Being in a State of Constant Growth
I was honored to be a featured guest on my first ever podcast for Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast with the phenomenally, inspirational Executive Director Kolleen Chesley. During the podcast, Kolleen asked a really interesting question. She asked, “what has driven your maturity at such a young age?” At the ripe age of 33, I’ve recently been called “ma’am”, “Mrs. Tobias”, and told, “wow you look good for your age.” Needless to say, “young” is not how I have felt recently, and when Kolleen asked me that question, I had to step back and reflect on my life, my progress and truly my 33 years. As I thought about what she was really asking, I realized maturity is nothing more than being in a state of constant growth.
Now don’t get it twisted, I am not one of those existential people who is always searching for that next opportunity to grow. Real talk, when I get an email or phone call from someone contradicting my opinions or going against something I’ve worked really hard on, my immediate sometimes guttural reaction is, “ohh hell no!” Real mature, right? For someone who is “so mature,” I am sure you are asking yourself, what in the world kind of maturity is that?! It’s the honest kind! I am mature enough to know that I am a very, passionate person. With that passion can come a very quick, fierce temper (just ask my siblings!). That fierce and quick temper has gotten me in a lot of trouble and made me a lot of enemies in my true younger days.
A wise woman *cough ‘my mom’ *cough once shared the most insightful adages… “choose your battles” and my all time favorite “let it go.” I was holding on to WAY TOO MANY THINGS, so much so that I was allowing myself to get riled up over every little thing that did not meet my standards or mirror my opinions. The result… my own personal growth was significantly stalling out, and even worse I was running the risk of losing out on the blessings and purpose in my life that was truly God ordained. Flash forward almost a decade, and you have the state of constant growth aka maturity that only comes from knowing in order to be successful, in order to be the woman I was meant to be, I have to be truly open and dare I say vulnerable to this state of constant growth.
So I am sure you are asking yourself, ok but how? How do I avoid sending that email that has me slamming my fingers on the keyboard because I am so angry, or hanging up on my significant other because they said something I don’t agree with, or having a crucial conversation with my boss because they have offended me one too many times. Well my friend, allow me to share “Kristie’s Tips on Handling the ‘Oh Hell No’ Moments:
- Step 1- Give yourself the grace to breathe and verbally say “it is ok,” and if needed “it is not that big of a deal.” Sometimes we are so passionate, so focused, so up in arms that we forget that we and the people around us are also, so human. Give yourself grace and in return you will find that you will give grace to those around you. Stop yourself and just breathe for 10 solid seconds. In those 10 seconds give yourself a “grace mantra.” Mine sounds a little bit like this, “Girl, get a grip, it is not that serious.”
- Step 2- Step away step away step away!! Before you react or respond, stop yourself, and give yourself 24 hours if possible to provide a more thought out response. If you do not have 24 hours, give yourself 5-10 minutes to literally step away completely. Be honest with yourself, the situation and/or the person involved. Be ok with saying the words, “I need to walk away from this for right now,” or “I can’t do this right now.” Be honest with the “why,” be open and vulnerable enough to say, “I do not want to say or do something that will hurt your feelings or even my feelings.” Give yourself a couple go- to key words or statements that you can share in those moments of “oh hell no” crisis that can save you from saying, “you are on my last nerves!”
- Step 3- Craft a purposeful follow-up. Do not, I repeat DO NOT follow steps 1 and 2 and come to step 3 with that same pent up passion. If a message needs to be delivered following your situation craft a meaningful response that is focused on the impact and the “why” for your message. Equip yourself with an honest go-to group of 1-2 people who can objectively tell you if your follow-up is appropriate for the situation. No, your mother who always has your back cannot be that person, unless your mother is not involved in the situation or is a pro at being super objective so you can have your own growth moments (if you need an example the real Mrs. Tobias is a great one!). Be honest and be purposeful. Remember, you are not the only one involved in this situation, so craft your message with the other person in mind.
At the end of the day, in order to be successful you have to allow yourself the honor and privilege to be in a state of constant growth. Don’t let your refusal to grow rob you of your purpose and blessings.