Tag Archives: growth

Why Die Wondering?

GROWTH: What lessons did I learn during the past two years of the pandemic?

RISK: Maybe you took a risk and failed big, but found a silver lining? Maybe you took a risk and something wonderful came out of it? 

I just realized that the topics of GROWTH and RISK are totally embedded in my life right now. I’ve been feeling bad since I did not write a GROWTH post last week (Slacker). Now, I have the perfect opportunity to speak to both writing prompts in a meaningful, timely, soul-searching post. GROWTH and RISK.I am in the midst of intense personal growth because I took extreme personal risks. I’m sure the pandemic played a role in the timing of my fearful-yet-fearless, mid-life unraveling. Most of all, a simple question I read prompted some life-changing events in the past 6 months.

Why Die Wondering?

Another pandemic lesson…a profound one-liner: Jump, and the Net Will Appear

These two sentences hit me like a ton of bricks. Life after embracing this wake-up call has been both exhilarating and terrifying. I think two years of pandemic life pushed me to finally find my own voice and take a risk. Taking the risk- taking the leap – presented me with some long overdue opportunities for growth.

Jump and the net will appear.

I jumped. Finally. I faced huge personal issues I’ve been ignoring for over a decade. I jumped. And nets have appeared. But they are not Disney movie nets with a warm and fuzzy, happy ending. My decision to leap came with painful consequences for many people. They are not perfect nets. Perfect is the enemy of good enough. Searching for perfect plans and 100% certainty will not lead to growth. Growth requires risk. Growth happens when I’m ready to be good enough, not perfect. Growth happens after I leap and land in a new, terrifying net of possibilities and challenges. In the past, I avoided both growth and risk. Now, I’m embracing them. Some days, I can’t believe I finally jumped from my life of self-inflicted inaction into the net of new possibilities. I never imagined the pandemic could provide clarity and courage. But here I am. In the last 6 months, I’ve learned to ask myself new questions, too.

What would a brave person do? What would a confident woman do?

Obviously, we all have been changed by the pandemic. Personally, I decided not to yearn for the way things have always been. I realized I did not want to return to the status quo. The universal upset caused by the pandemic provided me with a frightening, personal call-to-action. The pandemic revealed a life-changing question: Why die wondering?  


Growth Happens!

There’s nothing like a good worldwide pandemic to shift us into a new gear. I personally feel like I have been shot out the other side of an intense 2-year sabbatical on life, technology and communication.

While I was floating around in the black hole following armageddon (March 2020), I picked up a few handy skills and lost a few unnecessary habits.

I have read quite a few personal and professional growth books, attended many online conferences and webinars, created many video lectures, discovered Apple Fitness +, signed up for and started a 9-month Health & Wellness Coaching training program, started craving human connection, and reflected deeply on best ways to connect with my students, coworkers, family and friends.

Here’s one of the Health & Wellness Coaching tools that helped me take stock of where I needed to grow in my life. The tool is called The Wheel of Life, and you use it to rate your level of satisfaction in various aspects of your life.

The Wheel of Life.
(Source: Real Balance Global Wellness Services Inc.)

Take a moment to rate 1-10 (low to high) your level of satisfaction with each of these areas in your life. Friends, family, significant other, career, money, health and wellbeing, personal growth and development, fun and recreation, physical environment.

Connect the dots and see if they form a big perfect circle. My guess is that if this wheel was on your bicycle, it would be a very bumpy ride! It’s great to be enlightened on areas that have been unintentionally ignoring.

While I was struggling with life balance and the necessity of nutrition, physical fitness, stress management and sleep, I had been ignoring the social dynamic of my life, on the other side of the wheel. Since I lean more toward introversion, I figured I was justified in enjoying my own company. It took a Health and Wellness Coach to point out that even introverts need the “connection injection!”

Since I have been making a strong personal effort on the social side of the wheel, the physical side of the wheel began to take care of itself. It wasn’t that I ignored it, it was just that I wasn’t so hyper focused on it. It was like taking the spotlight and shining in a sightly different spot.

If you are looking for a Health and Wellness Coach, GCC plans to start a nationally board certified program in the Fall of 2023. In the meantime, reach out to me for free coaching sessions! I would love to help you see the light shining on your life to enhance your personal and professional growth!


We are Climbing

________ 2022…

            I look above at empty space

            A place of progress to embrace.

            I look below at growth erased

            A wall of advancement to trace.

________ 2016

            A marriage, and a home, and a personal business.

            My former student finished her dissertation on forgiveness.

            And now I read students’ papers about Freud, or Chaplin, or Knapp

            and their personal stages of development.

________ 2001

            A home bought from a divorcee who loved white furniture,

            and twenty students of mine won Gold in Speech as a determiner

            of class, and status, and I held down three jobs

            while struggling with Said, Baldwin, Spivak and Hobbs.

________ 1991

            A shared bedroom with a Dutchman in the Back Bay,

          while teaching students how to argue and write a persuasive essay.

            Eating dry Ramen, and working at various jobs with various sharks

            hardly gave me time to read Foucault, Derrida, or Marx.

________ 1989

            As a student in an apartment with a sleeping bag on the floor,

            and three roommates who thought cleaning a chore.

            I saved my paychecks from the theater and hours at Taco Bell,

            and read books by Kant, Plato, and Hegel.

________ 1966

            As a child I grew taller in a vintage mobile trailer

            with deluxe appliances for my mother and a sailor.

            I mobilized the American Dream in the tree-less plains

            of Western Nebraska and read Dickens, O’Neill, and Twain.

Once, long ago, pencil marks on the kitchen archway measured our rise like weeds climbing to taller heights and we grew. Reviewing the lines on the wall shows us where we were and where we are, and all the unmarked space of where we could grow. Now that the years passed, the seeds of knowledge grow old within us, and blossom more slowly, more invisibly, and the development becomes us well. The markings of growth no longer in the kitchen but on a cloud of students and classrooms. They help us climb each rung, and with each new learner, we acquire strength and pull up to the next level. But what is it growth is for, that has endured much, but to endure more?

To grow we must know from where we came,

where we started this old measuring game,

and recognize the dates on the wall.