Recently I wrote about the Dangers of Settling. It is a temptation that all of us face in almost every area of our life. Our marriages get stuck. We settle in our careers. We accept whatever is happening with our children. We get in a rut in our organizations. We often excuse the situation with sayings like “it is what it is” or “I am satisfied”.
Many times when we settle our intentions are good. We may have stopped for a little while to rest. Things may be better than they were so we don’t want to disrupt the improvement. There are good things happening even though they are not the things we desired. We measure ourselves by other’s opinions and do what they think is best. Besides, it is easier to keep something in motion than it is to get something started.
If settling is dangerous, are there some ways we can avoid it? Can we create some systems or put in place some habits that might help us avoid getting stuck in a place we never intended to stay? If we are aware of the dangers, I think there are some things that we can do that will help us avoid settling for less than where we are supposed to be or what we are called to do.
Try Something New
When was the last time you did something for the very first time? Trying something new will often break you out of a rut or get your attention focused on what is possible again. It does not have to be something spectacular; simply trying something new is good for you. It can be as simple as a new food, a new route to work or a different morning routine. Just try something that you have never tried before and see what kind of impact it might have. As a matter of fact, Mary Schmich says you should “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Try something new today.
Set A Deadline
There are times when we have a legitimate reason to stop where we are for a while. We may need to rest or we may need to assist someone else for a period of time. There may be a season of life that requires us to hold off on some things until a later time. One of the ways to avoid getting stuck in one of these places is to set a deadline for how long we will be there. If it is a season of rest, determine ahead of time how long that will be so that it does not turn into a permanent situation. For example, some dieters have “cheat days” built in. Sometimes those cheat day turns into a cheat week then a cheat month until they have abandoned the diet altogether. There is nothing wrong a temporary stop, but we must be careful that it doesn’t turn into a permanent location.
Make Growth A Daily Habit
Growth is not a destination, it is a lifestyle. Growth is something that we must be doing daily. It must be a part of our routine of life. There are countless ways to grow, but much of it has to do with the things we consume and the people with whom we associate. Healthy growth rarely happens by accident. We must constantly be aware of whether or not we are growing. The greatest thing growth does is to not allow us to remain the same. All change is not growth, but you cannot grow without changing. Those changes are often the very things that will help us move out of our settled place.
Asking questions is a great way to get a better understanding. Sometimes we are questioning ourselves. Other times we are getting input from others. John Maxwell wrote an entire book entitled “Good Leaders Ask Great Questions”. If you are no longer questioning things, it very well may be a sign that you are stuck or settled. Simple things like “Is this where I am supposed to be?” or “Is this what I am supposed to be doing?”. Questions from others may center around effectiveness or their observations of specific things in your life. Questions are your friend. Don’t be afraid to ask them.
All of us have settled in the wrong place at times. The problem is when it becomes our permanent location. Use some of these simple methods to make sure you don’t settle for less than what you are created to do.