“You can’t grow and look good at the same time.”
We all want growth. We desire, we yearn, we crave for growth. We want to come out of a turbulent period in our lives significantly altered, unscathed, and most importantly - triumphant.
But we don’t actually want to go through the process of change, do we? You know that feeling when you’re on a rollercoaster ride and you’re about to go through what would feel like free-falling into the unknown? That’s change. That’s what we call an edge.
Change throws us off the course we always believed was intended for us. Most times, we resist it. Other times, we begrudgingly accept change as a temporary inconvenience. We go along with it, we wait for the moment we can all get back to our own lives, and god forbid change comes knocking at our door again.
And no kind of growth comes without some form of change. In the past couple of weeks wondering what content I wanted to contribute to the team on the theme of ‘Edges’, I realise that the concept of growth was something I wanted to give voice to.
As a (rather late) 20-something person in a team of mostly 40-something people, growth is not just a natural outcome – it is an expected one. Every moment is a teachable / coachable / learning moment. I say this with utmost affection (let’s just say that the frustration that humanly comes with these moments has… evolved). See, I told you… growth.
I am not a person who is comfortable with the lack of growth. What makes my life hard is that I also detest that free-falling feeling of change. I resist it with a passion. Every time I reflect on a moment of tension or conflict or an interaction I was not particularly proud of, I am filled with longing. I want to find right, but no way in hell will I do anything about it. Imagine the scene from The Exorcist where the person writhes and rolls around in pain tearing her hair out before coming to a calm.
That’s how it feels like for me, change. It feels like I’m battling my inner demons every single day. There’s awareness, there’s intention, and then there’s plucking the moral courage to show up in the ways I want to. I want to get to that growth aspect of it, I want to do this change bit right. I want to close my eyes and instantaneously become the person I want to be.
But let’s face it - crossing edges and doing the work on a daily basis is way less sexy than suddenly emerging victorious overnight. Because it’s invisible work, mostly thankless; and it comes from within. You also don’t get awards for it, and everybody wants an award for doing difficult things (guilty!). But it’s necessary work, and the only prize you get is the satisfaction of choosing to find right, to be better, to be the person you’re supposed to be.
“You can’t grow and look good at the same time.” This is an immensely painful concept for me. As someone who always wants to get things right from the get go, venturing into the unknown where mistakes and “failure” and conflict seem to lurk menacingly in the shadows is a mini-edge I cross every day. But what keeps me going is really the idea of courage in consistency, and consistency in courage. And by consistency, I mean the act of showing up for yourself every single day.
Look, if you don’t want to take it from this millennial, fine. But take it from John C. Maxwell: “I didn’t have any sudden big hits early in my career. I wasn’t a homerun hitter. My secret was to get up to bat every day and just try to get on base consistently.”