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  • Writer's pictureNathalie Cordell

Feeling the heat? It might be time to leap!


Green and yellow frog hanging on a red flower bud
Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

Most of us don't have a death wish.


Most of us want to have a fulfilling and happy life. And we are driven by the desire to stay safe. We want security and safety - both fundamental human needs.


What we don't know is that sometimes, this drive to stay safe and secure, eventually turns into a death sentence.

 

Let me explain.




Like every creature on the planet, we are meant for growth. And it's normal that the first part of our growth be focused on safety, security, shelter and independence. Usually, as soon as something is acquired, we long for the next one - the next area of growth. We find this normal as children. We learn to walk, talk, feed ourselves, dress ourselves, we develop our mind and social skills by going to school. As teenagers, we are wired to explore and try new things. And as adults, we develop a career or means to get a steady income to support us and our families if we have one.

 

And then what? What happens when we reach that stage?

 

Many people see it as a peak from which there is inevitable decline. I disagree. I think that we are called to grow, no matter our age or circumstances. This is the natural order of things. And as Wallace Wattles[i] said, "every living thing is under this necessity for continuous advancement; where increase of life ceases, dissolution and death set in at once."


When we deny that urge to grow, life turns up the heat on us.

Life wants us to grow. And I am not talking about getting more things or growing our possessions. I mean learn and expand – our consciousness, our love, our experiences. When we deny that urge to grow, life turns up the heat on us. It may start gently, like discomfort, unease. The new boss is asking us to do things that don't align with our values, but we justify it. Our partner may not be treating us like we want to be treated or deserve, but we rationalise it away. Or we're simply bored with our life, but we tell ourselves that it's normal and we should be grateful for what we have.

Hundreds of little boundaries crossed and thousands of little lies we tell ourselves.


Frog sitting in a pan of water
AI generated photo - so no frog was harmed in the process!

We deny the growing ball of discomfort settled on our stomach - the feeling of self-betrayal. Because the leap out of that feels scarier and requires more energy than to stay in.

We become numb to our changing environment. The discomfort increases so subtly that we get used to it. Until we find ourselves like the proverbial frog in a pan of hot water[ii], being boiled to death. Maybe we wake up one day unable to move or get up. Maybe we get diagnosed with an illness. Maybe the family that we spent so long building up suddenly collapses. Or maybe we collapse. But suddenly, we realise that we cannot continue to live as we are - because the safety has become a prison. And rather than nourishing us, it is slowing killing us.

 

The thing is, part of us knows that we are being boiled. Deep down, we know that we are not living according to our values, our calling, true to ourselves. We compromise and it hurts.

Our bodies tell us – we know it in our guts and in our hearts. But our head brushes it aside. It justifies it away, telling us all the reasons why we are better off as we are, rather than leaping into the unknown.


A woman leaping across a cliff
Photo by Sammie Chaffin on Unsplash

I know it's hard to leap. I know what it's like to be the frog in the pan. And I also know that the first leap is the hardest and the scariest. But after that, you'll never want to stop leaping! Leaps will become bigger, bolder and more joyous. Because you'll know that you never have to stay trapped in a little pan!


My big leap was leaving my corporate job two years ago to set up my own coaching practice. But what you don’t see is the hundreds of little steps I took in the four years leading up to that moment. The first one was to stop lying to myself that I was ok. The second was admitting it to someone else – first my husband, then my boss. And the third one was accepting help.

Looking back at them now, they seem tiny. But at the time, every single one of these steps felt like a giant leap!

 

So if you feel like the frog in the pan - please, please, please - don't wait for the death call - reach out now. Talk to a friend, a colleague, your partner, your boss. Reach out to a trained professional or book a free clarity call with me. Whatever step you decide on, take it - you will not regret it.



 And if these steps feel too much, take an easier one: grab a piece of paper and write down how you really feel about your life and what you long for.

If you are not sure where to start, you can download this list of questions to get you started.

Whatever you do or decide, stop lying to yourself. This is the most important step you will ever take. 



 

To learn more about me or how I work, check out my website (cordellcoaching.com) and feel free to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Or if you like this article and want to be notified when I publish the next one, click here.



 

[ii] There is an expression, or a common legend, that if you try to drop a frog into a pan of hot water, it will jump out, whereas if you put it in tepid water and slowly heat it, it will not perceive the danger and get boiled to death. Thankfully, according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog), this is nothing but a myth – just as ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand when they perceive danger. But it certainly makes for a powerful metaphor!

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