I see the human growth in the 3 areas of tree growth. Building deep roots, branching to the sky above, and widening its trunk's presence. "Branching out" is really about exploration of yourself, discovering the unknown. I LOVE this part. it's really fun, exciting, and requires risk, but not necessarily commitment.
What may be talked about less is not just how to stabilize yourself for growth, but how to become MORE of yourself. I think some people call being "grown", where you know how you work, what you are about, and what is worth your time.
And to help my points more meaningful, I have the a help of none other than our former First Lady, Michelle, the master of "Becoming"!
Identify your stability
Everyone should identify this BEFORE exploring or becoming. Do you know what keeps you firmly rooted? Is it family, friends, a partner? Or is a culture, spirituality, or hobby? Whatever holds you strong, make sure collectively have these qualities.
1) Independent of status
2) Non-judgmental & honest
3) Brings joy
Why? The right roots keeps you going, whether you are up the high-stakes ladder of your career or tumbling down a trough. The right roots don't let you you "become" something outside of your goals, hampered by your fears, or controlled by negative aspects. You wouldn't want a study partner who decides not to work with you when you drop below a B in a class. You want them to be there for you, but be honest when it comes to your patterns and shortcomings.
The will help you become a better sturdier, more tenacious and attentive. At the same time, that person makes life (or academic life) more bearable in the grudges of growing up.
My stability is summed up in my parents, my closest friends, my mountain dulcimer, and space launches.
"Choose people who lift you up." - Michelle Obama
Put your values on the line.
This is main course. After the build -up of exploring and building habits in an environment, you may come to a fork where the choices aren't right vs. wrong, but value-based. Its where you set your priorities.
This was the clearest one for me this year. I almost missed my chance to go to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) because a professor wouldn't move an exam. Seeking counsel with others, I tried to work around the issue and contemplate the alternatives. I did all the right things to have full awareness of the decisions I could make and consequences following. However, soon it became very clear what I was going to do.
I dropped that class. Why? I value my learning. A class that everyone takes, is offered every semester, and doesn't impact the trajectory of my career, does not live up to the value of becoming one of the first analog astronauts at my university (as an undergraduate too!).
When you are put into a corner, pushed to an edge, or shined in the spotlight, that's how your values make you "become" who are meant to be.
"I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values - and follow my own moral compass - then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own" - Michelle Obama
Bless your life. The good, bad, and ugly.
Everything around you shapes who you become. Some things are in your control their presence, and others roll over you like waves in an ocean.
A tree is shaped by it's environment; the slope of the hill, the quality of dirt, the whip of wind, the itch of termites and pests. However, the good and bad are all part of making it strong, prepared, and adaptable for the future.
I'm incredibly blessed for the opportunity to go to Brazil and experience the aviation industry with an international perspective.
I'm incredibly blessed that I allowed myself to let go of a long-distance relationship, and work through the most difficult pain I've had in years.
I'm incredibly blessed to be studying at one of the best programs for aerospace engineering (even though it has made me question my mental sanity)!
I've made my successes and failures feel like my own, meaning I know how they make me who I am and what I want to become.
What are you doing to become MORE of yourself in 2019?