When you let go of what no longer serves you, you create space for something wonderful!
Space can be defined as ‘a continuous area of expanse which is free, available, or unoccupied’ or ‘the dimensions of height, depth, and width within which all things exist and move.’
I think of space as an opportunity for a new possibility; the silence between two notes that makes music possible; the area we each occupy – not just physically, but energetically.
Space to BE!
There is no doubt at all that in the current world, space is a precious commodity. Space to live and breathe, without constant demands from our work, devices, and other people. Space to simply BE! Recreational activities serve to provide us with that space, and yet it can often feel like we are holding a tide back in order to grab even a moment for ourselves. Perhaps this is where boundaries come into play – our need to establish and maintain the frameworks and scaffolding in our lives within which we can restore and recover so that we may venture back into life refreshed. I know from experience, that I need to be intentional about designing spaces in my life for this, because as the saying goes ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ and I have often found that unless I am mindful, the spaces become narrower and narrower until they no longer exist.
Sometimes you just need to be alone, that’s ok. It doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with you, or even that anything’s wrong in your life. Sometimes you need to create the space to soul search, recover, think, rest and just BE. You don’t have to apologise for needing or taking this space, it’s part of what makes you a happy, healthy person. Author unknown
Sometimes in relationships it is important to take some time away from others, as an act of self-love, so that we can return revitalised and ready to be present once more for the relationship and the other person. I know that I always appreciate my loved ones more after some time apart. A wise teacher of mine once demonstrated that for two people in a partnership it is important that each only occupies 40% of the space, leaving 20% between them so that they could ebb and flow into that space – rather than competing for the space.
Holding Space for Another
What does it mean to hold the space for another? Simply being present, without judgement, and without advising them or instructing them. The greatest gift we can give another in their time of need, is permission to simple BE, to feel their feelings, express their innermost thoughts, and to really listen to them while they work through whatever they are handling at the time. The gift of time and presence is beyond value. It provides others the unconditional space they need, in a supported environment, to emote, to say their thoughts out loud, and in the process, to heal and get clarity.
Between stimulus and response there is a space – slow down and create space for another choice.
Creating the Space for possibilities
The other day I was in a well-be-ing workshop, and one of the activities we were invited to participate in was to do everything 20% slower during morning tea. The two things I noticed during this practice was that when I moved slower I allowed space for others, and that as I slowed down my ‘tea-making’ I made a different choice – instead of reaching for the automatic English Breakfast tea, I became aware that I could make another choice – and chose the Earl Grey tea. It struck me that slowing down provided enough time for my automatic choices and neural pathways to divert to another choice…while this isn’t earth shattering on a small scale, it is an indication of what mindfulness, and allowing space and time can do for our many decisions made in the course of a day, or a week, or a year!
In our communications it will provide us with an alternative response rather than the automatic one we give each time.
In our response to traffic jams or queuing we are provided with another way to use the space/time that becomes available to us.
If we can create space in our workplaces or in our homes by removing clutter – unnecessary items, we create space for things which may serve us well or we create space for peace and for simplicity!
This can be broadened to life generally – where can you create space by de-cluttering – physically, socially, mentally, or with commitments?
If there is space in our diary, wonderful things can come into being – possibilities that only the Universe, or God, or our imagination can provide for us!
Staring into Space – daydreaming
Recent research done in Adelaide by Dr Fiona Kerr and Lekki Maze found that looking up – and out – into space, has the power to change our brain, our body, our productivity, our life and our community! During daydreaming, our brain has the opportunity to become creative, to be inspired, and become better at problem solving.
So, for all of us who were told off for daydreaming, take heart! It is good for us all!
If you want more information on this there is a free download at:
Wishing you the space to BE all you want to BE!
Spaciously yours!! Gabrielle
For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth. Sanskrit proverb
Take a big breath in now through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth! Let it go! And another – while you read, and use this breath to become present.
Our breath is our well-being tool! Breathing is the only body process that both happens automatically without our control, and can be controlled by us too!
