Step 7 – YIELD
“Freedom cannot be found in darkness,” Holding My Breath – Letters to the Father I Never Met, excerpt
Yielding is our 7th and final step. What do you think of when you see this word, yield? Caution? Or, increase? Most of people think of being careful, or watching out when they hear the word, yield. Miriam Webster’s first definition of yield is to produce something. Like your savings account might yield a 7% interest. Webster lists another definition defining yield as “to bear or bring forth as a natural product especially as a result of cultivation.[i] Using these steps you’ve been learning tools to help you experience more wholeness in life.
Farmers are intentional about caring for their crops. Hard work, time and energy are invested in its cultivation. Because they’ve put so much work and care into it they’re expecting an abundant yield. You can too. The amount of time you’re spending on the freeway will continue to produce a more abundant life. Distorted perceptions can minimize the distance we’ve come. Sometimes we arrive places we want to go at night. We can’t see what the city looks like until the next day. When we wake up in the morning and look out the window it’s beautiful. It’s the same on our personal journeys. Often we don’t see how far we’ve come. That’s why it helps to set goals, or expectations for ourselves.
What would an abundant life look like to you? What are you intentionally investing today – your children, career, finances, or appearance? Are you spending as much time on yourself as others, or is it the opposite? Investing in our emotional life takes time and energy – but the yield is priceless.
To determine our yield it’s necessary to write down exactly how we’re going to measure our progress. Focusing on two, or three things causing the greatest difficulty is where we begin. How will they see a difference? What are your strategies for how to measure your improvement? Using an objective measurement shows us the truth. The truth is necessary for human flourishing.
For example, the weekly weigh-in at Weight Watchers is an immediate measurement of how well a person did on their weight loss program. It’s objective (since the scales don’t lie) and it’s done with others trying to achieve the same goal. This is why Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous are some of the strongest treatments for people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Having a common goal is helpful when cultivating wholeness. Working together holds us accountable. It motivates us to work harder – especially if we’re competitive.
Seeing how far we’ve come increases our sense of mastery and encourages us to keep on going. It’s easy to put on some eye shadow, but the work it takes to heal and discover our inner beauty is challenging. That’s why people often don’t try, or give up quickly. Setting goals and measuring them encourages us to stay on the journey. Keeping our hearts and minds focused on the mile marker, or goal ahead increases our sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. We begin believing in our ability to achieve our hearts desires.
Spring calls us to garden stores full of plants, flowers, seeds and trees for our yards and garden. It’s exciting to bring everything home with their bright colors and fresh smells. Great preparation is needed before the planting begins. Once we’ve determined where the best light and drainage is then we begin to till the soil. Then we can plant our seeds, or plants. Everyday we have to water. Weeding is necessary, or the seedling may die. Often we have to put chicken wire around our plot to keep out four-legged intruders. It’s sometimes helpful to use fertilizer. We wait. We have expectations of what’s to come.
It is the same in cultivating our sense of wholeness. Time is necessary to consider what we want to grow in our lives. Change is a slow process. Once we make our decisions we need to think about how they’ll get the best light. Maybe taking a walk instead of watching TV, or joining a book club? What will bring nourishment to us? Friends, volunteering at the women’s shelter? Weeding may be things in our lives that prevent us from thriving. It can be drinking more than we want. Pulling out the weeds in our lives leads to a stronger yield. Like chicken wire, do we need to make healthy boundaries for ourselves? Are there people in our lives that seem to stomp on our desires? You’re in charge of your own wholeness. Feel confident in setting up boundaries. They are necessary for healthy relationships. What’s your fertilizer – music, books, art, physical fitness? Explore what boosts your heart and soul, and do more of it.
- In step 6 you choose one, or two of the five domains you wanted to work on
- Create a goal for yourself now pertaining to that domain
- Make the goal measurable.
- Create a weekly Schedule – You can make a schedule and check off each time you accomplish your goal. Every Sunday for instance you can review the week and see how you did. To illustrate, you might want to work out 3 times a week. Every Sunday review your calendar to see if you reached your goal.
- Using what’s called a SUDS Scale (subjective units of distress scale) is another way to measure your yield.
- To use a suds scale you’ll measure what you’ve chosen for your goal using numbers 0 – 5
- Zero represents total well-being. Five designates your highest distress level
- Rate your level of distress in the domain you’ve chosen before you begin from 0-5.
- Give yourself a time frame (example 4 weeks)
- Rate yourself again on the date you’ve set to reach your goal.
- Ask yourself how you’ll know when it’s in greater balance with the other domains. You can create your own measurements.
- Measurement Goal Examples Depending on your domain:
- Having 2 angry outburst in 4 weeks
- Going to 6 AA meetings in 4 weeks
- Exercising 3 times this week
- Prayer/meditation 2 days this week
- Journaling 2 times this week on feelings of grief
- Make an appointment to see a counselor this week
- Anxiety will decrease from a 4 to a 3 in 6 weeks
- Ask a friend to join you in one of your goal
- Measurement Goal Examples Depending on your domain:
Interacting with horses gives us the opportunity to measure our relationship with them. When a person is in the field with a horse it’s interesting to observe whether the horse is moving towards, or away from the person. You can see if a healthy relationship is being built. We’re often looking for a greater yield in our personal relationships. This is measurable being with horses by asking the horse to do things, like moving back. It may sound easy to get a horse to move backwards. But, getting a 1000-pound animal to do anything without having a relationship first is difficult. Unless, you use force. We know that force destroy’s relationships. Strong relationships are built on gentleness. We ask with a whisper, not a whallop. Horses can tell us a lot in how we approach them and their reactions to us. Having greater self awareness with the help of horses makes our human relationships stronger!
Enter the FREEWAY to Wholeness any time you want. Get on Wherever you’re at. Just keep moving forward.
Stay on the journey – don’t stop. The scenery gets better the further we travel. There’s more wholeness to discover every day. It’s about choices. You’ve got a lot. And, you’ve got the power and the ability to have more peace, love and satisfaction. Check out my weekly blog No More Secrets to continue your journey towards wholeness.