Reflections at 40 – Regression – 13/40

To celebrate turning 40, I’ve challenged myself to blog for each of the 40 days leading into my birthday. This is post number 13. You can read all the posts here.

Making change and growing as people is the equivalent of learning a new skill; like learning to walk a balance beam.

When life is easy, the concentration and energy we need to walk the balance beam is readily available to us. So, even though it’s hard, we can do it. The more we do it, the better we get at it, and the less concentration and energy it takes. Eventually, we get so good at walking the balance beam, we don’t have to think about it anymore. We just do it.

This is how we like to think growth happens. In a very linear fashion:

Identify change that needs to be made > work hard to make the change > the change becomes embedded.

Growth isn’t linear, however.

Because life happens.

Challenges arise that sap our energy and will.

Some days we fall off the balance beam so often we end up just doing the easy thing – walking on level ground.

This is normal, but most of us look at it as ‘failure’.

In seeing things that way we decide there’s no point even trying to learn to walk the beam because, look we tried, and we failed, and what’s even the point?

Regression is an inevitable part of the process of growth.

Two steps forward, one step sideways, one step backwards, another step forward.

That’s how I made changes six years ago.

It was tough to live. For those who loved me it was frustrating to watch. And I beat myself up mercilessly for every regression, (<< not useful). But I kept driving forward.

I wouldn’t say it’s easy to walk the balance beam today. I definitely don’t do it without thinking. But I am better able to do it when I’m tired and challenged.

And the better I’m able to do it when challenges arise, the less susceptible I become to the subtle art of self-sabotage.


Image credit: Jake Weirick