WHAT HAVE BEEN MY TEN LESSONS FROM THE LAST DECADE
June is my birthday month and I have celebrated turning 60 and feel very privileged to be moving into the next decade of my life. It has been a great adventure and time of reflection for me. I realise that the last ten years have involved much change for me both personally and professionally. Moving into the next decade of my life has prompted me to look back at what :-
- has changed for me
- is different for me and
- what lessons I have learnt.
These are my ten life lessons from the last decade:-
LESSON 1 – Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Just over ten years ago I stepped out of my comfort zone and resigned from a much loved 26 year teaching career. I had no idea what I was going to do next and while this felt right for me it certainly was scary. There was much self doubt about what I could and would do next. I tried very hard to let myself believe that something would come up and let myself be open to the thought of new and different opportunites.
What happened next was a complete surprise. I applied for a job as a Kitchen Designer and thought I had nothing to lose, at the very least I might get some interview practice. Well I walked out of the interview in a state of shock and fear – I got the job and believed I had no skills in this area. Many sleepless nights followed because of my self doubts and feelings of not being good enough. Yes it certainly was a steep learning curve and challenging for me but I came to realise that my teaching career had given me many skills that I had not realised were transferable to different situations. Doubting your own capabilities only limits your possibilities.
Career wise I was not finished stepping out of my comfort zone. I also decided to undertake study in Personal Styling and Image Consultancy which led me to make the terrifying decision to start my own business. This has been the most terrifying, challenging and wonderful experience. and I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and let myself be open to new challenges.
LESSON 2 – Permission to Say No Without Guilt
I use to chase my tail most of the time with an overcrowded work, social and family commitments. I couldn’t say no and was always juggling my calendar to fit everything in. I think I didn’t want to miss out on anything and thought that if I said no I wouldn’t be asked again. Yes, I realise now not saying no had a lot to do with my own self worth. This approach left very little time for me to think about myself, perhaps I was just trying to avoid this.
Now that has changed. I realised that I was not super human (oh no) and running myself into the ground. This was not a very healthy and productive way to live. I can now say no without guilt and I am stronger in both mind and body because of this. My schedule now allows for ‘me’ time.
LESSON 3 – Accept and Believe in Yourself
I was not always a friend to myself. My self doubts were crippling me. I always thought I had a positive approach to life but neglected to realise that my internal voice was always one of self doubt and saboutage. No matter how positive I was on the outside my inner self was always doubting and beating me up. Developing a sense of self worth and self acceptance started to happen after I did my Personal Styling and Image Consultancy training. I now was working from an inside out approach and truly looking at who I really was. I could never have imagined the imapct of this. Over the last five years I have developed a much stronger internal platform to face what life throws at me because I value, accept and believe in myself. I really like the person that I am.
LESSON 4 – You Can’t be Everything to Everyone
What a lesson this was. I have always been someone who wanted to be there for others but the problem was I wanted to be able to fix everything for them. That is not possible. You can be there to support, help and guide others but you cannot fix their problems.
LESSON 5 – I Know My WHY
Why do we do the things we do? This is a big question that is not easy to answer while we are busy living day to day. When I was starting my Individually You I was asked the question ‘What is Your Why,’ I didn’t have an answer. It took much reflection, time and energy for me to realise that my WHY was to make a difference. I want to make a difference every day to myself and everyone that I meet. I want to give people a reson to smile feel good about themselves. Realising this has had a positive impact on my internal thoughts and external behaviours in my personal and professional life. It kept me accountable to being true to the person I wanted to be. Thank you Shar Moore for asking me this question.
LESSON 6 – Connecting with Others is Important for Me
Working from home made me realise how much I enjoyed and needed to be with people. When I first started to work from home it took me a while to realise that my energy levels, productivity and feelings of motivation were decreasing when I wasn’t interacting with others. I enjoy and need to be around others to feel balanced so now make time and plan for this.
LESSON 7 – My Emotions and Thoughts and Actions have a Strong Impact on My Overall Wellbeing
Why did it take me soooo long to realise this? To be physically and emotionally strong relates very much to my own sense of self belief, self acceptance and self care. When I carried around and supported my negative emotions and thoughts I created so much unneeded tension within my body. This created physical pain and illness. Now that my internal thoughts and feelings are stronger I am not as reactive and approach most days in a positive frame of mind. I am not sweating the little stuff.
LESSON 8 – Just Do It Now
Procrastination is an energy drain. Quite often I would delay doing some tasks. These were usually small tasks that really wouldn’t take long to do or tasks that I didn’t like doing. These tasks would pile up and annoy me. Sometimes it was simply moving something from one area of the house to where it actually belonged or filling out a form – (don’t like paperwork).
I made a conscious decision to adopt a DO IT NOW approach towards these tasks. When I would see something that was annoying me such as the folded washing still sitting on the lounge or the hand basin needing a clean a voice in my head now yells JUST DO IT NOW and you will feel better. This has worked for me. I also try to start my work day doing a task that I don’t like so at least I feel good about making progress instead of feeling guilty and having this task hanging over my head.
LESSON 9 – Self Care is Important
Self care starts with the little things we do for ourselves each day. It is not to be confused with being selfish. The first step towards self care for me was accepting and liking myself and trying to turn off my inner critic. The next step involved taking notice of how my body was feeling because I realised that my body reacted with pain when I wasn’t taking care of myself. Self care will be different for everyone. When your body lets you down then you are not able to support others or yourself.
LESSON 10 – Age Does Not Define YOU
Being a year older does not have to mean you are old. Being old is a state of mind, yes changes happen to our body but that is so for everyone. The only alternative to having another birthday is death and that is not an option I want. I want this decade to be one of strength, style, surprises and celebrations.
“Age is out of your control.
How you handle it though, is in your hands.”
Diane von Furstenburg