There is one thing that is always present before we learn the most important lessons life has to offer.

Deep pain.

Without deep pain, we wouldn’t access the character building lessons that make us who we are.

Think of a time when fear overcame you and forced you into inaction; a time when you were struggling and felt like you were at your lowest point.

What happened next?

Often, a breakthrough is just around the corner. Our darkest moments force us to take risks and make changes. As a result, we learn life’s important lessons and level-up.

Lately I’ve been going through a weird phase. Frankly, I’ve been all over the shop emotionally — feeling like everything I do just doesn’t work or is a hard slog. As much as I tried, none of it seemed to be easy or just ‘work’. It’s been showing up in my personal life, business life, relationships, amongst friends — sometimes in subtle ways, others in more overt ways.

I’m incredibly hard on myself at the best of times (something I’ve become more aware of lately and am working to change) but only recently do I feel like a fog has lifted as a result of a few honest conversations with friends and family, pointing out some blind spots I’d been missing.

And they were just that, blind spots that had been persisting for some time which I simply didn’t see before. They’d been around long enough that I’d created an elaborate web of excuses and rationalisations for why things weren’t working out, not realising I was the problem. I was at the effect of my circumstances, not in control of my own destiny or emotional response.

There’s something magical about reaching the extremities of the most repulsive parts of ourselves — pride, greed, superego, jealousy, gluttony, depression, anxiety, fear etc. These emotions are often the crucible of your greatest personal growth and learning in life.

Only when you experience the full force of them do you connect the dots in a way that gives profound learning, insight and perspective.

In turn, from this deep pain sprouts the seeds of personal growth. Your contribution to society, the world, and the people around you expands. I believe these attributes are the ultimate expression of what it means to be human. It’s the natural evolution of us reaching our highest state of self-awareness and consciousness.

Ultimately, I’ve discovered there exists a tension between our greatest fears and our greatest aspirations in any area of life.

Follow that tension and see where it leads you.

It’s a scary journey but it’s one of the greatest journeys you’ll embark on in your lifetime.

Your soul is calling you to it.

Listen and leap.