new growth

            The ugly truth is, a fitness boot camp isn’t pretty or very much fun. I’m in the first of six weeks of one. When the trainer pulls out the measuring tape, every one of us has to deal with an ugly truth: no matter how much strength or endurance or flexibility we have, we all gained some space over the summer!

It isn’t pleasant. We’re sore, out of breath, we have murderous fantasies, and we hate our trainers even as we power through the last excruciating ten seconds. It’s ugly, and that’s also the truth.

But for facing it, for not turning away in denial but dealing with it, we are rewarded. There is visible progress in just one week. We gain a sense of pride and accomplishment. Things get easier.

It’s the same in all contexts. At work, maybe there’s a policy or procedure that’s caused an ugly truth. It’s easier in the short term to ignore it and hope it just goes away, sort of like those extra pounds. All the hope and denial in the world aren’t a substitute for change, though. It won’t be pleasant, oh no, it’ll be ugly! But the rewards will make the change worthwhile.

Maybe in your personal life, there’s been an ugly truth you’ve been avoiding. I don’t blame you! Ugly is hard to know how to deal with. But it’s only when we accept it and take some responsibility for it that we can grow. Like a plant, sometimes new growth only comes after you prune away the ugly brown leaves.

So, here are a few tips to help you face the ugly truth, no matter where it appears in your life:

  • Fear, or even a little pain, is normal. It’s to be expected when you’re facing something you’d rather avoid. Embrace it, explore it, and be brave.
  • Choose not to submit to denial. You have a choice of how to respond. Get out of denial, out of excuses, out of your heart and into your head where you can be rational and objective.
  • You may have to wake up, grow up, get up, or stand up. All of them take effort.
  • Holding onto old ways for no reason is no longer working. You aren’t honoring anyone or even acting in your best interests if you’re holding onto a dysfunctional tradition.
  • Think about why you’ve been avoiding this ugly truth. Whatever the reason is, you will have to conquer it or it will also hold you back in other areas of life.        

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