There is a significant connection between our nervous system, our flight-fight-freeze response and our breathing. Have you ever noticed that when you are in pain, stressed or anxious, your breathing changes, becoming shorter, shallower, and almost a panting breath at times? There is good reason for this – staying under the radar out in the wild – being unseen, unheard, invisible, so that our predators don’t notice us. This same response happens when we are stressed in modern life. The only thing is that our predators are not affected by our breathing, we are! We forget to return to a healthy breath, and can often find ourselves habitually shallow breathers. This deprives our brain and other vital organs of the oxygen they need for healthy function. Also, did you know that 70% of our body’s toxins are released through our breath? It’s time to breathe for well-being!
We can use our breath to shift our body’s hormonal state – our chemical soup if you wish – from a sympathetic (flight-fight-freeze) state to a parasympathetic (rest & digest) state. Breathing mindfully will help us to calm ourselves, and find a healthy steady-state for body, mind and soul! I invite you to experiment with the power of your breath…
Begin with some breath awareness…be aware of how your breath flows in and out of the body…then try some short exercises where you breath in for a count of 4, and out for a count of 4…reflect on how that feels?
You may wish to try the box breath – or square breath, where you breathe in for 4 beats, pause for 4 beats, breathe out for 4 beats and pause for 4 beats…
Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Thich Nhat Hanh
There are so many studies and so much research being done which shows that we can affect our mental and physical state simply by breathing consciously in certain ways, how the healing power of the breath can relieve stress, anxiety and depression, and Post Traumatic Stress. Research shown that 6 good breaths per minute is a good rate for well-be-ing, improving our heart rate variability – a measure of wellbeing! You can work towards a calming breathing cycle which consists of an in breath over 4 counts, and an out breath over 8 counts – or seconds…if you do five of these 12 second cycles you will have breathed 5 times over a minute.
I regularly use the breath, together with mantras, to assist my well-be-ing, for example…
Every breath in is an opportunity to bring in new energy, new life, and an opportunity to begin anew, to re-set…Every breath out is a letting go, a release of anything which no longer serves me, physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually…
As I breathe out, I willingly release the past, and as I breathe in I welcome renewal and a new future…
As I breathe out I surrender the past, and as I breathe in I welcome the future…
The in-out cycle of the breath aligns with the cycle of life, of nature, of the tides and the seasons, so as we breathe consciously, we tune into nature and the healing power of the breath, to inspiration, and our connection to spirit. After all, inspiration has its roots in inspire – or breath in!
Mindful breathing connects us to the present moment, and in doing so, can help relieve anxieties and concerns which may have been distracting us from the present.
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. Thich Nhat Hanh
We all breathe the same breath, the same air, that has been circulating around the planet for aeons, and being recycled through us and the atmosphere to be refreshed by the plants for our use once more…I close with this quote by C. Joybell which reminds us of this, and that we are never alone.
I am never alone wherever I am. The air itself supplies me with a century of love. When I breathe in, I am breathing in the laughter, tears, victories, passions, thoughts, memories, existence, joys, moments, and the hues of the sunlight on many tones of skin; I am breathing in the same air that was exhaled by many before me. The air that bore them life. And so who can I ever say that I am alone?
Yours in gratitude, Gabrielle
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, its’ in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Marianne Williamson: A Return to Love
About 10 years ago, I penned and published a book called Living the Light.
I was moved to write this book because of my belief that within each of us there is a spark, a light, that is unique, that the world needs us to beam out!
We learn from an early age how to fit in, hot to be the people others want us to be, how to get approval and love, and when to light up and when to hit the dimmer switch!
What if we never learnt that? What if we had a child, or a pet, or a beautiful rose bush that was too afraid to show us their beauty? What would we want them to know?
What stops us? Fear stops us!
Fear of disapproval, of judgement, of rejection, of hurt, of conflict, of not being enough, of failing, of loss.
If fear was allowed to reign, how many songs would remain unsung?
How many poems unwritten?
Inventions left to waste?
Feelings left unexpressed?
Connections not made?
Brené Brown challenges us to “Show Up”, wholly, fully, in our joys and in our pain, in our triumphs and in our tragedy, to risk being vulnerable, to be who we are here to be, to bring ourselves to the world!
True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.
This is where life is found in all its forms!
Even as I write this blog – there’s my inner voice saying ‘no-one is listening…just forget about this project…no-one’s reading them anyway…you’re too far behind and have too much else to do…’
This ego-voice isn’t telling the truth – it’s the part of me that is afraid of imperfection, of judgement, of disapproval, of not-being-enough.
