I didn’t even realize it was the end of a decade until I started seeing facebook posts about it. The end of the year is a big deal to me, but a decade? it made me pause for a moment and reflect about what I’ve learned.
- Try, try, try. Don’t let the fear of mistakes hold you back. For so long I feared making a mistake and looking like a fool. Well, honestly, that was me living a slave to what others thought. I didn’t want to try because “what if I failed?” Mistakes are what teaches us what doesn’t work and what does work. Real change ONLY happens when you stumble and stand up again. In 2010 I bought a magnet that said “Fall seven times, stand up eight” and truly, I believe it’s defined this decade. It doesn’t mean never fall. It means YOU WILL FALL. But power comes in standing up again.
- Strength grows in adversity. This decade, while amazing things have happened, also meant me coming face to face with my own beliefs and watching the life I thought I would have be dismantled. In 2013 I went through a divorce and truly, I don’t think there are any of us that think, “you know what would be fun? Divorce.” In fact, it was one of the most challenging places I’ve ever journeyed. But, in that place of pressure, of loneliness, of trials I discovered a strength that would not be a part of me unless I had dared to push through and triumph.
- Words don’t only matter, action matters more. For most of my adult life I listened to how things would change and that I should have more faith in the words. Well, friends, words without action are just words in this world. The real needle movers are the ones who dare to act even if they don’t have the perfect words. In some way ways words ring hollow to me, but seeing the grit of dedication and the push of tenacity is powerful. The funny thing is that action has actually taught me to be more positive. Action is what gives you the high of success and the pulse in your veins. And those are the moments where life is good.
- Social media is a beautiful tool. As a writer I’ve read article after article about the “dangers” of social media and yet, in my own life, I’ve come to see it as a most wonderful thing. It is what gives us a voice, an outlet and it connects us worldwide. My children can FaceTime each other, I can FaceTime my family and instead of it being “until we see each other again” it creates this real, tangible relationship. I think it’s easy to judge something new as “dangerous” and yet if you look through history you’ll see how books, at one point, were espoused to be dangerous. Perspective, right?
- Friendship is about being the friend you need. It’s not about expecting others to show up for you, but rather is you showing up for others. It’s being there at three in the morning and showing up when it’s not convenient. It’s not about, “tell me what you need…” but rather is seeing a need and being there. This is the decade where the shallow friendships lost appeal and the real heart relationships triumphed.
- Unhealthy competition sucks the life out of creativity. There will always be someone else out there who seems to have it better. But the second comparison creeps in, that is the very second one’s life can feel small and unimportant. Everyone creates meaning. It might look different and there might be some who are loud and boisterous and others who have a smaller footprint, but it doesn’t mean one has greater value than the other. Healthy competition can drive one to be better, but unhealthy competition makes one small. Remember a box of crayons has many colors and as cliche as it sounds – that’s the way we all are as well. Don’t measure yourself against others.
- Mindset matters. I wrote an entire book about mindset and bravery (The Brave Art of Motherhood) and how excuses held me back in my life. I think I stepped into the decade a bit fearful, a bit worried yet about what others thought. I worried about disrupting the status quo and what others would think. In some ways, I was nervous to look and examine my own thoughts, my own mindset. But our mindset matters greatly. These words do matter, because changing one’s mindset is an action that puts into place a powerful catalyst of change. It’s risky. It’s daring. It’s disrupting. But anytime one makes a change you’ll create waves. And instead of seeing the waves as negative it’s time to see them as beautiful.
- Life is short. Such a cliché observation and yet, my friends, I remember clearly the Y2K scare and how we were worried everything would collapse. And that? That was twenty years ago. 20. In this past decade my youngest has turned ten. I’ve had friends who have died. I have dealt with death and loss. I’ve graduated several kids. There was a time when I didn’t really believe that time speeds up, but friends it does. And life is short. That’s part of my mindset now. And that mindset impresses on my heart to not wait, but to take those risks, to speak up. And to love the gift of the moment of today.
- Don’t wait until tomorrow. This, across the board. Don’t wait until tomorrow to tell those you love them. Don’t wait until tomorrow to do the hard things. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start. Waiting for tomorrow means existing. And we are meant to do more than simply exist. Sometimes I think about those I know who are no longer here and it fuels me to live with such vibrancy and joy. You know, I don’t think anyone ever gets to their death bed and thinks, “I’m so glad I never took risks. I’m so thankful I never expressed my heart.” Think on that. Make this the decade of fighting for your heart and living your true self.
- Be you. Be unapologetically yourself. Follow your dreams. Fight for your family. Invest in relationships. Take care of your body. Laugh a whole bunch more. Let yourself feel. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Push yourself to be better. Don’t settle. Don’t quit on your heart. Love deeply. Forgive. Let go. Tap into your creativity. Live your life with enthusiasm. And always, always, be you. There is no one on this earth like you and you are wonderful and unique.
So that’s my decade list. I hope it inspires you and I hope it makes you, too, think about what you’ve learned.
get my book The Brave Art of Motherhood and make this your year of brave.