Some basic needs are easy to recognize. For example, when you feel hungry you need to eat. When you feel thirsty you need to drink. But what do you feel when you need to grow?
If your like most people, you’ve experienced a gnawing dissatisfaction or uncomfortableness in your life at various times with what your are doing and the direction you are heading with work and/or life and don’t quite know what to make of it. Been there? I know I have, as have most of people I’ve talked with. The problem is that when it happens very few seem to know what to make of it or what to call it……..what they do know is that they don’t like it.
When words are found to describe this experience, one that seems to fit is “stuck”. You may describe it differently, but regardless of what you call it, it’s a place you don’t want to stay in. Some only experience it a few times, while for others it’s more akin to a friend or relative that has overstayed their welcome….indefinitely. Regardless of how often it occurs and whether the intensity of the experience is a low whisper or a deafening roar, most people have a hard time figuring out just exactly what “stuck” (or whatever you want to call it) is trying to tell them.
After listening to Mel Robbins TEDx talk, reflecting on what I’ve heard from others and from what I’ve experienced myself I’m convinced she’s right: “stuck” is simply a signal letting us know we have a basic human need that’s being unmet. It’s a need that’s just as real as hunger and thirst: the need to grow as a person.
If we don’t satisfy hunger and thirst, we die pretty quickly. Likewise, if we don’t satisfy our need to grow we also die. The difference is that death from not meeting physical needs is readily visible and happens relatively quickly. Death from failing to grow personally or professionally is just as real, it just takes a lot longer. A “failure to grow” death usually isn’t apparent to the person going down that path, although people around the person languishing inside often see or sense it very plainly on the outside. However, physical death and “failure to grow” death are similar in that:
- There is atrophy of mind and body
- There is transition of the soul
- The ability to influence is gone
- Others experience loss of value
The other interesting analogy between our physical needs and the need to grow is that the signals letting us know we have a need begin to diminish over time when they go unmet. Ask anybody who has fasted for more than three days and they will tell you that the hunger pains diminish. Likewise, when you ignore (or quash) signals moving you to grow you begin to notice them less or aren’t as bothered. That condition then leads to a much more comfortable sensation that is called “settled”. The problem with “settled” and the seductive comfort it brings is that you’re in danger of staying there…..for good.
How have you been feeling lately about your personal growth? Where are you at right now with it, where do you to grow, and what’s your next best step? Please leave a comment and share your triumphs, struggles and even tragedies so we can all grow together here.