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Evolving

Last month I went to a mastermind event where there were approximately 1,500 other life coaches. While it was very inspiring to be around so many successful life coaches, it was also very humbling. I noticed I started comparing myself and where I was in my coaching journey to the other coaches there. But I quickly reminded myself not to compare my beginning with someone else’s end, as my coach always tells us.


Our focus should always be on evolving ourselves, never on comparing ourselves to anyone else. Even though comparison is a natural human tendency–it is not useful. It’s also unfair to you and the person you are comparing yourself to. You don’t know what privileges, or struggles, others have had in their lives. When you look inward and improve the only thing you can control–yourself; that is the best thing you can do for your own personal development.


I recently found some of my old journals from over 20 years ago. Reading them now, I can see how much I have grown as a person since that younger version of me. My heart aches for all the suffering she went through. I would love to be able to somehow tell her that she will get through it and everything will be okay. But I know deep down, having to go through those painful experiences is what makes me who I am today.


Looking back at the moments in which I grew the most, were always the times that were the toughest to live through. One particular day I remember vividly was going back to work when everyone at the office found out about my mental illness. I experienced so many emotions that day. I felt mortified, exposed, overwhelmed, and so much shame. I remember having to count my steps when I was walking to push myself to keep moving. It was one of the longest and toughest days of my life. I couldn’t see it at the time, but what I learned from that day is that I have the capacity to face any emotion and still be okay. That day forever changed who I was.


I am grateful for the person I am today, to have had those experiences that challenged and transformed me. But I didn’t get here because I accomplished some amazing feat. There wasn’t one single thing I did that was remarkable. It was the collection of little things I did that made me the person I am today. During the most challenging and hopeless moments of my life, I was able to find strength in myself. I was able to pick myself off the floor; put one foot in front of the other; and keep moving, when all I wanted to do was shut down. They were all simple things, but definitely not easy.


No one wants to be faced with adversities or challenges. But when it is starring you in the face, what you do about it, tells others and yourself the kind of person you are. I have noticed that the people who have the most determination to evolve or change themselves for the better have typically faced extremely difficult challenges in their lives. For them, evolving is a necessity because they find themselves to be unacceptable where they currently are.


For others, being better versions of themselves is more of a passing thought. It would be great, but not worth putting a lot of effort towards. Since they have not gone through hardships, there isn’t much motivation to do anything differently in their lives because their life is pretty good as it is. And there is nothing wrong with that.


Not everyone is into personal development. There are plenty of people who are happy with their lives and themselves just as they are. Being content with life and not wanting to do anything differently is perfectly fine. Everyone gets to decide for themselves what it is that they want for their lives.


But if you don’t like who you are today, no one is stopping you from being the person you want to become. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Don’t let your past define you. Be the person you want to be by taking that first step in that direction.


It’s not about any one significant achievement that needs to be accomplished. Sometimes it’s making the most of any given situation. Doing the best with what you have, where you are. It’s taking small steps every day to make yourself a little bit better than the day before.


Growth requires you to be willing to experience a lot of uncomfortable emotions. As with anything in life, you get out of it what you put in. You can’t wish to become a better, more evolved person without doing any work. You have to make a conscious effort to do the difficult things, to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s about pushing your own limits, knowing there is a better version of yourself waiting for you.


Evolving includes cumulative changes over time, it doesn’t happen overnight. It requires living intentionally each day, to put in the work to move yourself forward. Just like working out once does not keep you healthy forever, growing is a continuous process that requires small progressions every day.


As we all know, change is the one constant in life. Nothing ever stays the same. Those who refuse to accept that change is an inevitable part of life, are always swimming against the current. Those who are willing to evolve embrace change. They sometimes even seek change in order to provide themselves with opportunities that challenge them.


Who you are today does not have to be who you are tomorrow. You are responsible for the trajectory of your own life. How you choose to live it is completely up to you. I would like to leave you with the beautiful words from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”


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