Stress & the YES, part 2: Stress and Growth

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This is part 2 of a 4-part series.  It will only make sense if you have already read part 1.

What is growth?

Growth is the development of a greater ability to focus and utilize more energy – to channel more energy – to cause more energy to flow. 

When you utilize the energy of stress for growth, you in turn develop the ability to handle higher and higher levels of stress.

Your level of development as a person is not about what you know.  It’s about the level of energy, and thus the level of stress, that you’re able to flow.

When a toddler becomes able to count and sing songs, we say, “She has learned so much.”  When the cry of a baby used to terrify that same toddler, but now causes her to offer the baby a blanket in response, we say, often with a tear in our eye, “Look how much she’s grown.”

Learning is impressive.  Growth is beautiful.

This is what we’re really after when we’re tying to help someone to grow.

Growth and stress are inseparable.  Stress is the name we give to the feeling we get when we need to grow.  And it provides the energy that enables us to do it.

Your Personal Development Perimeter

Everyone has what I call a personal development perimeter (PDP).  It’s the area within which you are able to act on knowledge.  It’s the area where you are able to flow energy without being stopped.

The size of this perimeter is affected by your stage in life (such as toddler or adult), by your upbringing, your health, your genetics, your environment, your training, your life experiences.  But it’s still a perimeter.  And the process for the growth of it is exactly the same regardless of where the perimeter is.

Moving your perimeter out requires more energy than working within it.  Stress gives you that energy.  And this is the energy that we, as teachers, coaches, and mentors can use to get someone else to grow.

Getting Someone Else to Grow

Someone’s stress is your gold.  It shows you what they care about and that they have enough stored up energy to work on it.

Growth is what you get when you hold them in that energy until they are able to let it flow.

Growth is not something that happens over a long period of time.  It happens in an instant.  It happens in the moment when the energy that has welled up inside someone is allowed to flow through as a YES. 

The moment someone reaches their YES, they are a different person than the moment before – a stronger, more capable, more fully self-expressed person than they were a moment ago. 

This is because of the physiology of growth.

The Physiology of Growth

A high thyroid (T3) state is the opposite of a high adrenaline state.  It is the state in which you are able to flow energy. 

When you come up against something that causes your energy to get stuck (or potentially lost, in the case of the lion), you go into an adrenaline state to get you to take some bigger action.  When you are able to flow the energy again, you go back to a T3 state.

Growth happens when you move out of the adrenaline state of “Oh no!” into the T3 state of “I am capable of living a full and vibrant life because I take the necessary actions.”

Growth is not subjective.  It’s not you getting whatever they want or acting like you’ve grown.  It’s an actual change in physiology from adrenaline to T3. 

And what happens automatically in the body when that physiology change occurs?  The Smile.  That special, unmistakable, impossible-to-fake, relaxed jaw smile.

This is the YES to the stress.

Stress is both the signpost and the energy that we, as teachers, coaches, and leaders can use to get someone to grow.

[continue to part 3]