The truth is, I need to write because I need to hear what I’m writing…this is my discipline…my truth telling…and I will continue to the best of my ability to sing my song, to shine my light…no matter how dim it might feel from time to time…thank you for your encouragement…you know who you are…may my words inspire you to shine your own unique rays of light into the world…may you know this truth…It is safe to beam me!!
Radiantly yours! Gab
Brené Brown ~ Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind, and spirit - the realization that everything we do, think, feel, and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.
This is a bit of a buzz word at the moment, and can mean a lot of different things to different people. It does include our physical health, and a positive, growth mindset, along with the ability to enjoy our emotional states and our relationships, and feeling a sense of meaning to our existence.
I think the most important question is:
~ What does Well Be-ing look like and feel like to me?
~ What are the things that I think, do or surround myself with that contribute to my Well Be-ing?
~ What are the things that reduce my Well Be-ing?
It’s a simple equation, really, do more of what enhances and less of what reduces our Well-Be-ing!
Perhaps it doesn’t feel that easy – it does take conscious commitment, and a mindful approach to maintain our Well-Being. Once we’ve done the stocktake above, we can choose 1 or 2 things to begin with, and start [re-commence] the journey!
One thing I do know for sure, is that our Physical, Emotional, Psychological, Social and Spiritual Well Be-ing are all connected, and that if we take action in one area, it can lift us sufficiently to want to take action towards Well Be-ing in another.
A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. James E Faust
So whatever it is, Begin it!
You are worth it! The world needs You!
Your Well Be-ing contributes to the Bigger Picture and ripples beyond yourself…
I encourage you to take 3 pages, with the titles from the questions above, and jot down your answers – without judgement or excuses or invalidation and make a change in the direction of greater Well Be-ing! You have the wisdom within!
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." Goethe
Yours in Well Be-ing, Gab
Going with the flow is responding to cues from the universe. When you go with the flow, you’re surfing Life Force. It’s about wakeful trust and total collaboration with what’s showing up for you. Danielle LaPorte
Have you ever tried to swim against the current? Either in a river, or at the beach in the ocean?
It takes so much more energy to do this in water, as it does in life.
I can remember some years ago when my sister and I went for a long swim at Cape Leveque WA (yes we found out later that a crocodile had taken someone the week before! #livingontheedge ). We were heading towards an estuary along the coast and it felt so easy, and time seemed to stand still. We were in the moment!
After we had explored the beach it was time to swim back home. The tide had turned! Wow, the energy and time it took us to get back to our starting point was huge!
The contrast was striking.
This can be the case in our lives too, when we are resisting change, digging our heels in, not tuning into the bigger picture of what is unfolding naturally for us. We might feel as if we’re caught in a rip, being dragged out to sea, and, feeling panicky, want to swim against it to get back to shore. Wisdom, and a higher perspective would have us instead relax, and swim sideways to calmer waters, to find out way back to a new shoreline.
This is flow – stepping into the Life-stream, faith in the unseen, enjoying the journey, embracing and trusting what comes, knowing all will be well. It takes courage, perhaps, and it also takes a heck of a lot less energy!
Perhaps it is time to reflect on where we might be resisting the flow, and let go of the edge, and enjoy the ride?
For we know…everything is temporary. Emotions, thoughts, people and scenery. Rather than being attached to it, just flow with it!
Enjoy the ride! Gab
It’s time to disconnect so that we can re-connect!
Disconnect from our devices, and connect, first with ourselves – our true selves, and then with our loved ones, our friends and our community.
It’s time to risk being vulnerable, walking, living and speaking our truth.
Brené Brown speaks of this as one of the core truths and elements of a civil society – this belonging, this connection between people.
“That connection – the spirit that flows between us and every other human in the world – is not something that can be broken; however, our belief in the connection is constantly tested and repeatedly severed. When our belief that there’s something greater than us, something rooted in love and compassion, breaks, we are more likely to retreat to our bunkers, to hate from afar, to tolerate bullshit, to dehumanise others, and, ironically, to stay out of the wilderness. It’s counterintuitive, but our belief in inextricable human connection is one of our most renewable sources of courage in the wilderness.”
I write this post not long after my Dad has passed, having the privilege to witness his passing, slowly, gradually over a period of years as the Alzheimer’s disease took hold, ultimately it seemed that the connection to us his family was what kept him here, and it was perhaps his fear of losing that connection that seemed to linger until the end, almost beyond what his body could endure until those final moments when he surrendered.
