Lessons Learned

What 2017 Taught Me

Normally, I would publish a post like this on New Year’s Eve; but, I was sick on New Year’s Eve (and for the entire first week of 2018) so instead, it’s getting published now. Fortunately, the content of this post isn’t anything that has an expiration date. I mean, we’re all learning lessons every single day–in fact, it’s that capacity for learning that allows us to grow and evolve in to wiser, kinder, more FabYOUlous versions of ourselves every year.

2017 was a BIG one for me. I think something clicked inside of me when I turned 47 and realized that I was only three years away from the big five-o. It made me take a step back and really look at the direction that my life was headed and assess whether or not I needed to make some course corrections. It also made me spend a ridiculous amount of money on wrinkle-fighting face creams–but that’s a whole other story…

Yes, 2017 was a bit of a revelatory year for me. It was one where I did a lot more stepping out and stepping up than usual. I tested my limits, questioned my beliefs, learned to let go, experimented with new ideas and  sometimes doubted my sanity. I also fell flat on my face a few times; but even then, I discovered that there are lessons to be learned in the falling–heck, truth be told–there are probably more lessons learned in the falling.

So, as I look forward to all that 2018 has on the horizon, I know that I will be better prepared for whatever comes my way if I take some time to really process and internalize the lessons that 2017 taught me. These lessons weren’t necessarily easy, and I’ll confess–I’m still having to revisit many of them on a regular (like daily) basis; but they were/are powerful and I know that my coming year will be far more FabYOUlous if I can take into it, the wisdom gained from these past twelve months.

Here are the most valuable lessons that 2017 taught me–I’m pretty sure that they can be applied to to anyone’s life…

