2018 represented my 25th year and what a year it was! Based on the pronouncements of my 17-year old self, this should have been the year I got married and completed my second degree. My seventeen year old self was wrong and wronger lol. It’s a good thing I learned long ago that, things don’t often occur the way we planned them however, leaving them in the hands of the Author as He works and fulfills on His timing, no matter how impatient I become, is the better choice. Despite things not occurring as my idealistic 17-year old self would have planned, 2018 was a fulfilling year of self-sufficiency with some crucial lessons to learn. so, here goes, 5 lessons I learned during 2018:
Lesson 1: Not everyone’s opinions should be needed or heeded.
I recall the first time I heard the quote “a wolf does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep”, I thought I understood it until I realized that I wasn’t living it. An acquaintance bluntly (getting a taste of my medicine is not an easy pill to swallow) pointed out that I concerned myself too much with the opinions of persons who weren’t the subject matter experts. It took months for me to stop seeking or heeding the opinions of persons not qualified to give it. When I achieved this, things changed.
The truth is, whenever you step out to do something, two things will happen: you may doubt yourself and everyone will want to have a say, especially if the move you are making goes against the norm.
Take the opinions of subject matter experts (the wolves) with a grain of salt and ignore the sheep!
Lesson 2: Trust your instincts
This year, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, which focused on recognizing and trusting the subtle but critical messages that your subconscious sends to your consciousness. In all honesty, this year, if I had trusted my gut, a lot of things would have turned out differently. It is also a bit painful when I realize that the primary reasons I didn’t trust my gut were because:
- I got caught in the web of analysis paralysis
- I focused on my responsibilities and caught up in the moment
- I focused on my conscious interpretation of the circumstances and outcomes I could see.
Faith requires seeing, not with just your eyes, but deeper…sometimes beyond the physical.
Listening to your subconsciousness requires going with your first instinct even if you don’t have physical plausible explanation as to why. Trusting your instincts requires you to be attuned to yourself enough to hear the subliminal messages that your mind communicates. I like to think that our subconscious is just another think that God uses to guide and warn us.
I find it amazing that God equipped each of us with our own personal alarm system. It’s a pity we don’t listen!
Lesson 3: Know when to walk away!
Know who you are and what you need.
This year I chose to walk away from people I loved who were toxic for me. I turned my back on things I didn’t believe in and people who didn’t believe in me or refused to invest me. I left my fears and doubts and anything that was not good for me behind!
If anyone had told me that the key to meeting Mr. McDreamy (can’t help my Grey’s Anatomy reference) was to go off on a cruise, I would have packed my bags and gone on holiday without prodding in early 2017. I met and clicked with Mr. McDreamy in late 2017. We invested in early 2018. To me, he was perfect…at least for a few months. While we aligned on a great many things, I soon realized that there were critical areas of misalignment. McDreamy was willing to wait for me to change my mind. I wasn’t! Especially when it came to what I needed or the things that defined me. I wasn’t willing to gamble with that on a whim, so I walked away.
Walking away is a hard and constant struggle but totally worth it.
Lesson 4: Choose you. Work hard. Play harder.
Being unselfish to yourself is a requirement not an option.
I must admit that I spend a lot of time catering to the needs of others, often at the expense of my needs. This sometimes resulted in persons taking advantage of my kindness and willingness to help, when possible. This year I chose to say no and intentionally balanced my work and personal life.
As a self-acknowledged workaholic, I struggled with putting work aside to wind down or handle other matters. I worked around the clock, even on weekends. My work phone was generally one of the last things I touched before going to bed and one of the first, upon on waking. I feared I no longer knew how to relax and decided to make a change. Meeting Mr. McDreamy forced me to take the first step by limiting work hours to a maximum of 8pm. Before I knew it, I no longer felt anxious about turning off my work phone while I was on vacation or unavailable. I recently did three weeks of vacation without touching the work phone or laptop. This was probably one of my proudest moments of the entire year!
Work time is work time. My time is my time!
Lesson 5: Envision. Plan. Execute.
“A man without vision is like a ship without a sail”.
For 2018, I made a paper list of all the major things I wanted to achieve for the year. Now this list was then hung beside my bed so that it was always visible (not stored in my head or hidden on my phone or laptop or in a book). Its visibility proved to be my guilt trip and I found myself planning and executing each item on the list throughout the year. It felt really great to scratch off a list item upon completion. By the time the year ended, there was no item on the list that hadn’t been researched and planned. Only three were not fully executed. For 2019, I’m upgrading to a small white board.
What about you? Drop a comment below telling me about some of the lessons you learned this year.