Experimenting with growth

In working with clients I am always focused on supporting them in growing their capacity to do what they intend to do and show up how they intend to be in the world. And, like most coaches, I am also always exploring how I can grow my capacities to be the kind of coach and human being I want to be. There is no question that sudden, discontinuous shifts in our lives (a new job, an illness, the death of a close friend) can be catalysts for growth, as can a fantastic class, or an encounter with an inspiring leader. But in the day to day of life, how can we find opportunities to keep growing? And how can we do so in a way that feels safe and not too risky? My suggestion to clients (and myself!) is to try small experiments. One place I often experiment is on the yoga mat. Yoga is a great place to try things out—how long can I be in this pose-that-feels-like-it-will-kill-me? Can I do it for just one more breath? Can I find a way to hold the pain, discomfort or awkwardness for just one more moment? Yoga also has the benefit of being an embodied practice; I have to be in my body to do it, and I have found that insights which strike while on the mat often take root in my body. One of the poses that I have always “hated” is chair pose. I have pretty strong quads from biking and spinning, yet it is so hard for me to hold this pose. Recently I heard the teacher suggest a small adjustment, “can you squeeze your outer hips in a bit?” Um, what? Yes, I could, and—suddenly, the pose was a bit more stable, a bit more tolerable, a bit less going-to-kill-me. And in that moment, I grew. I grew my capacity to hold that pose. I grew my capacity to be more open to experimenting. I deepened my understanding of how to balance strength and stability. I proved to myself, once again, that change is possible. I realized I could stop being attached to my fixation on how awful chair pose is.

What small change have you made recently that led to growth?