Well, we are on the cusp of saying hello to another New Year and it's hard to not sit back and reflect on how the past year has gone. The ups, the downs, the highs and lows... What was lost, what was gained. I think where I'm at though... Is questioning "What have I learned and how did I grow?". "How will this help me going forward and what's next on this adventure?" Perhaps my year in review will be a little different than some of the ones you'll see out there that tend to only showcase the high points. To be frank... I think that's a complete waste of one's time... And it doesn't fool anyone! Celebrate the good times... Be honest about the tough times... Learn from them both. To me - that's what our REAL REFLECTIONS should be.
Like a mirror - our Real Reflections show us different perspectives. The no make-up, just woke up look in the mirror is a whole lot different than the one after I've freshened up and the lipstick's on! And yet both images... It's still ME! Much like reflecting on those moments this past year when I felt disappointed or hurt, or let down... Or after making mistakes. Those mirror moments were perhaps not my finest or ones I'd care to showcase to the rest of the world... But they were real - and it was me. It was also me when I felt the joy of successes and new friendships - or when I realized something new about myself and new doors of opportunity opened up. It was me. Now... Looking at the full picture from a 50 thousand foot view - now there's the REAL reflection. It's not always been pretty and lipsticky... But I desire the authenticity of being honest about it - with myself and with others.
So through this Real Reflection... Here are my answers to my own first question: "What have I learned and how did I grow?" I challenge you to ask yourself the same thing! Here's my "TOP 5", if you will. Can you relate in any way?
- I have learned that I just need to trust my instincts. Every Damn Time. Hitting the big "4-0" may have something to do with this lesson... Or maybe I just needed my intuition to be right for the 1,432,097th time. That niggly little feeling in the pit of my stomach that says "something's not quite right here"... Or "wait and see"... Or "just go for it!" has proven time and time again that it's always right on the money. I've been around the block enough times now to know better than to second guess that feeling. What's more - I should ALWAYS trust it above and beyond the noise from other's opinions, conjecture, and deflection. Here's the thing - the more I listen to my own intuition, the more I'm learning how to watch for the signs that will point me in the right direction. The more PRESENT I will be in the moment. The more AWARE I will be of my circumstances. It's when I get distracted by the thoughts and opinions (real or imagined) of others that I get led astray. The worst that will happen? I'll make a mistake and it will be my own fault. I'll be accountable to learn and grow from my decisions. I'm good with that!
- I have grown to be whole-heartedly committed to living an AUTHENTIC and ALIGNED life. I don't think this has been a radical transformation for me (I've always kind of worn my heart on my sleeve and lived my life unapologetically) but I'm so much more conscious now of what being authentic and aligned means! Every single day, I choose to make decisions based on MY values. I respect the opinions and value the expertise and advice from others (those whom I've grown to trust) but at the end of the day I am comfortable enough in my own skin to NOT need the validation of others. Friends - this can be tough in not only our personal lives but also in business! There are invisible molds out there that have somehow been created for small business owners (especially female entrepreneurs). It is often assumed that to be successful we must be in direct competition with others or play by their rules and follow along. Be like them... Be liked by them... Follow them... Beat them... Be two steps ahead of them... It's a crowd/sheep herd mentality that is dangerous and misleading. Social media is the WORST for perpetuating these things. I fully believe that the only RIGHT way for me to live my life (and run my 2 businesses) is to do so by following my heart. My values are strong and so is my will. I trust them and I know when those lines are being crossed by others. I've always known my "right" way (so do you, we ALL DO)... It's just that now more than ever - I cannot be swayed. I am who I am (with plenty of things I want to work on... Don't get me wrong) and I'm happy to lead my life in a way that never leaves me, my family, my closest friends, or even my clients/customers wondering... "is she for real?" The answer is easy... Good, bad, or ugly... YUP... She's real!
- I have learned that TRUST is where it begins and where it ends. We've all been burned in the past, am I right? We put a little extra faith in a relationship or convinced ourselves that someone was "in it" as much as we were - all to then realize... Maybe not. That can leave us feeling used or taken advantage of. When we assume that everyone has the same standards of respect and get proven we are wrong... It STINGS. I'm about as gullible as they come too! Maybe that's part of the problem... Feeling duped or misled never sits well with the ego... But it goes both ways. Something else I've learned over the years that is that what hurts me the most is often what hurts others too. I don't want to be that person who breaks someone's trust. I choose to be aware of my actions to try and avoid situations where I might let someone down. I'm human though - and I undoubtedly have not always been the best friend either. I think it needs to start with trust though. Placing trust where it is earned - not assumed - and expecting that others will want/need me to earn their trust also. This is not a major "new" lesson for me, but what IS new... Is the courage to let go in those situations where the trust has been broken. Not giving up or walking away or closing doors per se... But letting go. I'm no longer going to wonder "why" or question someone's motives or try to read between the lines to make a relationship work. If someone doesn't say what they mean and mean what they say... I'm ready to let go and move on. Plain and simple! So I guess that means that going back to point #2 - what you see is what you get with me!
