THE BLOG
09/12/2012 12:13 am ET Updated Nov 11, 2012

'Growing Up' to Your Highest Potential

Despite your chronological (or numerical) age, it's quite normal to feel like you still need to grow up in certain areas of your life. Whether you're feeling disconnected in your relationship, your career seems mundane and unrewarding, or your spiritual life is unfulfilling, you can begin to take the steps to "grow up" to your highest potential in any part of your life you choose to work on. Many adults will ask themselves (or someone close to them) -- sometimes in jest -- "What do I want to do or be when I grow up?" If this rings a bell, it may be a comment that's more grounded in reality than you think.

In my new book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential, I explain that there are a variety of reasons why individuals often get off the path to reaching an optimal level of maturity in certain life areas. It may be fear, anxiety, or self-doubt that's preventing you from making the most of a given part of your life, but as soon as you allow yourself to be aware that it's time to make changes, these inner conflicts no longer need to control your life.

Here are some first steps to jump-starting your maturation process in any part of your life where this dilemma sounds familiar:

Asking questions: Begin by asking yourself what part of your life could be better? In which area could you feel happier or be more motivated? In which area do you feel like you have not yet fully "grown up"? As you bring these questions to mind, notice what part of your life seems most important to address first. By simply comparing what your life is now to what it could be, you have taken a very powerful first step toward reaching your potential.

Focus on yourself: Notice how the expectations of others are affecting you. Are you doing what's best for you or what someone else thinks or says is best for you? Without strong reasons to change something that's no longer working in your life that are truly your own, the motivation for you to change may not be there.

Take initiative: Ask yourself what you could do to take some definite initiative. This may be something you can do on your own, like updating your resume, for example, or perhaps one where it's necessary to get some help. Mentors, support groups, coaches, and therapists are great resources when stuck in trying to take initiative to move forward in one or more specific areas of your life. Remember to think of whatever steps you come up with, as the first in that journey to reaching your highest potential.

Take responsibility: Stop blaming others for where you are in your life. Forgive parents, partners, bosses, ex-spouses and lovers or colleagues for the ways in which you believe they have contributed to your stuck feeling. Most importantly, forgive yourself for your role in not being where you want to be in your life. With your acceptance of yourself and anyone else you may blame, you'll feel empowered to move forward toward living a life where your passions and happiness are in your hands.

Don't settle: Give yourself full permission to strive for the fulfillment you are seeking. Certain thoughts or attitudes can make it difficult to move forward. Staying in a relationship or a job because you believe you don't deserve better or are incapable of changing will almost certainly hold you back from living according to your true passions.

Happiness and fulfillment are not out of reach. For many resources to help you take steps to grow up to your highest potential wherever you believe you may have stayed behind, visit StageClimbing.com.

For more by Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., click here.

For more on wisdom, click here.

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