A few years back, I would have thought turning 39 was going to be terrible. You know, getting closer to the big 40. But it was anything but terrible. In fact, it was one of my favorite birthdays. Every year I feel like I’m coming more into my true self, more into my essence and I’m carrying all this wisdom with me now. It feels empowering to grow older and wiser. With every year I’m learning so much more about myself and the world and you just can’t put a price on that.
Reflecting on the past year, Mark and I finished our bout of several cross-country moves and landed in Arizona. I’m talking a three-year spread of moving around and not finding our “home” until this year. We love Arizona.
We also went through a friendship bootcamp and got really intentional about the types of people we want in our lives as friendships.
The business grew exponentially when Covid hit and ever since, we wake up at 6am and start working and work most weekends and evenings. It might sound awful to read but we love what we do and are so grateful this business I started as a mantra in 2011 has become a thriving company that’s helping people.
And the cherry on the top, we committed to a mental toughness challenge called 75hard by Andy Frisella. Every day since January 1, we’ve been doing two workouts every day, drinking a gallon water, following a diet plan, taking a progress pic and reading 10 pages of a self-development book.
The year has been a wild ride of ebs and flows and so much learning and growth. I love sharing my biggest lessons from the past year when I come into a new year. Here are my top 7 lessons from last year.
1. Taking The Risk Always Pays Off.
This year we moved from Indiana to Arizona. We told ourselves it would be our final leap and we hoped this place would be our home. We hoped it was a place that could offer us diversity, hiking, nature, great weather and great prospect for the business. When we first moved from Indiana to Texas several years ago, we thought we may have made a mistake because things didn’t go very well. But over time, you learn that every leap you take is just part of the journey leading you to somewhere. Helping you grow, shift, change and learn to trust yourself.
It’s a beautiful thing to jump and risk what you know. You don’t always get the aha moment until years later and that just makes it so much more sweet. And if we would have just moved to Arizona in the first place all those years ago, we wouldn’t have learned what we did along the way to prepare us for this last leap.
2. I Am Enough.
I grew up not believing in myself.
I didn’t have the tools to know how to be myself in my little world where everyone was telling me who I should be and who I wasn’t. I spent most of my 20’s believing I didn’t matter and no one really wanted me. Like, the true me separate from what they wanted me to be for them.
I’ve learned and every year I learn this truth even deeper than the year before: who I am is enough. I’ve learned to step back from what I knew and what I grew up learning and find myself. It took a lot of searching, patience and inner work learning more about who I am and what I think about me and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to know myself. I love who I am. I love learning more about myself and loving who I am. There’s nothing cooler than being your own best friend.
3. Be All Of Your Shades.
There’s so much to each of us. Sometimes social media and the world can influence us to turn ourselves to what we think we should and shouldn’t be. And in doing so, we abandon the very parts of ourselves that need to be alive. We turn the light out on them and put the light on something we think we should show instead. I’ve been embracing all of me this year.
I’ve learned that the parts of myself that feel scary to share are the ones that really need to be shared. What’s in our hearts is what’s true and the truth can’t be placed in a dark corner of ourselves, we have a duty to bring out all of ourselves and live true! There’s freedom when you do. And it’s the sweetest freedom I want more and more of.
4. Who You Surround Yourself With Matters.
You know when you’re around people and even though tons of your “friends” are with you, you never feel more alone than when you’re standing in that circle. It’s as if you’re looking in from the outside -even though you’re right there on the so-called inside- and you don’t feel you’re there. That’s your heart and soul speaking. It’s telling you that this doesn’t fit for you, it’s not aligned. I’ve learned this year that the people I surround myself with are my choice. I choose people who inspire me, who support my dreams and goals, who lift me up and live their lives with the foundation of kindness.
Who you surround yourself with matters more than you might think. It matters like big impact matters. Decide the kind of people you want in your circle. Decide the activities those people do. Decided how they treat others and the impact they make on your life. Then let go of anyone who doesn’t align with that vision and make space for those that will.
5. Hard Work Is The Foundation Of Your Dreams.
There’s something to be said about hard work. This past year has pushed me into levels of myself as an entrepreneur, wife and friend that felt uncomfortable. Discomfort means you’re growing and in new territory you’ve never known. Which is why it feels sticky and messy and not good in the moment. Hard work is the foundation of your dreams and of growing something that matters to you. Whether a relationship, your career or a dream, the work you put into it is the way it grows. I’ll always believe in hard work. It’s irreplacable.
You can be the least talented person but with hard work, showing up and perseverance you’ll far exceed a talented person who doesn’t work. Alot of my favorite mentors live by this motto: be the hardest working person in the room.
I also live by this and most times since I’m by myself not in a room of people, I challenge myself to be the hardest working version of myself today.
6. It’s Not Hard Work, It’s Heart Work.
It’s easy to give up when the work gets hard. And it always does. To stay for the hard work takes heart and a fierce Why behind what you do. As someone who has a strong mission to why I do what I do, I’ll be the first to tell you that there’s still hard work that happens even when you love what you do. This is where we shift from the mind to the heart. It’s not hard work, it’s heart work. Every little thing you do that drives the needle forward on your dream, if you can move your perspective to a heart-centered one -that this thing you’re doing isn’t hard work, it’s heart work – I promise you it will get you through the hardest times.
The times when no one’s buying, when people you love think what you’re doing is just a hobby, when it feels like it’s just you and your dream and no one else…you’ll have you and your heart. This is your anchor.
7. Go Where The Pain Is & Embrace It.
As humans, we do everything we can to avoid pain. That’s how we’re wired but it’s not how we have to show up. The thing is, when we go away from what’s uncomfortable, we don’t grow into who we’re supposed to be. I believe we all have an agreement with some greater force (maybe our own soul) as to why we’re here on this earth at this exact time. I’m here for a purpose to share something. You’re here for a purpose to share something that’s in your heart to share. The journey of opening ourselves up completely to that purpose takes courage, dedication, patience and a dedication to leaning into the pain of what we don’t want to feel.
When I think of the ways I’ve grown and this list of what I’ve learned, every lesson had big points of pain and discomfort that, when I leaned into the pain and discomfort, that’s when my purpose and my essence blossomed. That’s when I grew. When I go away from the pain and stay small and comfortable in my little shell of my ego, I don’t grow. I stay right there. And the point of life is to keep growing and expanding into yourself and the world.
Go where the pain is. That’s where the growth is.