The past few weeks have involved a lot of soul-searching, and moments of great relief. The type of relief that happens when you finally let go of old grief, heartache, and disappointments. I am still coming to terms with how the past 6 months have transformed me, and the principles that I now hold dear. The list below are a few select truths that have anchored me during some of the stormiest moments. These are the 5 things I know for sure. xoxo
Embrace Failure: Everyone has a different definition of how to hustle and what they need in life to feel prosperous. My definition of success has changed drastically in the past few years, and is no longer synonymous with fame or wealth . Last year, I struggled to get my business off the ground, and I was bombarded with feelings of inadequacy when I was not successful right out of the gate. There were buckets of tears shed, and an eventual burnout that forced me to step back and reevaluate my goals. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the personal “business boot camp” I experienced would lead to new ventures months later. My business is no longer the blue print I had in mind, but my experience….and subsequent “failure”….introduced me to opportunities I would have never explored had my original plans not fallen through. Now, I think of my business as a success because it taught me the invaluable lesson of growth, and resilience. Which leads me too…
A Burnout Can Be A Blessing: We have all had that moment. The moment when you hit that proverbial wall, and every ounce of energy that has pushed you forward has been zapped from you. You are spent. You are done. Too much work, too much stress, and nothing in return. Last December, I burned out from months of trying to make my business work, working 12 hour days and struggling to make ends meet. I literally had nothing left to give, mentally or financially, and my body promptly followed suit and gave out. I had no choice but to stop and finally let go. It was exactly what I needed. The moment I stopped trying to “make everything work”, and just allowed things to fall into place was profound. My world didn’t fall apart as I had feared. I was able to finally breathe and find time to take care of myself. We are our own worst enemies, and sometimes we need a very sturdy kick in the pants to make us stop dead in our tracks.
Never Stop Learning: After last years hurdles, I made a pact with myself that in 2014 I would be honest with myself. What are my goals? What is the end game? How can I continue to move forward? The first thing I realised was that I would have to up my game, and that meant going back to school. I am no spring chicken, and online classes have made me realize that learning is a hell of a lot harder to comprehend now that I am in my late 30’s. Shouting at the computer has become a weekly event. Yet, I love it. I eat it up. Opening myself up to learning new skills is terrifying, frustrating and mind bogglingly cool. I have discovered new talents and passions that I would have never fathomed I could excel at. It may take me hours (HOURS!) to conquer a Photoshop graphic, but, when I complete my design I am beyond thrilled. Beyond! Now, I can proudly add writer, web designer, and business owner to my résumé. Never be afraid to learn something new. Never. You will be shocked by what you can accomplish.
Share Your Story: The biggest lesson I have learned this year is the power of allowing yourself to be vulnerable. We have all been programmed to stuff our problems behind closed walls, and repeat the mantra “I am fine”. By denying your truth, even if it is ugly, scary or sad, you are cutting off your connection with the people who love you. My life has been forever shifted because I stopped trying to pretend that everything was sunshine, and gained the courage to say “I need help”. When I became sick earlier this year, I finally reached out and admitted that I needed some support. Friends and family rallied around me, and not only allowed me to be vulnerable, but shared their vulnerabilities too. Some of the best conversations have transpired because we collectively said “I am going through a rough time” and tried to help raise each other up. There is no shame in being overwhelmed with life. There is no shame in your grief. If you speak your truth, you will be amazed who reaches out to you with empathy and shares their story with you. These connections are incredibly important.
Remember to be gentle to yourself: I cannot repeat this enough. Be gentle with yourself. Strive to be kind, and have honor. Take time for the people in your life. Appreciate the tiny moments during the day that are important. Try not to rush. Stop judging yourself and dwelling in past mistakes. Stop hating your body. Embrace getting older, and stop living in the past. Remember that you are loved. Remember that you are doing the best you can. Breathe. Be gentle with yourself.