Pre-Trauma Growth

The hard-won growth that can come after struggle and trauma is a cause for celebration. But when I heard Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg refer to pre-trauma growth in an interview, I immediately realized she was talking about my favorite way to grow … NO trauma to ME.

When I can see the danger signs and find an alternate route to reach my destination… now that’s when I’m really celebrating.

“Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.” ~ Proverbs 18:15

Inhale Teachable, Exhale Hard-Headed…
Inhale Receptivity, Exhale Rejection…
Inhale Growth, Exhale Trauma…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
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Risk Adverse

I write a lot about the struggles we face on the way to being who we are purposed to be…those experiences we experienced as negative when they happened that turned our lives around; the choices we made that taught us what wouldn’t work; the tremendous effort expended that didn’t turn out as expected but showed us what we were capable of.

Yet as parents, we often try to shield our children from these very experiences, which enable their development…to their and our detriment…

Children learn to navigate risks—not through discussions or TV shows—but by actually taking risks.” ~ Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders.

Inhale Risk, Exhale Suffocation…
Inhale Adversity, Exhale Suppression…
Inhale Development, Exhale Strangulation…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Development

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Stronger

When I was 5 and playing against 11-year-olds, who were bigger, stronger, faster, I just had to figure out a way to play with them.” ~ Wayne Gretzky.

I discovered resistance training while in college. My roommate and I would squeeze into the cramped, sweaty, unorganized space that passed for a gym in the early 80s…a far cry from the sprawling Student Recreation Center current University of Alabama students enjoy.

I became fascinated (some might say obsessed) by the way the resistance training shaped my muscles. I learned how the stress of lifting weights actually created little tears in my muscle fibers, which fused together to create muscle growth. Lifting also made my bones denser and less likely to break as I got older, increased blood flow, which reduces blood pressure…just made my body stronger and more efficient.

I realized that the long-term benefits far outweighed the temporary discomfort.

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Inhale Strength, Exhale Stagnation…
Inhale Discomfort, Exhale Underdevelopment…
Inhale Discipline, Exhale Destruction…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
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Seeds

At church this weekend, it was all about seeds and growing, reaping and sowing. Even during story hour for the young and young at heart, the pastor shared a fable about seeds that face obstacles to their growth.

In the story, some of the seeds decide to postpone any attempts to grow until the obstacles disappear (they don’t). But one determined seed decides to face possible destruction and fulfill its purpose to become a palm tree with an extraordinarily strong trunk.

“What do you think happened?” the pastor asked the assembled 6, 7 and 8-year olds.

And one brave young soul answered correctly, “The obstacles made the tree grow stronger.”

Inhale Bend, Exhale Break…
Inhale Slowed Down, Exhale Terminated…
Inhale Delayed, Exhale Defeated…
Just Breathe

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Lived Experience

Experience is the best teacher…”

I’ve seen some people live this saying as if they can ONLY learn through their own experienced mistakes. And while I concede those lessons tend to be the most enduring, I wonder…isn’t is possible to learn through someone else’s experience?

But then I’m reminded that life is not necessarily supposed to be smooth all the time. The life lessons gained through good and bad experiences help us get to who we’re supposed to be.

Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.” ~ Desmond Tutu

Inhale Experience, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Detachment, Exhale Judgment…
Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Judgment…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
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Helping…or Hurting?

I’m a helper.

Whether it’s fitness or leadership or team dynamics or logistics, when I see individuals or organizations struggle, I often want to offer my expertise. But in the gym, I learned that the “correct form” does not look the same for every body; as a mom, I’ve learned that even the best advice might be ignored if it’s unsolicited, and since becoming a coach, I understand that at our core, we have the answers to our issues.

So now, only when asked, I really try to focus on helping others discover their inner knowing.

To rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior is to render them powerless.” ~ Henry Cloud

Inhale Risk, Exhale Rescue…
Inhale Development, Exhale Disempowerment…
Inhale Falling, Exhale Failure…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
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Becoming

A young adult friend of mine decided a roommate situation was not a good fit, then agreed to it anyway. She felt the pressure of trying to help a friend in a way that ended up putting strains on and almost ending the friendship.

It was a hard lesson about listening to her instincts…a tough reminder that every individual intuitively knows what is best for her and becoming who you are supposed to become takes courage.

Who you’re becoming is far more important than what you’re doing, and yet it is what you’re doing that’s determining who you’re becoming.” Hal Elrod

Inhale Intuition, Exhale Uncertainty…
Inhale Instinct, Exhale Doubt…
Inhale Courage, Exhale Cowardice…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
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Applied Experience

Our own experience is crucial to our development. The positive experiences reinforce behavior and the negative experiences teach us what not to do, if we are able to learn from them.

But it takes awareness to recognize the patterns that lead to negative outcomes and see the possibility of something different.

It takes courage to take responsibility for the choice and choose something different.

It takes hope to understand the consequence of the choice and want something different.

Inhale Awareness, Exhale Oblivion…
Inhale Courage, Exhale Status quo
Inhale Hope, Exhale Despair…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
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Growth

“Are your painful experiences stumbling blocks or stepping stones?” ~ Bruce D. Schneider

One of the forever lessons I learned from my Air Force career is the ability to see the lesson in every experience. When I had great leaders, I took notes and unapologetically copied any behaviors that fit my leadership style. When I had not so great leaders, I learned some things NOT to do and how to exorcise those behaviors in my leadership.

When I had a positive leadership experience, I tried to understand what went right and build on it. When I had a negative leadership experience, I took the lesson and course corrected.

My goal was to never be complacent, never stop learning and never stop growing.

Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.” ~ Proverbs 15:22, The Message

Inhale Growth, Exhale Stagnation…
Inhale Renewal, Exhale Regression…
Inhale Expansion, Exhale Complacence…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
#Development

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