Lessons Learned in 2017

  • Hustle Less. Align More. This particular lesson has probably been one of the hardest for me to learn and it is something that I still have to consciously recommit to every single day. You see, I am someone who loves the grind. I love the hustle hard/slay all day mentality that is so popular in Instagram feeds these days. I tend to be a high-energy person who starts to feel grumpy if I’m not being productive. I can’t even do the whole “Netflix and chill” thing with my husband unless I have my knitting with me so that I can at least be accomplishing something while we Netflix binge. And yet, despite my need for constant forward movement, 2017 taught me that action for action’s sake is fruitless, whereas action that is in alignment with one’s true soul purpose can lead to greater results than one could have dreamed possible.  I learned in 2017 that when I spent my time slaving over projects or participating in programs that sounded good or appeared to be of value to my overall goals, but that didn’t feed my spirit or make my soul come alive, I made mistakes, got burned out, ran into brick walls and ended up with sub-par results. On the flip-side, when I took action on projects that lit me up from the inside and made my soul dance with excitement (my book Finding FabYOUlous for example), the results turned out far better than I could have hoped for. I truly believe that when we step out in faith and align ourselves with our true calling, the Universe gets excited right along with us and begins to conspire on our behalf to bring about miracles and synchronicities that help to propel us forward far more quickly than we could’ve ever forseen. Taking the time (EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.) to get centered and aligned with our true purpose will give power and intention to our actions. We can still hustle (thank goodness–I really do enjoy the hustle) but we can do so more confidently, because we know that our actions are supported by a force greater than us and will therefore, lead to far more magnificent results.
  • Everything is Figureoutable. Okay-I stole this one from business powerhouse and mindset mentor, Marie Forleo. Well technically, I just stole the psuedo-word “figureoutable” from her, the lesson was all mine. Again, this lesson harkens back to the experience of writing my book. You see, when I started out to write my book, I had no idea how to actually write a book. Oh sure, I knew what I wanted to say and I knew how to write; I just didn’t have a clue as to how to turn my pile of pages into an actual book. I had a publisher who was willing to turn my pages into a book for me, but I’d have to sign away a good portion of my book’s earnings (while still doing most of the book marketing myself) and I had an independent publishing company that was anxious to turn my work into a book for the small sum of $3,500. Neither option was very appealing to me, so…I decided to do some research and figure out how to self-publish a professional looking, well constructed book. As it turns out (thanks to classes on Udemy, sites like CreateSpace and helpful articles on Pinterest), creating a high-quality, self-published book is totally figureoutable. Now, just because something is figureoutable, doesn’t mean that it’s easy (learning out how to create a high quality, professional looking book is definitely not easy); however, I’ve come to the conclusion that if there is something that we want badly enough, we can figure out a way to get it accomplished. Sure, it would have been quicker and easier to let someone else put my book together for me, but by going through that process myself, I now know that I can choose to do the same for my next book if I so desire. Figuring things out isn’t just practical–it’s also empowering. 
  • Time Can Crawl and Fly Simultaneously. One of the hardest things that I had to do this past year was say goodbye to my oldest son as he began a new adventure as a soldier in the United States Army. Yes, he is 21 years old (almost 22) and capable of making his own choices for his future and yes, Army Basic Training is only 10 weeks long. Still, when the night came to say goodbye and send him off on his journey to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, my heart broke into a million tiny pieces. On the one hand, I was so, so proud of my son who had grown up with a courageous desire to serve his country; and yet, on the other hand, all I could see before me was my sweet, bright-eyed little boy so full of giggles and and silliness. Yes–he had grown up into a strong, confident man, but to this mama, he will always be my little boy. Once he left, time slowed to a painful, drawn out crawl. Waiting for the random phone call (that we never knew for sure was going to come) or the rare handwritten letter was agonizing. Before he left for Basic Training, he already lived on his own, so I was used to not seeing him every day, but I always knew that I could call him if I needed something or if, you know…I missed him. Well, that is NOT the case with the military. You never know if/when you might hear from your soldier and you just have to live under the assumption that “no news is good news”. Let me tell you–that time with my boy away, was the LONGEST ten weeks of my life. On the other hand, while my boy was off being a soldier, I also had a book that was preparing to launch and I had begun classes to earn my life coaching certification. These two things filled my days with a whirlwind of activity and left me exhausted (though incredibly fulfilled) at the end of every day. It was such a bewilderment to me that my days could be such a blur of fast moving activity and yet also seem to creep by at a snail’s pace, depending upon which lens I happened to be viewing time through at any particular moment. The lesson that I plan to take forward from this experience is to pre-plan exciting projects to coincide with times of long, drawn out waiting (like when my boy moves to Fort Gordon for his five months of Advanced Individual Training). It might not make the time fly–but it can at least help to make it bearable.
  • Learn to Love the Space In-Between. What do you want to be when you grow up? I’ll confess, I’m 47 years old and this is a question that I have only recently been able to answer for myself. I finally feel as though I am moving my life in the direction that I want to be heading. I have BIG plans for my life and my business–which is great, but when I start to think about all of these plans, it is very easy for me to get overwhelmed. It is also easy to get frustrated when I see others who are ahead of me in areas where I want to excel or when I think about the gap between where I am currently in my life and where I long to be one day. While this kind of angst is experienced by most people at one time or another, it can be especially difficult to deal with for people who have big dreams and high aspirations for their lives. Fortunately, 2017 helped me to see that the space between where I currently am and where I want to be, doesn’t have to be intimidating or disheartening. In fact, I’m actually learning to enjoy the space in between and find contentment where I’m at, as I work to get where I’m going. One strategy that I’m employing as I work my way through this in between space, is something I call the “ripple strategy”. You can read all about it here.
  • I’m Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea. For most of my life, I’ve tried really hard to be liked by everyone. I mean, everyone. Not only was this exhausting–it was also futile. No matter how freakin’ delightful I tried to be, there were still always a few people who (for whatever reason) didn’t like me. Then it dawned on me that I don’t like everyone I meet either (even though I’m sure that many of the people that I don’t like are very nice, decent human beings), so why would I expect everyone to like me? It just isn’t reasonable. So, when I set out to write my book, I gave up the notion of writing a book that everyone would like. Instead, I focused in like a laser on the precise target demographic that I wanted my book to speak to, and I wrote to them–and guess what? That target demographic has responded with so much love and gratitude that it makes me not even care that there are people out there who don’t like my book (newsflash–if you are a man in your 60’s and don’t happen to be my dad–my dad loves my book–Finding FabYOUlous is probably not going to be your jam; and that’s okay). The bottom line is–we must stop worrying so much about the people who don’t like us if we are ever going to experience true FabYOUlousness. The people who don’t like us are not our people. Stop trying to be their cup of tea when you are much better suited to be someone else’s shot of whiskey.

I’ll confess, saying goodbye to 2017 has been a little hard for me because 2017 was so good to me (other than the part about my boy joining the military–that part was HARD). Still, I know that I have the power to make 2018 even more FabYOUlousif I am truly able to embrace and apply the wisdom that I gained in 2017. I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and apply it so that 2018 can be my most FabYOUlous year yet!

Rockin' a FabYOUlous life as an author, speaker, blogger, coach and consumer of way too much caffeine. Let me help you to ditch the drab and find your FAB--it's possible and it's FUN!

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