Twenty-two years of living in a gorgeous town in the Texas Hill Country surrounded by creeks, rivers, oaks, cypress trees and pure peace coupled with my dream job equaled heaven. No one plans on leaving heaven. I was no exception.
Enter — change, transition and the unexpected. Before I knew it, I’d resigned from heaven. Packed up my things and drove straight out of paradise.
I had built community, connection and belonging at a level that is rare and priceless. My job felt both challenging and rewarding. This place had truly grown me into something more than I had ever planned. (And yet, somehow I had outgrown this place.)
What I didn’t realize — in my contentment, I had become less stretchable, more comfortable, and unaware of my need for growth. The radical transition became an uncompromising wake up call I didn’t know I needed. Everything felt great. Perhaps that is our first clue that we’ve settled into too much of our comfort zone.
Dreams were asleep. Relationships were dying. Leadership potential was comatose. My future was withering.
It may be that everything is truly great with you. There is only this one dream that is gathering dust, or this one area where you haven’t reached your capacity, or this one idea you’ve yet to explore. How do we become aware of what is lying dormant? And once we do, then what?
- Start Meddling. Snoop around in your world and search for rocks that have not been turned over in a while. What did I used to dream of that I might still enjoy pursuing? What did I think I was becoming? Is that capacity still in me? How could I contribute even more? What or whom can I impact at a greater level?
- Carve out Silent Space. Find ways to get a break from your current pace and step into a slow, quiet space conducive to new exploration or quiet reflection or absolute stillness. We are much more likely to find ourselves, to uncover our dormant pieces in this space than we are to stumble over our lost dreams and dying ideas in the middle of the rush, hustle and chaos of our typical day.
- Pursue Enlightenment. In adulthood, we often forget to keep learning, keep discovering, keep being in awe. What else can you learn? What is a different perspective on what you already know? Who is wiser than you? How can you apprentice under them?
- Just do it. Nike is right! We just need to take a step. Taking a step doesn’t lock us into anything. We haven’t committed to a life sentence. Taking a step is simply an experiment. Like the early explorers, we are way finding — take action that leads to the next step. Act. Adjust. Take the next step. Act. Adjust. Take the next step.
Thankfully your awakening does not have to be proceeded by the same level of interruption and radical shift that brought on my awakening. Cultivate your own awakening and watch dreams stir, relationships resurrect, potential be realized and your future flourish.