Fabulous 14: Embrace Fear and Other Life Lessons Learned in 2014

To say 2014 was a big year is like saying Elvis was indifferent to sequins. It was big, it was HUGE, it was life changing! In particular the actions I took to be true to myself significantly changed the trajectory of my life (gulp!). I will look back on 2014 knowing that this year is when everything started to fall into place- after a lot of hard work. Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect. It's just a life that is perfect for me. And it took me a long time to realize that and to get to this place. I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for your encouragement, support and a big does of inspiration!

This year I tried to reflect more (I know, so warm fuzzy). I wanted to learn from success and failures alike. When I had an "Ah ha!" moment I made a note so the lessons that hit me up side the head would not easily fade away. I'm excited to share my list with you.  I hope you will find a gem or a little inspiration for your journey.

1) Give Second Chances- Least You Need One.

I believe in the lessons that come from making mistakes. I believe in second chances.  But anything more is a bad habit.

2) Embrace Fear.

Sometimes life is scary. It's normal to be scared, but never shriek because of it. Life might only give you one opportunity to say  "YES!".

Be courageous! The best things in life happen at the edge of our comfort zone.

3) It's Never to Late to Say I'm Sorry.

A chance encounter allowed me to extend a long overdue apologize.  A good friend and I fought over a boy when we were 19 and I haven't seen her since. (Stay with me, I promise we only have to linger briefly through teenage angst). I can't tell you the relief I felt running into her and the deep sadness, knowing we parted ways over something- or I should say someone- so trivial. Never turn attention into a contest.

But it was sweet closure and it felt oh so good to finally leave the past in the past.

4) Forgive Your Younger Self. Your Inner Child Deserves It.

See above.  I held that one in and was upset with myself-  and how I handled the situation-  for years!  But really we were 19 and acting like 19- year olds. But it seems like we all have something or someone that haunts us from our childhood.

My older and wiser self knows this situation has stayed with me all of these years because I didn't place the greater value on the friendship. Letting go of past hurts allows you to look forward to what is next instead of looking over your shoulder at what was.

5) Choose A Proactive Life.

I used to float down the stream of life.  This approach can lead to a feeling of helplessness because you are not working toward outcomes. By acting in a reactive way you are leaving things up to chance and often live life on the defense. It seemed like I was always cleaning up messes- my house was out of order.  By shifting to a proactive approach, I was able to anticipate my feelings and needs, adjusting accordingly.  In doing so, I set myself up for success.

For example, after four years of coaching as my side gig I planned to give notice at the company I worked at full time.  I knew that after more then a dozen years, while mostly exciting, the transition would be challenging too. I signed up for a group coaching program and that extra support and accountability was what I needed to keep my sanity and sassiness. And the occasional kick in the pants. 

It was a summer that could have been very chaotic and left me feeling emotionally overloaded but it was (mostly) smooth sailing. Don't get me wrong, it was still at lot at once but being proactive and having support, I gave what I could and pulled back when needed. And I refused to be paralyzed by fear.

6) Saying Goodbye is Hard- Ready or Not.

During the second half of 2014 I felt like all I did was say goodbye- but most of my farewells were (somewhat) expected.  I said adios to my corporate gig, to my awesome work family, to my boyfriend, my favorite sidekick and my hero- my grandpa.

When I clump the goodbyes together like that, a huge wave of sadness fills my heart; the sadness of loss compounds. It was a hard six months no doubt, but what I learned is I am resilient and can handle so much more then I think I can. So for that I am proud of myself. It would have been easy to drown my sorrows in vodka but instead I lived through my emotions as they came. And when I wasn't having a great day and just needed to be alone with my thoughts, I bowed out of social engagements.

But you know what happens when you say a lot of goodbyes? A lot of exciting hellos! Bring on 2015.

7) Lead By Example, Even When No One is Watching.

It's easy to do the right thing when all eyes are on you.  How do you act when no one is watching?  That default is your true self. A leader sets a higher standard; it's who they are and how they show up.  Always.

8) Be Intentional With Who You Welcome into Your World. Many Can Visit, Few Can Stay.

This year I wanted to surround myself with positive people who would be excited for me and encourage me to play BIG. Extraordinary people who would understand the risks I was taking and cheer me on as I chased my dreams.  I put the intention out there and low and behold selectively made not one, not two but three amazing new friends. (The Secret works!). But really what I learned is that if you are going to do something big, love and support is all around you. All you need to do is ask.

Talk about a game changer! I only hope that they find as much value in what I bring to the relationship. (Thanks for your love, support and inspiration NM, JS and BL).

9) Only Compare Yourself Only to Your Best Self.

It's easy to compare yourself to others. In fact our society encourages it. And when you do, it's natural to be overcome with waves of jealousy or feelings of inadequacy.  But knock it off! You are the bees knees.  Instead of being jealous use that energy to inspire yourself to do- and be- more.

10) Serve: Make Someone's Day Brighter.

The secret of life is simple: we are here to serve.  This dance, it's all about what you can do for others.

11) Be More Patient Then The Situation Calls For.

Let's face it, life can be hard!  We are spread so thin and the demands on our time and attention are never ending. We can be demanding, because people are demanding of us, right?

What would life be like if you slowed down a little bit?  Take a breath. Put your phone down and ask someone how their day is going. Smile! Embrace human interaction.

12) People (Typically) Have Good Intentions. Look Hard to Find Them.

Some days I cannot for the life of me figure out why people do the things they do - but they probably think the same thing of me. I hope they give me the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes when people do one thing and say something contrary it is because their values are in conflict. Maybe they are just trying to work through something and need your support?

13) Make Time For a Workout: Flex Your Trust Muscles. 

Life is about trusting, getting hurt and learning how to trust again...over and over. Not with the same person of course (see #1). Trusting doesn't make you weak, it makes you strong. And I learned the hard way that a lack of trust leads to superficial relationships. If you don't trust, you aren't able to let anyone in your world. And that is a very lonely life.

14) Ooze Gratitude In What is Said and What Lingers in Your Heart.

I really think a big part of my shift this year is in my level of gratitude.  I am grateful for EVERYTHING, especially the little things I used to take for granted. Or maybe it is because I finally slowed down and figured out the things that are really important to me- my health, my family and friends, passion in all I do and my spirituality- that life seemed to click.

Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with emotion I don't know how to get those intense feelings from my heart to my mouth. But it's there. If only the gratitude could flow as easily as the sass does. But I have to leave something to work on in 2-0-1-5!


What life lessons did you learn in 2014?

How did you get closer to the person you want to be this year?

Please share comments or questions below.  I would love to hear from you!

Posted on December 30, 2014 and filed under Leadership, Dating, Conflict, Relationships, Values, Career change, Gratitude.