15 Ways to Get Unstuck and Grow

It’s true: Growth requires change. This is how…

Seeds become flowers;

Caterpillars become butterflies;

Irritants in oysters become pearls.

So why can’t we – once babes in arms – grow into purpose-driven world changers?

With intention, discipline and greater expectations, we can, and so can the children we’ve been given the opportunity to steward.

Let go of your fears and grow.

Where to start? Right here, right now.

How to start? With every simple or significant opportunity that comes your way.

Try one new thing today and see how it feels. Say yes to something you’d normally avoid. Consider embracing hard truths rather than running away from feedback, even if it stings.

Listen more and learn from others.

Get comfortable with silence so you can both hear yourself think and give your heart the space to respond. Consider another person’s perspective and why their view matters.

When you can’t literally stand in another person’s shoes, do your best to find other ways to empathize. What if it were your sister, brother, mother, father, son or daughter, best friend or spouse facing what this other person faces? Would you care enough to help, be an ally or be an upstander?

Shed unsuitable labels that those around you have given you. Beginning today, define or redefine for yourself who you are, who you are going to be and why your life matters.

Dust off the dreams you once held dear, but perhaps gave up pursuing. If necessary, give yourself permission to dream new dreams.

Accept that age truly is just a number. Celebrate the wisdom that has come with maturity, yet remain young at heart and as optimistic as the bright-eyed youth who sees a goal and declares it a birthright.

If Vera Wang could become a fashion designer at 40, Samuel Jackson could achieve stardom at age 46, Laura Ingalls Wilder could write her first book at 65, and Etta Baker could record her first blues record at 78, what can’t you do?

Make up your mind and fix your resolve to do it afraid, if necessary. (You get to determine what “it” is, and you may have more than one.)

Implement positive and productive practices that become positive and productive habits. Tell yourself to keep going when it gets hard. Push through and pat yourself on the back.

Cry if you must, then regroup. Get back up each time you wobble, fall or fail. Practice makes perfect, and important lessons are often learned through trial and error.

Know that what you’re you’re sacrificing now is worth what you’ll eventually gain.

Someday you’ll look back with gratitude at the seed covering, caterpillar shell and irritated oyster bed you outgrew.

~ Stacy Hawkins Adams

 

 

 

 

 

When Change is a Gift

Research shows that most people dislike change so much that they’d rather stay in unfulfilling, stagnant or unstable circumstances rather than risk the unknown or stretch past what feels safe. It’s human nature, it seems, to “go with what you know.”

Over the course of my personal and professional journey, however, I’ve become convinced that the different or the uncomfortable (or even the heartbreaking) can sometimes be a sacred path to purpose.

For it is on this fresh course and in unfamiliar territory that we learn more about ourselves, discover strengths we might not have otherwise realized, and connect with ideas, skills and relationships that are meant to play pivotal roles in our destiny.

Yet, if we’re not open to change, or avoid accepting its unexpected arrival, how will we ever know our other (possibly wiser, stronger, happier) selves?

This is my sentiment as I bid farewell to readers of Life Notes, the parenting column I’ve had the pleasure of writing since July 2007 for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Yes- more than 10 years! (Read my farewell column, in today’s newspaper, here.)

Life Notes was actually my second venture as a columnist for this daily newspaper in Richmond, Virginia: From 2000 to 2006, I wrote a weekly column for the Saturday metro section called Inspirations, which acquainted readers far and wide with the uplifting and resilient journeys of metro Richmond residents and with their explorations of faith and personal growth. It had a tremendous following, and according to Times-Dispatch reader surveys, was a primary driver for Saturday newspaper sales during that time.

Both columns were meaningful to me, as was my connection to their readers.

I retired Inspirations, however, when I “retired” from my daily journalism career to focus on penning books and freelance writing. Not an easy decision since I loved my work, but an exciting and necessary one, in order to fulfill the other dreams on my To Do list. I never regretted the choice.

This time around, with changes abreast in newspaper column inches and editorial direction comes the opportunity to take another leap that has long been on my To Do list: expanding the genre of books I write to include more nonfiction (in addition to my women’s fiction) and perhaps some young adult reads.  And while I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to blog for the Huffington Post, I look forward to penning more essays and profiles about the power of story and the relevance of our individual journeys for additional national publications. (Stay tuned!)

So yes, this is a goodbye of sorts to one platform for my writing, but a hello to all of the opportunities and open doors on my uncharted path. Will you celebrate with me?

I hope you’ll follow this blog to see where the written word takes me. Feel free to comment below and share ideas about what you’d like to learn about personal growth, matters of faith, living your best life, walking in purpose or writing your way to joy. I look forward to exploring these themes and more with you, and to growing with you.