- I have grown through PATIENCE and trusting there is always more than what meets the eye. Have you heard the story about the old farmer that talks about trying to discern what is "good" and what is "bad" when it comes to life events? It starts by describing a conversation the farmer was having with his neighbour after his horse escaped into the hills one day. "Bad luck," said the neighbour... "Good or bad... Hard to say," said the farmer. The next day, his horse returned all on it's own with 4 wild horses following behind. "What good fortune," said the neighbour... "Good or bad... Hard to say," said the farmer. A week later the farmer's son was riding one of the wild horses and was thrown off only to break his leg. "Terrible news," said the neighbour... "Good or bad... Hard to say," said the farmer. Another week passed and the local army recruitment officer was travelling through looking for healthy young men to fight in the war - passing by the farmer's son because of his injury. "What a blessing in disguise," said the neighbour... "Good or bad... Hard to say", said the farmer. And on it goes... This little story is so rich with life lessons and for me this past year - it really does encapsulate the power of PATIENCE. What may seem like a disappointment or failure in one breath so often reveals itself as an incredible opportunity for something greater and more wonderful than we can imagine! The tough part is having the patience to wait it out! I'm getting far better at waiting for the good to reveal itself in every situation and I simply trust that it always will.
- I have learned that to help others (what I want to do more than anything), I also need to LOVE MYSELF. OK - this one is a tough one to admit and I can't even say I've figured things out here yet (I have some work to do in 2018) but after taking a very insightful self-help course this year... I'm realizing more and more that loving others really does begin with loving myself. Not go-get-a-pedicure-kind-of-love-yourself... I mean looking into a mirror and saying "I Love You" to the person I see (not the reflection... That's different. I love my wrinkles just fine, thank you ;). I can't say there are parts of me that I specifically dislike, but I have a tendency to see the disappointments in myself before I see the accomplishments. I see the failures and missed goals before I see the progress and the learning. I'm working on this and maybe I'll never fully 'get there' but I know that I need to grow in this area if I am to truly help others in the ways I want to. I need to be at full strength as none of us can pour from an empty cup! I have been so incredibly blessed with friends and loved ones (old and new)... Amazing clients, colleagues and customers (old and new) and I'm so very grateful for every interaction I've had with all of them. Looking ahead, I'm excited to dive into even more self discovery so that I can become a better friend, colleague, business owner, coach, and jewelry designer! Who I am to my people means a lot to me. So much so that I'm willing to invest in "me" to be a better person for them!
So about my second question... "How will this help me going forward and what's next on this adventure?" It's tempting to start crafting goals here, don't you think? Well, I actually don't believe in setting up a bunch of goals at the beginning of the year. The start of a new calendar year is nothing more than turning a new page, in my books! Instead, I prefer having a bigger picture in mind of where I'd like to be in 5-10 years and then on a more regular basis - check in and see where I need to adjust my journey to get there. I'm all for goal setting (and I'm actually building a course around the concept) but my approach is a little different than the usual "by this date" or the typical New Years resolutions we can get hung up on. Tony Robbins (one of my favourite inspirational speakers) said it so well in one of his talks (and I'm just paraphrasing here) but he reflects that very often we overestimate what we can accomplish in the short term and underestimate what we can accomplish in the longer term. This is so true - and in my opinion one of the many reasons we get discouraged when we don't achieve our short term goals. By focusing on what's right in front of us (success or failure) we aren't seeing the forest for the trees (see point #4 and #5 above). For me... What I've learned in 2017 about instinct, authenticity, trust, patience, and love will serve me in whatever joy I follow in 2018.
I've got a wonderful feeling that the year ahead will be wildly exciting yet no doubt humbling, and full of potential should I keep my mind open to new possibilities. Just like every year that's come before it - there will be circumstances outside my control and choices I will be empowered to make (and get to own the outcomes of). My greatest hope is that the mirror I look into every day during 2018 will reflect an ever-growing and ever-learning me. Not too lipsticky... But not too bed-headish either... The reflection of someone that a friend can trust, with instincts and patience that I will trust... And one that I will love and accept more each and every day.
Wishing you a very Happy New Year and may 2018 be filled with more of YOUR joy, YOUR lessons, and YOUR happiness - whatever that may be for YOU. Sending light and love,