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A while back, I was walking through the airport, getting in my steps, on my way home from an international meeting. As I often do, I had my earbuds in, listening to a podcast by one of my favorite gurus.

Then he said something that unleashed my imagination. A single word of his sparked a long and winding reflection: “seed.”

To be honest, I don’t even remember the context in which he used the word, but this is where my reflection took me.

A seed is a hard case in which new life grows, protected from the harsh outside world. The seed contains nutrients for a young plant, enabling it to develop through vulnerable days in profound safety.

At the right time, the sapling must break out of its secure environment by cracking the tough exterior. It can then leap forward in another magnificent growth spurt, this time toward its ultimate goal: being a fully-fledged, mature plant.

As I ruminated on this concept, I couldn’t help thinking about my clients, each of whom comes to me anticipating a growth spurt. Whether they’re sailing high and hoping to take it to the next level, or at rock bottom and struggling to find direction, each one eagerly seeks a burst of new life.

Many have already tried to find that growth on their own. Many feel trapped by their current circumstances.

Which brings me back to that seed.

Too often, we become trapped by the gifts that enabled our safe early growth. We are afraid to grow beyond our current comforts. Even affluence becomes a potent disincentive for some of my hugely successful clients!

It saddens me that the very factors that once encouraged growth can so easily become the reasons for stasis.

It takes several things to avoid this risk:

You need to be aware of the potential danger in the comfort we have secured for ourselves in our prevailing circumstances.

You need imagination to see opportunity beyond the dense outer wall of your current reality.

You need strength to simply break through.

You need courage to venture out into the brave sunshine beyond the shell.

And so I issue this plea to you: Don’t become trapped in the seed of your own life.

Reject the comfort. Unleash your imagination. Build strength. Summon the courage. Reach out for help if you need it. But whatever you do, be sure to embrace the growth you so richly deserve—the growth that fuels and rewards you on your unique journey to the future of your dreams.