Are You Ready to Step Up?
By Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

 Our human nature is to settle in to a particular lifestyle and stay there. We may work hard to get to a certain point, but once we get to a preconceived notion of how we think we want to live, it is time to relax and stay there. Been there, done that myself. But is this really where I want to stay? Well, for me the answer is “no”; continuing to do the same thing may work for awhile, but not in the long run.

 I have written several articles over the past few years relating to being in a “rut”, or even being satisfied with your life. There is an ad on TV I have seen, when passing by when my wife has it on, that says something like “it can always be better”. In other words, improving what is available now always gives you something better.

 From a spiritual lifestyle standpoint, as I pointed out in a previous article, working on yourself in order to take the “next step” never ends (if you are really serious about spiritual awakening), because there is always another “next step”. And what does that “step’ look like? It is always a step “Up”.

 This wanting to step up is not just about spiritual awakening, it is about you life in general. For example, there is always a better car, house, job, view, vacation, relationship, and so on. We humans are always wanting something better, newer, fancier, and so on. It is our nature.

 Of course, this nature of always wanting something better does not serve us. It can take you into dept quickly. There needs to be some discernment when the next best thing shows up. What I am talking about here is not just always going out and buying the newest gadget, because it is better than what you have now. I am pointing to what step you want to take to improve your life from within.

 What do I mean by improving your life from within? If you have been reading my articles for awhile, you know that I am always pointing out that what happens within shows up on the outer aspects of your life. So starting from the outside to improve your life will not work. Oh you might be happy with your new acquisition for awhile, but it will not fully improve your life and is never lasting, because there is always the next new thing.

 The “step up” meaning here is to go beyond where you think you can; that is, move beyond your preconceived limits. Do you want a better job, one that will challenge you and give you more benefits even if you are not currently “qualified” for it? Then you need to step up to this somewhat daunting challenge and do what is needed to get the job.

 In relationships, I have seen movies in which a woman/man falls for someone “out of their class” and never tries to form a romantic relationship with that person. Only a movie you say? Well these kinds of movies mostly reflect “real life”; as a coach I have seen it happen. It is only when the “seeker” in this case decides to “go for it”. If the relationship was “meant to be” so to speak, then the action will succeed, but that first intention to “step up” must be made.

 Stepping up to something more challenging, seemingly not possible, or too scary takes your willingness to take a chance and step to the “edge”. I remember the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It has always been one where I point out the scene where Jones is given a choice to follow the words of a book about the chalice or let the “bad guys” kill his father. The book tells him to step out into the abyss and the way will be revealed. He does and steps onto a bridge that blends into the background.

 The example above challenges Indiana to look beyond the appearance of what seems to be to what is. His life is on the line; either he find the chalice to save his father, or he dies in the attempt. It doesn’t get any scarier than this, I suppose. Whether your life is on the line from a sense of physically dying, or whether it is facing a perceived disaster in your financial, family, or business life, it feels the same. “Stepping up” is like that for us.

 Where are you in your daily life? Do you continue to play it safe by staying just where you are? Does it look too daunting to tackle the unknown? The quote, What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” often attributed to Emerson says it all. This is what I am referring to by suggesting that you “step up”.

 It is all within you. Stepping into the unknown has always been a scary place to go for most people. What was it like for a sky diver the very first time, or a soldier parachuting the first time? Scary. But they did it, and we all can. It is just a matter of “stepping up” to our next plateau.

 You can dream all you want, intend all you want, visualize all you want, but until you take that step to your next level of whatever you are wanting, it won’t happen. It doesn’t matter, you say, you are happy where you are? I challenge that perspective, because deep down it cannot be true, and deep down you know that.

 Try “stepping up” to something small or less challenging or scary for a start. Take a baby step and see how it feels. I know that most of you are going to use “time” as an excuse, so I will leave you with this: what will using your “time” with what you are doing, be it a job, business, raising kids or whatever, buy you in the long run or even the right now?


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