It is this human connection, this belonging we are all hungry for, and yet I see us substituting it for lower vibrational forms like social media and addictions like shopping, alcohol and gaming.
Brené Brown invites us to Show up for collective moments of joy and pain so we can actually bear witness to inextricable human connection. Sharing the roller coaster of life with others is what glues humanity together – not just sharing the highs, but the lows as well…
My wish is that we take the time and the risk to re-connect, remembering what it is to feel truly connected to one ourselves, and to each other as members of this amazing planetary community. This is imperative.
For a spine-tingling, goose-bump invoking moment of connection you may wish to view this you-tube clip of You’ll Never Walk Alone! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go-jJlGd1so
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging & the Courage to Stand Alone ~ Brené Brown
I will not be another flower, picked for my beauty and left to die. I will be wild, difficult to find, and impossible to forget. Erin Van Vuren
What does is it mean to be wild?
Unfettered, untamed, outside of the fence.
What exists outside of the fence, outside of the comfort zone of ‘safety’?
When I have explored my ‘wild side’, it has been a journey, as Cheryl Strayed puts it in her book “Wild” a journey ‘from lost to found’.
To me, being wild and untamed means being free to be me, my authentic self. In fact it is here in the chaos of wildness that beauty is found, authentic beauty, not order, and not safety, but vulnerability and risk, the darkness and shadows as well as the play of light and strength.
It is nature, chaotically beautiful, where the wildflowers grow, between the rocks, alongside the pathways, not in the manicured, protected gardens.
It is spontaneity, unplanned and alive to the possibilities that lay in each moment, each patch of NOW.
As the song goes: C’mon, take a walk on the wild side.
Wishing you all a moment (or a lifetime) of Wildness…it’s time to set ourselves free!
Wildly yours, Gab
Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Wild ~ Cheryl Strayed
“I willingly release that which no longer serves me.”
To Release: to set free, let go, liberate.
What is it that we may be hanging onto, which, if we were to release it, would set us free?
What is it that we can release? The Past? Our Story? Control? Our Breath?
As I sat alongside my father in 2019 while he prepared to release his body (to die to this world), it caused me to reflect on what we need to release in order to find true freedom.
Freedom from our past, from our pain, from our stories of hurt, from any baggage we may be travelling life’s journey with, which is serving as an anchor, keeping us held back from our potential.
Freedom to experience the joy and pleasures available to us. Freedom to speak our truth out loud. Freedom to be our authentic self.
I am reminded of a story (tale?) once told of the method used to catch spider monkeys for zoos. A bell-shaped jar would be placed in the jungle, with its long neck, and large base holding food to attract the spider monkey. Once the spider monkey reached his long arm down the neck of the jar and took hold of that food, his hand would make a fist. This fist prevented him from removing his hand from the jar, as it was now too big to move up the neck of the jar. The spider monkey could have released the food and kept his freedom, but he clearly was in survival mode, and hung on tight to the food. So the captors would simply tranquilize the spider monkey for transport to the zoo.
This tale was told to illustrate the possibility that there may be times in our lives when we may need to release our grip on what we have, or know, in order to retain the freedom to grow and live. What am I holding onto that I can release right now, to find freedom?
In my experience of working with people in a therapeutic setting, the greatest liberation seems to take place when they have the ‘Aha’ moment – a revelation – that they have been investing energy into hanging onto resentment, anger or pain inflicted by another or towards themselves. Once they release that willingly, lovingly, and with gratitude for the lessons, they are free to move back out into their lives, lighter and stronger within themselves, whole and available to their future and what it may hold.
We can begin again, at any time, releasing the physical things around us that are no longer of service, and progress towards our less tangible aspects as we are ready, making space for our Mental, Emotional and Spiritual refreshment.
As we do this, we are more present to the moment and less likely to project our pains and guilts relating to our past into these present moments, and we can make the space for peace – and we know right now how important Peace is!
May we together gratefully and willingly release whatever no longer serves us, and welcome our future with peace & joy!
With love, Gabrielle
Nature Nurtures! Vitamin N!
I feel so fortunate that so much of my personal and professional life involves nature. This has been by design, not by accident! My earliest happy memories are the moments spent up in a tree; at the beach; in the garden; out bush camping; in the forest; or under the stars!
