It’s my birthday! In honor of being another year older and wiser (right?!) I thought I’d do something a little bit different. Today, I’m sharing seven things I’ve learned in the past year. We talk about the huge leap I made professionally, ranch dressing, grocery delivery, Marie Kondo, what I’ve learned about making decisions, and more.
Happy Tuesday! Whether this is your first episode or you’ve been listening since the first episode, thanks for being here. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making Beyond Happy a part of your self-care. Every time I hit record and face the microphone, I say a prayer that these words would land in the earbuds of just the right listeners at just the right time. If you’ve been listening over the last couple of months, you know that my mission for Beyond Happy is that the content shared here would be incredibly valuable as you seek to grow and stretch and better understand yourself as a person. I really believe that when we get to know ourselves better, when we start to apply the tools and thought work I share here that it’s really a spiritual practice, right? Because the more we can see ourselves clearly, the more we learn about ourselves, the more we move into becoming that person we were created to be. And the world needs us. The world needs you – exactly as you were created – to show up in only the ways you can. They might be little ways or they might feel big, but the impact in the big picture is everything.
I was working on writing copy for my new website the other day and the words kept cycling through my mind…
When you change YOUR life,
You help change your family’s life.
When you help change your family’s life,
You help change your community.
When you help change your community,
You help change the world.
So powerful right? It reminds me of the selflessness of personal growth. Of taking care of YOU. There is a powerful ripple effect – the way you invest in yourself and take care of yourself matters. So many of us pour out ourselves into others, into relationships and parenting and obligations and commitments and volunteer or professional work, and in a world where busy is gloried, we lose ourselves. We forgot who we are.
But the more time we spend doing this work, the more we get to be reminded of who we are. We get to learn and grow and change and disconnect and reconnect and it really matters. We really can only control ourselves, but when we do this work, and we commit to evolving into the best versions of ourselves that we can, we show others what’s possible. We can be the light for others because we’re lit up from within and we believe that we’re worthy and filled with purpose. Whether that looks like raising babies at home or writing a book or starting a business or rebuilding a marriage or becoming an empty nester or a grandma, you have a circle of influence. Your life matters, and the way you’re living it matters. People are watching, no matter who you are.
So thank you for investing in the care and well-being of you.
I have to tell you I had an entirely different episode planned for you today, and then I remembered that this episode would air one day before my birthday. So it just felt right to shift the order of things a bit. A lot has changed in my life over the past year, and I just wanted to share some of what I’ve been learning. So today, in honor of my birthday tomorrow, we’re going to talk about 7 Things I’ve Learned This Year.
It’s never too late to make a change.
In this past year, I made some huge professional changes that I didn’t plan for. In my late 30s, I did not set out to go back to school and earn my certification as a life coach. Not only that, but the decision to do so happened over a fairly short amount of time. A few things fell into place and it all just made sense. It felt meant to be. So I went for it. My husband supported me and didn’t think I was crazy, and that was a huge bonus in taking the leap! And I’m so glad I did. Sometimes I think we get set in the way things are and we get comfortable. Though the idea of reaching for something new or different might feel exciting at first, we often stay back where it’s familiar, and the comfort zone wins out. We make excuses as to why it’s crazy, or won’t work out, or we’re too old, not qualified, not smart enough, you name it. Sometimes we’re just meant to shift. To pivot. Sometimes opportunities come our way and they weren’t planned on our end, but they just make sense.
We walk through seasons of life, and I believe each one is preparing us for the next. Sometimes you don’t know what’s around the corner, and that’s a beautiful thing, I think. In my coaching practice now, I see how my years and experience as a mom have prepared me for working with my clients, not only in my ability to connect with and relate to them as women and as someone who has walked through some of the challenges that they have, but also just because my almost 10 years as a mom have completely reshaped be as a human, from the inside out. From marriage and parenting to knowing what it’s like to own and run a small business as a “solopreneur”, and a creative, I’ve also grown in ways that I’m now seeing are so valuable in my work as a coach.
So let this lesson be a takeaway for you too. It’s never too late or too early or the wrong time to make a change when you feel called to it. When we move through life with open hands and just let things unfold rather than white-knuckling our way through, and gripping to things that aren’t ours to grip, we get to see the beauty in the unexpected. When we do, we get to see what was here waiting for us, all the time we were doing the work of becoming who we’re becoming.
There still may be hope for ranch dressing.
