This year has been an incredible year of stepping up and growing for me. I’ve hit many walls, figured out the workarounds, had some wins and some maybes and some big flops too. Through it all, here are 12 things I’ve learned along the way.
1. Share a gratitude practice: A daily gratitude practice doesn’t make the shit you’re slogging through better, but it helps maintain perspective on life. I’ve had a reminder in my phone for gratitude twice a day over the last year: at breakfast and dinner. When I forget what I’m grateful for, you can be certain that my kids do one hell of a job of reminding me.
2. Self-expression is an art every person in a relationship must master: The easiest path is rarely the one that brings the biggest rewards but it’s the one we’re most often tempted to take. I learnt this in my relationship this year. Walking away would be easiest, sitting down and talking about the things that bug you and me is much harder, but so much more rewarding.
3. People will judge you based on who they are, not on who you are: It doesn’t hurt any less. The more you care about them the more their judgment hurts. People will often see only their shortcomings and compare them to your strengths then blame you for who you are. Remember that it’s their problem not yours.
4. Embracing the pain of failure, it keeps you moving forward: All that talk about failure being a good thing is wonderful but failure frickin hurts. Before you can love the failure you gotta feel the pain. Wallow in it. Then build yourself another layer of tough skin and move on.
5. Be patient with yourself and your ideas: Good ideas are like fine cheese. They need time to mature and ripen before you can bust them open alongside a glass of red. Give your ideas some space but visit them often, check up on them, wrap them up, love them and trust them. You will know when they’re ready.
6. Choose humanity over vanity every time: Don’t be afraid to walk away from a seemingly great opportunity if the people involved are are not aligned with your values. People are key to any project or effort and if they don’t jive with who you are, they can sour even the best opportunities. Trust yourself and bet on humanity rather vanity. A great team can make it through hell but a shitty team won’t make it out of a thimble.
7. Choose creativity over consumption: When you feel that creeping emptiness that media and society love to stick their fingers in, don’t open the doors wide open and fling fistfuls of dollars at the first makeup/heavy machinery/fashion/shoe store in sight. Commit to a creative practice that will allow you to create and express yourself rather than fleece your soul. Creativity is therapy.
8. Your setbacks are your teachers: I’ve taken this year as my year of experimentation and the result has been brilliant. Approaching life like a scientist implicitly means some experiments will work and some won’t. My number one question in either case: What do I need to be learning from this?
9. Use hope and optimism as your secret weapon: Many people like to call themselves realists. In truth, they’re people without hope. Expecting good things is a skill that can help you recognize opportunities knocking and give you courage to open doors. If you’re optimistic, you’re already at an advantage. Hopeful people dare more, try more things and bounce back from setbacks faster. Hope is a shield against global negativity, use it!
10. Don’t be scared to set the bar high, and forgive yourself for not making it: In between, hustle like hell and see what happens. In between the setting and the missing, a whole world of possibility opens up and you’re right there for the learning, the living and the adventure. Be audacious!
11. When life is bringing you down, take action: Life doesn’t work on stagnation, it works on motion. The wind blows, rivers flow, trees grow, blood circulates, creatures breathe and in stagnant waters, bacteria thrives. If your comfort zone has got you in its grasp, break free, whatever the cost, movement motivates more than comfort does. Simply surviving is no longer enough.
12. Take care of those who love you: Without them you are nothing. The people who love you are the source of your power. Give them time and attention, listen to them, see them, love them, value them, guard them well. Without love and connection, all the money, accomplishments, credentials and ranks are meaningless.It’s people that make us matter.
What are your twelve learnings from this past year?