Calvin: Look at all the stars! The universe just goes out forever and ever!
Hobbes: It kind of makes you wonder why man considers himself such a big screaming deal!
Instinctively, I have been drawn to nature when I have been in a space of confusion, fatigue, or feeling ‘out of sorts’ emotionally. It has always served as a ‘pick me up’ on every level of my being, and many, many hours of wonderfully profound conversations have been had with others against a backdrop of nature!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. Edward Abbey
It turns out that there is now EVIDENCE being produced from research that proves just how nature heals us! Doctors in Scotland can now prescribe nature to their patients! “One long stroll, four times a week.” This has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and increase happiness in patients. [See link below for the article.]
Florence Williams in her fantastic book “The Nature Fix” explains why nature makes us happier, healthier and more creative. She explores the Japanese custom of Shinrin yoku – Forest bathing – which is now part of preventative medicine in Japan – reflecting their nature/civilisation hybrid. Li, who is the chairman of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine has the following recommendations “If you have time for a vacation, don’t go to a city. Go to a natural area. Try to go one weekend a month. Visit a park at least once a week. Gardening is good. On urban walks, try to walk under trees, not across fields. Go to a quiet place. Near water is also good.”
Erich Fromm, a social psychologist coined the term “Biophilia – the passionate love of life and of all that is alive – it is the wish to further growth, whether in a person, a plant, an idea or a social group.” If you have an instinct to head out into nature – your in-tuition (inner teacher) is serving you well – follow it and reap the rewards! Research recommends a minimum 5 hours outdoors per month for Well-Being!
Studies in Japan found that forest walks (even shorter immersions) can lead to a 12% reduction in stress hormones such as cortisol, a 7% decrease in the sympathetic nerve activity (the fight/flight system), a 6% decrease in the resting heart rate, and lowered blood pressure. Psychologically, moods are improved, and anxiety is reduced following a ‘dose’ of forest bathing. Chemically, the phytoncides – terpenes released by the trees, are antibacterial, and so good for our health too! Our immunity is boosted by exposure to forests and trees, with an increase in killer cells triggered too!
Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life. John Muir
Nature provides us with an opportunity to ‘zoom out’ by being present, gaining a new perspective on our lives. Being in the outdoors promotes curiosity too – we are drawn out of ourselves – we only need to look at young children to see how time stands still for them as they become one with their environment. It’s a place without judgement – we can be who we are – authentically – the trees and the animals are not assessing us – we can breathe out and relax!
In an era where the average person looks at their phone 150 times per day, and the average teen sends 3000 text messages per month, social connection is like sugar – it’s addictive. Perhaps we can connect in the outdoors? Did you know that when we stare at screens all day we blink less, which leads to dry eyes?
Next time you arrange a coffee with a friend, go for a walk first. Instead of meeting in an office, have a walking meeting. Engage in walking meditations regularly, or simply sit and be still under a large tree or in a garden or a natural place of beauty.
We need to Disconnect to Reconnect! With ourselves and with others.
To hone our decision-making capacity, our ability to pay attention, & improve our focus management, studies have shown that if we can go outside into nature, or stare out a window at nature (yes, really!) we will give our brains a chance to refresh, and come back to our tasks more productively. Attention Restoration Therapy (ART) reduces the cognitive load, and reduces anxiety, allowing our front brains to recharge.
The benefit of listening to soundscapes has been researched too. They are another lovely way to use nature for our wellbeing – listening to recordings of birds, waterfalls, oceans, and other nature sounds help us unwind and provide an opportunity for our parasympathetic nervous system – our rest and digest system – to function effectively.
Finnish culture is closely connected to their land. There is a term Metsänpeitto: which is about getting lost in beauty – a taste of freedom, nature-union and joy. I love this expression – it describes how I feel when I immerse myself in nature and simply connect with the world around me – they describe it as forest-bathing on acid!!
There is a power in eternity, and it is green. Hildegard von Bingen
So, let’s all set our intentions to allow more nature in our lives – to connect intentionally with the natural world that is all around us – which will bring us greater wellbeing, and help us to live mindfully, present for ourselves and for others. After all, it’s free!! And our beautiful landscape awaits us!
Alive by nature, Gabrielle!
