Today is my birthday, and I’m turning 50 years old!
It’s hard to believe how the time has flown; it only feels like yesterday when I celebrated my 21st, my first real job, and the excitement of venturing into the world as a young adult.
Many people want to hide under a rock as their laps around the sun increase, but for me, I think it’s all about how you feel and think as you get older.
I have nothing but gratitude to be alive and well and to have made it to fifty with the bonus of getting to celebrate my birthday with real people in a room after missing out since 2019.
When I was 25, I lost my dad at the age I am today. This triggered a deep appreciation and awareness of my time on this earth. I’ve never taken anything or anyone for granted, and since he passed away, a light flicked on inside of me to make the most of every day and make a difference to others. This has been my life mission ever since.
I believe we must say “yes” to life and embrace it with whatever is going on; in our challenges and successes, it is always there.
I’ve learnt so much over the years I could write a book on it (I’m tempted). Everything from:
- learning to accept what can’t be changed
- dealing with loss and love
- adapting to people from all walks of life
- building resilience when leaving the safe cocoon of the corporate world to start my own business
- rebuilding my business during the pandemic
- accepting that I wasn’t going to have children in this lifetime
Life has given me many gifts through the challenges and successes I have experienced. Everything and every person I have experienced has contributed to the tapestry of my life, who I am and who I am continually becoming.
My gift to you is to share my top 7 lessons/insights; there are so many more, but on reflection, these stood out to me.
1. Walk your own path
No one is you. None will ever be you, and your uniqueness is a gift you need to embrace.
It can be challenging not to compare your path with someone else or societal norms, but at the end of the day, we have one life only to do what we know and feel is suitable for ourselves.
When leaving a fantastic corporate role to start my own business 16 years ago, many people put me down, doubted me and warned me of everything that could go wrong. I’m not saying being in business is easy (far from it); it takes will, skill, buckets of determination, motivation, sacrifice, and commitment, but I knew it was what I wanted to do. My ‘why’ to start my own business exceeded my ‘why’ to stay in a safe corporate job. I wanted to use my leadership experience to grow my leadership further and make a difference to others in a plethora of industries.
Your path is yours alone. It is your journey and map to create.
2. Everything happens for a lesson
Life throws us curve balls, and it’s what we do with these that matter. Whether we experience success or a challenging person or situation, when we are ready to accept (not condone) what has happened, we can always find a lesson that we can use to progress ourselves and others forward. At times it can be hard to identify the lesson, especially when going through a challenge, but as we move through time, we can deepen our awareness and acceptance and open the gift in any situation. I call this concept the “Gift Mindset.” Deep self-awareness and acceptance are key to unwrapping the gifts in our experiences.
3. Learn something new every day
My amazing Mum always asks me each day, “What was the best thing that has happened?” and “What did you learn?” I have continued to ask myself these questions every day, and I believe this has contributed to my lifelong passion for learning and growing others. Getting outside my comfort zone regularly ensures I constantly question things and approach life with a curious mindset. Creating self-growth habits such as reading and pursuing the things I love ensures I’m continually learning, unlearning, relearning, and evolving. When we learn and grow, not only are we enriching our lives, but we are also contributing to others by sharing what we have learnt.
4. Show kindness and gratitude
You never really know what is going on in other people’s lives, both in and out of the workplace.
I live my life by showing kindness and gratitude to people and all creatures, great and small. Demonstrating kindness and gratitude costs nothing. You can create a ripple effect and impact on others you may not be aware of. Kindness can come in the form of checking in with someone, simply telling someone you appreciate them or showing gratitude through words and actions.
Create a practice of gratitude for yourself. Regularly ask who and what you are grateful for, as this helps us reinforce what we have as opposed to what’s missing. I always find 3 positives for every negative.
5. Do what lights you up
When I surround myself with the people I love and do the things I love, I cannot help but feel lit up. I feel energised, happy, and fulfilled, and I have a pep in my step. I suggest knowing who and what lights you up and bringing this into your life as much as possible.
There will always be certain people and situations that don’t illuminate you, and my advice is to limit your exposure where you can. Do what lights you up as much as you can on a Monday, as this sets the tone for the week and helps eliminate those potential ‘Sunday night dreads’.
Connection lights me up; I love cooking and spending time with family and friends and in a work context delivering programs and connecting with our clients. When the pandemic hit, we lost 90% of our business and straight away, I ran free virtual webinars every Monday to keep myself motivated and to give back to my clients by continuing to be in service. This kept me motivated and helped me stay on purpose.
6. Make a start-take action
If something feels important to you, if it feels right and it keeps you up at night, then do it!
Check in with your heart, your logic, and your intuition. Bring all these in so you can make well-balanced decisions. I’ve always been one to jump into things, and most of the time, it has worked out for the best. We only have this life, and you are the director and CEO of it. Only you can make things happen. If we ponder things too much, we can overwhelm ourselves with comparison, strive for unrealistic perfection, and miss the boat on doing the things that matter.
Being creative, I always explore ideas, concepts, and new ways. Many times, the outcome is different from what I planned, but if we don’t make a start, what could we be missing? What could this cost us and others?
7. See challenges as opportunities
Challenges will come at us no matter what, with many outside our control. Every challenge or obstacle can teach us much if we are open to embracing what we face. When we welcome the unwelcome, we can change our mindset to be open to new possibilities and new ways. The choices we make, the thoughts we think, and the action we take come from who we are in that moment.
Choose how you respond to challenges. I always tap into how I have dealt with similar challenges in the past and what I did, and who I was being that helped get me through. This reminds me that I can get through this again.
Anything we have done before, we can do again. Challenges have helped build my resilience and adaptability to deal with change, and I’m grateful for the challenges I have faced, as they have made me the person I am today.
Every single day I learn new things about myself and others. I believe our lives and the lessons we glean are constantly changing and are as fluid as the ebb and flow of the tide.
As I celebrate 50 laps around the sun and reflect on what I’ve learnt so far on my journey through this thing called life, I look forward to what lies ahead and the lessons waiting to be unwrapped.