I had been feeling discontent for quite a while but dismissed my feelings without analyzing them too deeply.
I had the sense that it was time to move on from a mentorship group I belonged to for several years. This group provided me with tools to help me grow and support to help me change. It was a place where like-minded people gathered to push themselves to the next level.
As great as this group had been for my confidence in the past, currently I was feeling a little more disconnected from the group than connected. Rather than feeling energized, I was annoyed. Instead of excited to participate, I felt burdened by the effort. I was like a fish that had grown too large for the pond, swimming around in the same circles, with nothing new to see. I hemmed and hawed in my mind about leaving the group but stuck it out.
How do I let go of a group that did so much good for me? How can I be so disloyal? The group gave me so much, shouldn’t I give back? What will I do without them? What changed?
I grew. My confidence grew. My knowledge grew. My priorities shifted and I wanted different things now than I did four years ago. The challenge had been met. There was not one cataclysmic event that shook me loose, it was a dozen little whispers that said it was time to move on.
One beautiful May morning I went for a walk. I was feeling particularly agitated because I knew I had come to the crossroad. Remain on the comfortable path or branch off into the unknown. I weighed the pros and cons of the group, and took note of my body, my breathing and how I was feeling. By the time I finished my walk my decision was made. I went straight home and penned an email withdrawing from the group. With a heavy sigh I sat back in my chair and let myself mourn the loss.
I did not know what would fill the void. I had no idea where I was going or what exactly I needed. I only knew I missed the feeling I once had with the old group and trusted that I would find it again.
One month later I found what had been missing.
I discovered another group of like-minded people and in this group I found stimulation and energy. I found a group that would push me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to think differently. I am a little fish in a big pond again and I have lots of room to swim around. I am creatively challenged and back in growth mode. It feels awesome!
I do not know who originated this quote, but the message speaks truth, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.”
The ego loves to be the best, to be the smartest, to be top of the food chain. For a while. But eventually there is only one way to go – down. You can be pushed off your pedestal and thrown to the ground, or you can jump off your pedestal and land onto another one. I chose to jump so I could rise again in growth.
If you discover that you are the smartest person in the room, find a different room.
Find a room that gives you new perspective and challenges you to stretch. And when you’ve outgrown that room, find another.