I’m not gonna lie to you guys. I hesitated before openly committing to this statement. I’ve spent my life being an avid hater of ranch dressing, but… I had a crazy thing happen to me last month in Nashville. I went to a restaurant called Tupelo Honey – never been there before but they have all kinds of southern food. We ordered fried pickles for an appetizer, and they were so good. They were thinly sliced rounds… is that what you call them? I’ve had fried pickles that are spear shaped… so these were different. Round. Anyway, my friend and I were talking and I was inhaling the fried pickles and the delicious dipping sauce. She let me go for quite some time before pointing out that I was eating ranch dressing. I laughed that I was surprised because it tasted… good… and so unlike all of the previous ranch dressing experiences I had in the past. She explained that this ranch dressing I was eating was homemade. Interesting. I didn’t know that was a thing – you know, being anti-Ranch, I haven’t spent much time learning about the available varieties. So there you go. I may not hate all Ranch dressings. I feel a bit like a traitor saying this out loud, and yet, I haven’t eaten any since, nor have I found myself considering it. It just feels like a giant step forward to say I MAY NOT COMPLETELY hate it after all.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
Time is valuable currency. Even more valuable than actual monetary currency. Because where you can find ways to create more money, you can’t create more time. Time is my motivator, and this past year I started to get honest about how I was spending my time. Why did I feel like I wasn’t accomplishing as much as I could be? It’s tempting to look at others and think, “Of course she can do that, look at all the time she has.” Ummm. Rewind. What? No, that is not true and for sure not serving anyone well to believe. The truth is, we all have the same 24 hours in our day. You, me, your spouse, Beyonce, Oprah, your neighbor and the woman who seems to have it altogether. No one has more or less. It’s how they’re using it. What they’re doing with it. When you start to get honest about what you’re doing with your time, the amount of it spent in being distracted, in indulging in mindless activities like eating and scrolling and other things, you begin to see how you aren’t using your time. For me, I discovered that when I don’t have a plan in advance as to what I want to accomplish that day, I have a lot of down time in indecision – time that I’m thinking about what I should do next. And it’s in that transition of thinking about what to do next that I tend to go down the path of distraction. The rabbit hole of social media. Or decide that I probably need a snack. Or to fold laundry. Or text someone back. And so on.
A long time ago, someone told me that you always have time for the things you need time for. I 100% believe this. What a reminder that it’s a choice. No one is forcing you to spend your time doing anything. Even if you work outside the home and feel constrained by that schedule, working at that job is ultimately your choice, right? It’s your choice and mine to decide how we’re going to spend our time based on what’s important. We always have a choice.
There are no wrong decisions.
Ahhh, decisions. They can cause so much crazy and unnecessary suffering in our lives if we let them. There’s no getting away from it – decisions are a part of life. I haven’t talked about podcasts I listen to around here yet, but one of my favorites is all about this very topic. Yep, an entire podcast devoted to decision making. It’s called The Next Right Thing and it’s hosted by Emily P. Freeman. Highly recommend. She’s also an author and has another book coming out in April also called The Next Right Thing. Emily’s such an eloquent and poetic writer – a beautiful storyteller who weaves practical application, hope and truth into each tale she tells. One episode last year was about this very thing – that there are no wrong decisions. There’s just the decision you make. The next right thing you choose to do. When I realized I do believe this, it was so freeing. I’m sure I’ve spent countless hours in the past toiling and trying to avoid making the wrong decision. But shifting to a belief that says, the choice I’m making is the right one, and what happens next because of that decision, is exactly how it’s supposed to be? it’s like a huge weight lifted. Do you live with fear of doing the wrong thing? Choosing wrong? There that fear pops up again, holding us back and keeping us from moving forward, as we’re supposed to. Next time you have a decision to make, see if you can just commit to a decision and trust that it’s the next right thing for you, and let what happens, happen. Sometimes what comes next will be just as we expected; sometimes in might come in the form of a lesson to be learned. Either way, trusting in that? Trusting that what happens following a decision is happening for a purpose is like a breath of fresh air. And a reminder that we aren’t meant to control things.
There is such peace in simplifying.
I made some conscious decisions to simplify in the past year. There is a glorification of being busy in our world, and I’ve realized I don’t want to be a part of it. In Marie Kondo’s words, being busy does NOT spark joy in my life. For me, simplifying looks like taking in the big picture of what’s happening in life, and doing an edit. What’s working? What isn’t? What’s necessary? What isn’t? What can we get rid of to make life simpler?
There are families out there with a very full extracurricular schedule – some running from drop-offs to pick-ups from afternoon till bedtime, grabbing fast-food dinners on the go. And that works for some families. If that’s your family and that works well – that’s awesome. There was a time when we had three kids age 2 and under that I looked ahead and dreamed of all the fun activities they’d love doing when they got a bit bigger. But that desire changed. Instead of running around to all the activities, we want dinners at home together and for the kids to have plenty of play time outside. Extra activities are really limited in our family. It’s simple, and it works well for us.
