16 May Leveling Up In Our Personal Growth Journey
I’m at an interesting place in my life right now. I’m at the edge of the cliff and I can either jump with faith that I’ll get to the next destination safely or I can continue to stand on the cliff wondering what will happen if I ever take the leap. If you prefer video game metaphors, I’m at the end of one level and all I have left is to fight the scary beast to get to the next level in my journey. Except the beast isn’t external. The beast is me.
Literally, everything in my life is waiting to advance to a new level. My career, my relationship, this blog, to name a few. I’m excited at what could be but I’m scared, too. I’m scared of failure, rejection, and loss. I’m happy with my life as it is. I’m comfortable, but comfort isn’t enough.
Taking the First Step
Often when we’re ready to level up in our personal growth journey, the hardest part is simply taking the first step. We may see our potential, but the challenge lies in how to get there.
Rather than leaping off the cliff, many people (including myself) prefer to build a ladder. The problem is that this ladder isn’t always realistic. We’ll spend our whole life building a ladder when the rest of the universe is shouting at us to just leap, already. If we want to become our best selves in our careers, relationships, and interests, first we have to acknowledge that is next step is always going to be scary and difficult. If you leap you might hit the ground hard. It might hurt for awhile. But once you’ve healed you have a whole new world of possibility to explore that never existed before.
Even though taking the first step is hard, it’s not impossible. Most people find it easier to get stuck in contentment rather than advance to their highest potential. We also care about the people in our lives and care about what these people think of us. This strongly affects our decision making and is another reason why improving or leaving an unhappy relationship or job is so difficult for many people. We’d rather devote our energy to being happy with what we have rather than seeking ways to improve it.
One way we can take the first step toward advancing to a new level is by planting a seed in the next level. Once you’ve planted a seed, it needs to be watered and cared for in order to survive. The only way to do that consistently is to move into that level.
For example, if you’re ready to advance in your career your seeds can be posting your resume on a job search website, contacting your network for job opportunities, or optimizing your Linkedin page. These are small steps you can take while still in your existing job. What about more difficult scenarios, like starting your own business or leaving an unhealthy relationship? These things often require a larger sacrifice. However, you can still plant seeds. The universe will see your seeds and naturally plow the way forward for you. This may sound woo-y, but it actually works in a practical way.
If you’re looking to escape an unhealthy but otherwise comfortable relationship, one of the seeds can be to recognize your own self-worth. Attend an event or join an online community with like-minded people. You’ll start to connect with others and realize your own value above what exists within the relationship. You’ll realize that you can connect with others and the end of this relationship doesn’t mean that you’ll never be in another relationship. Talk to people who love and support you and ask their honest opinion. Attend therapy or support groups. Read books and blogs from people who have ended toxic relationships. All of these seeds will eventually help you to bloom into the person who is prepared to advance to the next level.
Using Graves Model in Personal Development
Whereas many development models, such as the MBTI, are horizontal models of personality development, meaning that they don’t address how we develop over time, the Grave Model is a vertical model of personal development. This model addresses how we change as we age and grow over time. You can read a great description of this model by Personality Hacker here. The Graves Model tool can help you pinpoint where you are on your personal development journey. It’s helped me to answer a lot of questions I had about who I am and where I want to go next.
The average level for most of the population is level 4. That is the level I’m currently working to transition from. Many people will relate to levels 5, 6, and 7. Many will try to skip levels because they aren’t comfortable with them. For example, I’ve tried to skip from 4 to 6, because those levels are more comfortable for me based on my natural personality and way of thinking. But that’s not the suggested growth path. We have to experience each level to its full extent to be able to reach our highest potential.
I won’t get too into Graves Model in this blog post, as it’s a complicated system and deserves an entire post related to how it can help us on our personal growth journeys (look for that article at some point in the future). But it’s definitely worth exploring if you’re into personal development. This book was recommended to me as an excellent resource to better understand the model: Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change.
You’ve Level Up, Now What?
If you’ve recently leveled up in your personal growth journey or are beginning the process, congratulations! Since most people are heavily influenced by who we surround ourselves with, it’s extremely important to surround yourself with individuals who are at the same level or a higher level than you are. If not, you’ll find people in lower levels constantly trying to drag you back down, which is a huge setback.
I’m not saying to break ties with all friends and family who are content to stay where they are in life, but it’s important to set boundaries and limit your interactions while increasing the amount of time spent with people who are advancing on their personal growth path. This may be challenging if the person not willing to grow is a partner, parent, or close friend. In fact, many world-changing men and women have ended relationships for this very reason. It’s one of the hardest parts of personal development.
But at the end of the day, you have to remember how much you have to offer the world and that you deserve to be your healthiest and happiest self. You don’t have to make the most of your time on earth, millions of people choose not to. But the universe will constantly pull you to where you’re supposed to be, and you’ll never know exactly what that is until you take the leap of faith.