials. A woman we counseled who had her own event-planning firm found her client lunches and after-hours professional activities were getting out of hand. She cut back on the number of commitments to make time for painting classes and choral singing--two long-lost passions.
4. Let in More Light:
Your true gifts may be languishing for lack of sun. In order to grow and change, you'll need to open your mind to new possibilities, set goals that challenge you, and even take some risks. Instead of following a safe path, you might decide to explore something different. We worked with a lawyer who was unhappy with the rigid corporate structure. She ultimately became a pastry chef, giving up financial security in favor of a less constraining lifestyle.
5. Tend Your Garden Regularly:
Whatever you choose to undertake, whether it's building a new career, volunteering, or pursuing a new hobby, do something every single day to make progress. Don't let distractions take your energy away from the tasks necessary to achieve your goal. If you want to do personal writing but find yourself distracted by TV--try unplugging the set on weekends and using the spare time to keep a journal.
6. Cultivate Your Dreams:
To repot successfully, you need to let your mind run free to entertain new concepts, ideas, and avenues. Unleash your creative side by visualizing a new future for yourself. One of our clients, a mother who spent 20 years raising children, allowed herself to visualize a new identity. She tapped into her inner voice and let her imagination to take her beyond her current role to that of therapist for troubled youth.
7. Water Your Roots:
Find the core values that motivate you. Make sure the life you are living is in sync with your deepest values and priorities. If not, see what you can do to realign it. Let's say you feel the lack of spirituality in your life, but aren't sure how to find it. For two individuals we know, the answer to spiritual fulfillment lay in serving non-profit organizations. Two others took a religious path: one started a Bible study group, and the other entered seminary and was later ordained.
8. Don't Forget Fertilizer:
When you expand your knowledge, you expand your options. For personal growth, ongoing learning is crucial--whether you're pursuing a hobby or gaining new credentials for a career. The stimulation of learning fosters new growth and change at any age. A middle-aged stock market analyst decided to go back to school for an MBA so that she could start a business with her grown daughter.
9. Plant a Sample Bed:
Until you try a plant in your own personal garden, you won't know for sure if the conditions are right for growth. If they're not, you can always rip it out and start again. Embrace trial and error. A woman we know took training to see if she would like to become a massage therapist. While she enjoyed the nurturing aspect, she realized she didn't have the stamina to do it fulltime. She continues at her desk job and has a small massage practice on weekends.
10. Get Input from Other Gardeners:
Tap into your network--family, friends, and colleagues--who may be able to give you feedback, advice, and emotional support. As you benefit from the advice of others, you may also find that you're helping someone else along the way. A woman who wanted to change careers talked openly with her family, professional friends, and people who had known her throughout her life. She found her life enriched by connecting with old friends and developing deeper relationships with new ones. Finding Your Gift Just as Michelangelo saw David within the stone, your unique gift is inside you, waiting to be revealed.