My recent trip to San Diego has been excellent. I had never seen the city before (see my other post) and it was great to visit for the first time and get to experience somewhere new. In addition, the workshop was fantastic, and I learned a lot - perhaps to be the subject of a later post. One thing that I noticed though, is that several areas of the city are under construction, and this is my lesson for today.
One of the cliches that I have found to be true, is that "growth is found outside of my comfort zone". This means that by its very nature, it is uncomfortable and that is a feeling that I had to become comfortable with over the past few years. And believe me - oftentimes I had no desire for growth. I remember many years ago, someone telling me about how “character building” it is to work through bad/negative/uncomfortable situations, and thinking “yeah… no thanks… I don’t think I want any more character right now!!" And I really didn’t! I was tired of being uncomfortable, and being stretched. On the flip side however, I am a naturally curious person, and I like to learn new skills. In fact, I find that I feel stagnant if I am not learning something new. In addition, with some of the skills I want to develop and some of the goals I want to achieve, growth is mandatory and being uncomfortable goes hand in hand with it.
Now there are a few things I noticed about the construction work going on to grow/expand the city that I find applicable when I go through periods of change.
1. It is disruptive. Everyone knows that when there is a construction site, there is often traffic diversions around it, and it can be very disruptive to day to day life. For me this was also true. In order to achieve this growth, often I had to break away from my daily routine, and take a different route, which was unfamiliar and sometimes inconvenient. This is sometimes the nature of the sacrifices that need to be made for growth. Sometimes I am lucky and the new route takes me somewhere beautiful and unexpected. Sometimes it brings lots of traffic, and the only thing I can be thankful for is that a brick didn’t hit me on the head.
2. It isn’t pretty - of course, a finished product can be gorgeous, but during the construction phase, it is often quite unattractive, and may not resemble the finished product in the early stages. It can even be hard sometimes to see what that end product is supposed to look like! It can feel that way sometimes in life when I am going through changes that the end seems far away and the process seems tedious, and doesn’t look like the finished product, and sometimes only after it is done can I see the growth that has taken place. It isn’t pretty, but hopefully the hard work pays off.
3. It requires vision. I heard a story about a man called Horton who did the majority of the development in the “new San Diego” the location and layout that the city has today. When he arrived, he thought it looked like a nice place to build a city, he saw the potential in the location and had a vision for it. He decided to buy the land. When he went to auction (so the story goes) he bid 100 dollars on the first lot, and everyone burst out laughing - he thought he had bid too low. However, it was hastily accepted, and he realized that he had actually over bid. He apparently bought the entire area for less than 300 dollars! He looked at the empty land and had a vision for what he wanted it to be. Sometimes, growth requires vision, the vision required to look at an empty lot and know how it could look once developed. It is important to keep that vision in mind while working through the construction.
4. It is hard work! I always admire men working on construction sites in the hot sun, for a variety of reasons!! Growth can require some hard work, hard because it requires doing something that I am not that good at which is always harder than the stuff I know how to do.
5. It takes time and doesn’t always go according to the plan. I don't think this needs any more elaboration.
For me, when I have skills that are “under construction” so to speak, I have learned to remind myself of those aspects of construction which may make things a bit uncomfortable, but which in the long run can lead to something beautiful being built, if I am willing to stick with it. This can end up in something beautiful being built.
Big love from a small island (yup - I am back!)
Ps - the above photo was taken while in San Diego! I cannot figure out how to put photos into the post itself, but I am working on it!