The Nature Fix ~ Florence Williams
The Biophilia Effect ~ Clemens G Arvay
Doctors in Scotland article link:
“Grit = the Power of Passion + Perseverance”
As I write this I observe Australian farmers come to terms with cattle drowning floods, and crop destroying droughts. And yet they continue to rebound, processing the great losses, and envisioning a way through the darkness into the future. They are a living demonstration of GRIT, demonstrating resilience, tenacity through the suffering, perseverance & passion for their vision. I call it ‘stick-ability’!
As Angela Duckworth (AD) writes in her book – Grit – Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success – Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It is having stamina, sticking with your future day in and day out, for years. Working hard to make that future a reality. Living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
“Talent you have naturally. Skill only develops by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft” Will Smith
In this fast twitch, immediate gratification era – Enthusiasm is common, Endurance is becoming increasingly rare i.e. staying the course – being in it for the long haul. My reflection on this is that perhaps the pace of life means that we aren’t taking sufficient time, or giving ourselves permission to reflect on our journey and learn from our setbacks – feeling the pressure to succeed first time, and quickly. Along with the externalisation of our validation (in other words – relying on the constant feedback from the ‘likes’ of social media) perhaps we have outsourced validation to such a degree that we can’t even tell if we’re on track anymore – or even making progress. It looks like everyone else is getting ‘there’ faster than we are, and with fewer, if any mistakes along the way. The perfect Truman Show life!
Grit requires a growth mindset. Carol Dweck in her book Mindset, states that fixed mindset attitudes are demonstrated in people who avoid challenges; get defensive or giving up easily; see effort as fruitless; ignore useful negative feedback; and feel threatened by the success of others. Growth mindset intelligence can be developed, and is demonstrated as a tendency to embrace challenges; persist in the face of setbacks; see effort as the path to mastery; learn from criticism; and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others – resulting in higher levels of achievement.
“If we get knocked down, and stay down, grit loses. If we get up, grit prevails.” Angela Duckworth
Angela describes goals as low-level and higher-level. The daily to-do lists of low-level goals are our check points towards our ultimate concern (as psychologists put it), our higher-level goals – our unique and personal passions.
So how do we grow grit? Angela explains that it is developed as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment, and learn to tell the difference between low-level goals that should be abandoned (or adapted) quickly and higher-level goals that demand more tenacity.
To be gritty is to resist complacency…it requires us to hang in there and see it through because we believe this is what we are here to do – not simply for the validation from others. Internal motivation not external motivation will contribute to grit. (Hey we all enjoy recognition of course – I’m not saying that’s not ok – it’s about not depending entirely on the opinions of others to keep us motivated – doing things because we want to – not because we have to live up to the expectations of others.)
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (MC) talks about the highly focussed mental state of FLOW…that people are happiest when that are in a state of flow – completely absorbed with the activity at hand – in the zone. He also found that intrinsically motivated people were more likely to be goal-oriented and enjoy challenges that would lead to an increase in overall happiness.
“Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.” MC
It is said that gritty people do more deliberate practice (preparation) and experience more flow (performance). So we need to consciously develop a practice – make it habitual, then let go of judgement and be in the moment to experience this flow and high level performance.
We need to keep putting one foot in front of the other!
Show Up! & Keep showing up in our lives!
When we take people on our Free Spirit Adventure treks there is definitely a positive growth in the Grit department! The fact that they need to train, repeatedly over some time, possibly recover from the stresses and strains of that training, deal with setbacks in life along the way, juggling life’s priorities, and when they finally get on the trek they need to be able to re-set on a daily basis according to what nature and the track throws at them is all part of the grit cycle! Grit is discovered, developed, and reinforced through the trekking experience – I have seen so many people find a grit within that they never knew they had – or believed they didn’t possess until the moment, at the finish line, when we all celebrate the true achievement of their perseverance and passion.
Likewise on our True North Leadership Quests, when participants have the opportunity to reflect on their life and career journey, explore their wins and their setbacks, take the learnings from those, and try new thoughts and behaviours with a growth mindset, grit is enhanced – both in the personal lives, and in the workplace. We help people connect with their inner True North – their higher-level goals – and return to their regular world with clarity and perspective.
Here’s to a gritty life! In the best possible way!
Grit ~ Angela Duckworth
Mindset ~ Carol Dweck
As a part of my own spiritual and personal practice, I chose 52 words to reflect on over the course of a year.