Gray: Are you growing, or are you dying?

In life, we’re either growing or dying. What does that mean? To grow, we must seek new challenges and set new goals. Doing so boosts our mental and physical health, improves our self-confidence, strengthens our relationships and helps us enjoy our work. On the flip side, living a life of status quo, where each day blends into the next, leads to a dissatisfaction.

In the past seven years of coaching people in our community, I have seen a common thread. Those who are willing to dig deep, look inward and grow as a person have greater likelihood of making real, lasting change in their health. One woman I worked with at the health club said she is letting go of her perfectionism at work and is going to stop being as hard on herself. Another woman said she’s going to work on expressing more patience with her kids. A young man said he’s learning to be more organized and set career goals as a student. Undoubtedly, these changes will lead to greater satisfaction in all areas of life.

In order to get better, we have to know where we’re beginning. Let’s start by identifying and measuring our roles in life. When you improve one role in life, you improve in all.

I shared a few of the following tips in a short newsletter recently, and my email in-box blew up with replies. That tells me you are open to being challenged about your current roles.

Where have I been studying this? It’s been a busy month of quick trips from Houston to Dallas to San Diego. I purposely invest in personal and professional development seminars so I can become a better leader in fitness, in the community and in my own family. You can do the same by picking up a new book, listening to an audio CD, or downloading a podcast. There are so many ways to learn. Although I enjoy digging deep and setting new goals and plans for my life, I enjoy even more sharing these golden nuggets with others.

What does it mean to identify your roles in life? Research from the Franklin Covey Institute shows that we can be extraordinary at six roles – if you have more, they get muddled and confused. So, think about all the “hats you wear” and can you identify six that speak to you most at this time in your life? Where do you most want to grow?

They can change, so don’t be hard on yourself! Your roles may include things such as: parent, spouse, teacher, friend, family cook, runner, church leader, grandparent, neighbor, daughter, community leader, volunteer, caretaker, advocate, etc.

I’ll share my example to help illustrate the point. Of course, these are personal to me, and certainly not the same as yours. The roles I want to be extraordinary with are:

1. wife/friend to my husband

2. mother/mentor to my two kids

3. business owner/leader at Bay Athletic Club

4. team captain/wellness coach for Team Beachbody

5. fitness instructor/personal trainer for our community

6. manager of self

The last one might seem odd to you, or even self-serving. But I share that with authenticity. I had to make self-care, personal development, fitness, nutrition, sleep and stress reduction an actual role in my life to be better in all the rest. At different times in my life, I’ve been more focused on other roles, such as friend or sports coach. I wanted to squeeze those on my list, but I had to be realistic. I can still be those things, but when I focus on these SIX things, I feel empowered and successful, and the rest take care of themselves.

So can you do some brainstorming? What roles matter most to you? What gives you fulfillment, achievement, even challenge? Write them all down. Then highlight six. They don’t need to be in any particular order. You can fit six roles in your life and sometimes one takes center stage for the day, or week. Just knowing which ones matter helps you make better decisions about your valuable time and precious energy. Try not to bunch roles together (e.g. head of household/family cook/parent/spouse), because they’ll end up feeling congested. You can’t do everything. Focus. Give each priority a role. Designate time for it.

Spend some time thinking about your roles in life. When you’re growing, you’re living.

Trina Gray is the owner of Bay Athletic Club, a mother of two, a national presenter on fitness and wellness and a change agent in the community. Her wellness column appears monthly.