 

Stacy Hawkins Adams ~ Author, Essayist, Journalist, Blogger

3 Steps to Your Next Level

Sometimes you have to

1) Let go to grow

2) Leave behind in order to find

3) Stand up rather than continue to sit

Is this easy? Rarely.

Is it worth it? Always.

For even if you don’t hit the exact mark you’re aiming for, you’ll come closer to being your most authentic, purpose-filled self, and that’s a treasure worth seeking.

When we’re able to release the habits, beliefs and actions that keep us stuck at average or below, the doors to our next-level blessings will slowly but surely begin to open.

Get ready and stay ready.

Channeling Joy

Today I’m channeling the former queen of daytime TV…
You get some joy, she gets some joy, he gets some joy, we ALL get some joy!
There’s enough to go around and it’s not one-size-fits-all or first come, first served.
Look within and listen. Start living your soul’s dream. You’ll see – your joy will flow.                 

                  ~ Stacy Hawkins Adams

Cookies and Dreams: Why You Should Leap

By Stacy Hawkins Adams

Last week I decided to bake homemade oatmeal cookies for my son, but it was cold and dark outside and I didn’t feel like driving to the store to buy the brown sugar and raisins that the recipe called for and my pantry lacked.

Rather than give up, I pulled an “old school” cook’s move and substituted with what was on hand.

The all-purpose sugar and pure vanilla extract worked wonderfully, and though the cookies weren’t as “tan” as usual, the way they quickly vanished were proof that they were a hit. (He asked for more this weekend.)

So what’s the moral of this Monday Morning Musing? This right here:

Conditions won’t always be perfect. Everything you think you must have to succeed won’t be on hand.  But leap anyway.

Make trial-and-error tweaks as needed. Operate in excellence.

Embrace imperfections that arise as your unique offering to the process.

Believe. Press on. Enjoy the journey.

Birth that vision. Give hope to others who are watching you.

If you’ll just get started, the rest will unfold when needed – or turn out better than you could have imagined.

Why Your Next-Level Thinking Must Begin Today

Are you ready for your next level?

You don’t have to have it all together before you start (no one does),

Or know exactly how it all will unfold (life happens),

Or be without flaw (curveballs and mistakes are par for the course).

What you DO need is a belief in your vision and a belief that you’re worth the self-investment, because you are.

So go after your personal goals with faith and focus,

And recalibrate your professional ones with strategic creativity and heart.

Your tenacity, passion and purpose will inspire others to embrace their best life, too.

Don’t wait until 2018…start now.

How to Refine Your Reading List in Ways that Refine You

By Stacy Hawkins Adams

Every successful organization or business has a mission statement or brand statement that drives its leaders’ decision making and direction – why not you?

I shared this perspective recently with a group of women and men that I led through a series of teleconference calls about purpose, goal-setting and faith; and during our discussion, I offered to give them a peek at my personal library – the one filled with books that have guided and shaped my perspective on life, living with intention and executing with excellence.

As we sit on the verge of a new year, which always brings with it hope for second, third or any number of new chances and possibilities, I decided to also share these literary gems with you.

I’ve read the books listed here over a 15-year (or so) period, at various stages of adulthood and maturity; so you may find a few of the titles too elementary. Perhaps you can recommend those particular books to young adults you’re mentoring or helping raise.

Yet some of the books I’ve chosen may indeed pique your interest, grace your reading list and help you grow, too.

Vastly more important than having you embrace the topics and authors that have resonated with me is for the list to serve as a catalyst for you becoming a version of yourself that you can consistently honor and love.

Indeed, all of these books have been foundational in some manner to the expansion of my heart, my vision, my perspective, my dreams  and my faith:

  • Listen to Your Life: Following Your Unique Path to Extraordinary Success by Valorie Burton
  • Making Life Work: Putting God’s Wisdom into Action by Bill Hybels
  • The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours by Marian Wright Edelman
  • The Life God Blesses: Weathering the Storms of Life that Threaten the Soul by Gordon MacDonald
  • Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now by Maya Angelou
  • If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg
  • In Search of Satisfaction by J. California Cooper
  • The Testament by John Grisham
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

I could include quite a few more! This is just a start, to jumpstart your efforts to embrace reading that can help you wake up, get up, trust yourself, believe in your dreams and stretch to new heights.

Buy a new journal to record your thoughts from the books you choose to read. Use that same journal to craft a personal mission statement or brand value, based on who you want to become.

As a man (or woman) thinketh, so is he (or she). The words you ingest matter, and so do you. Read your way to wholeness, joy and purpose, then write that vision – with tangible steps and timelines – to ensure that your goals become your reality.

I’m rooting for you.