Forward Momentum

Does growth take movement? This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. I often think about the different ways that I can grow in my life and this is one of the more difficult questions I’ve wrestled with.  As my wife and I talk over coffee, we briefly discuss our upcoming move further north. Though my wife is bravely taking on a long commute so she can keep her job, it is inevitable for me to find a new job or transfer to another store location which I am both nervous and excited for the change in my life…but mostly nervous. Despite the fact that I often think about ways in which I can grow, the idea of growth also terrifies me because it requires a step out of my comfort zone - maybe you can relate.

I believe growth is unavoidable and actually instinctual in our human nature to crave some form of growth in our lives. What we often forget is that there are different ways in which we can prepare ourselves. Muscles and our brain need exercise and healthy habits for proper growth and nourishment just like plants need plenty of sun, water, and good soil to be nourished. So, what are you doing to nourish your soul, mind and body to prepare for growth in your life?

When I was little, my parents were a constant encouragement to me. I was blessed with parents who truly cared for me and my well-being. Perhaps you heard your parents or others say: “You can be anything you want to!” or “The sky’s the limit!” I know I did. Looking back on this now, however, I feel a bit like Icarus flying too close to the sun. These comments became my wax-wings that only melted as I came to believe that my identity was dependent on what I did for a living and that if I didn’t meet those expectations of greatness that my life was somehow unfulfilled. This wasn’t my parents’ intention and I was affirmed throughout my life that they would be proud of me no matter what I did, yet the bar was set for success in my mind. I don’t blame my parents for encouraging me in those ways as I realize now that it was the expectations I put in place, and not theirs, that caused me to fall.

In the last article I wrote, I talked a little about my experience with counseling.  I went through a long period of anger, depression and disappointment about not doing what I believed I was destined to do; some sort of work that truly put meaning into my existence. I’m happy to say that counseling was the blessing that I needed in my life to start the healing process and, using a plant analogy, begin tilling the soil of my life to allow the seeds to grow.

Now, to answer my initial question: I do believe that growth requires movement. I couldn’t have come out of my significant depression unless I had movement in my life. I will say that “movement” means something different for each of us and I would be remiss to say otherwise. So, what have I been doing to nourish my soul, mind and body to prepare myself for growth? I’ve continued counseling, spent time doing things I enjoy such as reading and writing, I have conversations with those that I love and I make a point to ask what I can do for my wife rather than what she can do for me. Whether we realize it or not, stagnation can be a selfish pursuit because not only do we prevent ourselves from growth, we begin to isolate ourselves from others and keep ourselves from knowing or being known by others.  This has been a significant struggle and required a lot of intentionality on my part. I’ve had to really force myself to change the way in which I perceive what is truly important in my life. Is it more important to be content with what I do for a living, or what I live to do? Do I want to be engrossed with what I want to be or who I want to be? Is joy synonymous with vocation? Is my career so important that I’m willing to sacrifice what is truly important to me such as spending time with family or being present for a friend in need?

These questions are tough – trust me, I’ve wrestled with them - but my intention is to be encouraging and to prompt you to ask the tough questions and re-define the way in which you nourish growth in your life. As I said before: I do believe that growth requires movement and I also believe that this looks different for everyone.

I hope that you will take the time today to challenge yourself to grow. Challenge yourself to seek the right nourishment in your life and don’t allow yourself to be discouraged by the difficulties and trials you may face while in this pursuit.

Nick Anderson is a Guest Writer for The Authenticity Project, you can contact Nick at