So we’ve simplified our calendar in terms of activities we commit to. As someone who works from home, another way I’ve simplified life is to work out at home. I don’t pay for a gym membership, but, even more important to me, I save time because I’m not driving somewhere to work out, and then also making a drive home. I can get my workouts in and hop in the shower, or stay in my workout clothes and get to work if that’s what I choose. Another time-saver and life simplifier has been grocery delivery. You guys. If you have this service available where you live, TAKE ADVANTAGE. I love all the things about grocery delivery. I’m not making the drive to the store, I’m not spending time walking the aisles of the grocery store, and I don’t buy anything I don’t need. There aren’t tempting impulse buys when you’re creating your list online. It’s amazing and I highly recommend.
The other way I see that we’ve been simplifying is just the old-fashioned getting rid of unnecessary stuff. And I’m trying to do this on a regular basis instead of just once a year. I did use some of Marie Kondo’s tools in completely reorganizing our master closet and dressers at the beginning of the new year, and then I moved to the kid’s closets and dressers. Ahhh. Why does purging stuff feel SO GOOD?! I love it. The less stuff, the better. When I simplify our schedule, our commitments and our clutter, it just feels like there’s more white space in my world. More breathing room. It feels really good.
Taking the emotion out of parenting changes everything.
Parenting is such intense work. Daily commitments and responsibilities paired with the overarching role of stewarding little humans into adulthood? It’s a big deal. My favorite parenting book in terms of managing kids’ behavior is called 1-2-3 Magic. It’s awesome and something you can begin to implement as soon as you begin reading it. One of the concepts it talks about is not reacting in emotion when responding to kids behavior and disciplining them. Now, I’m admittedly an emotional person. I tend to wear my feelings on my sleeve… for better or worse. But my parenting has truly changed since I’ve applied the concept of not reacting with emotion. Maybe my work in coaching and the idea of neutral circumstances has helped me evolve this way too, but the truth is, what one of my kids did or didn’t do wasn’t what was making me upset. Right? We know this… because no one, including our kids, can make us feel anything. It’s our thoughts that do. And I learned that it’s what I was making our kids’ behavior mean that was upsetting me and leading me to react in a way I didn’t want to be reacting.
Now, full disclaimer. I’m human and am not successful at this 100% of the time. But I’m getting better and better at it and it truly makes a difference. The kids can be arguing or tattling or someone could have spilled and created a mess in the kitchen, and I can choose what to make that mean! I don’t have to get upset! I remember one time when I calmly responded to some disaster and my daughter said, “Aren’t you even going to get mad?” Nope, I said. These things happen. We cleaned it up together and moved on with our day. When I stay calm in these situations, I feel SO much better. My kids remain calmer and situations are resolved quicker. They’re also seeing a healthy way to manage emotions, and that is probably the most significant benefit of my learning to show up in this way. I want them to know how to feel feelings and manage them.
It’s okay to be right where you are.
Some of us live looking in the rearview mirror at the past, and others of us tend to live in the future. But I’m learning that when we do that, we’re missing out on the now. We’re missing out on the beauty, the good stuff, the life happening right in front of us. It’s okay to be right where you are. Maybe it’s not exactly where you want to be, where you think you should be, where “she” is, or where you envisioned yourself at this point in your life. But what if right HERE is exactly where you’re supposed to be?
What I’m learning is that is okay when life is messy and uncertain and you don’t know where you’re going next. I’ve been learning to release my plan for life and find contentment in the place that I am. Sometimes when we dream, we dream the whole big picture and we want to know how it’s all going to play out. But life doesn’t work that way, does it? And it probably wouldn’t be nearly as fun if it did. I don’t want to waste time missing the little moments in front of me because I’m waiting for some bigger moments to happen. Because life? It’s happening in those everyday, little moments. Let us both remember that when we feel the urge to look too far forward or too far back.
So, that’s the list. That is the 7 Things I’ve Learned This Year, in honor of my 39th birthday. And let me tell you, each year truly keeps getting better. My 30s have been the best of my life so far. And it’s with that feeling that I excitedly move into the last year of my 30s. It does feel a little weird and hard to believe, but we’re doing this. I still feel 27, in fact I think I’ve felt 27 ever since I was around 15, and I’ve just stayed there, but the calendar shows something different. I’m excited to see what the next year brings, and I believe it’s gonna be a good one.
I hope you have an awesome day. I hope that maybe one of the things I’ve learned in the last year resonates with you, too. We’re lifelong learners, and I just see us all as a continual work in progress. We keep getting refined more and more, year after year. As always, thank you for being here. Thank you for hanging out and letting me be in your earbuds.
Have THE best day. Until next week! See you then.