On this last day of the year, I am reflecting on what 2018 taught me. Besides teaching me that Bradley Cooper can sing (I mean, seriously, listen to this song and swoon for yourself if you don’t believe me), I learned so much about myself and continue to learn how to best uplift the people around me.
I am continually reminded that I don’t have all the answers and that I am a work in progress.
Thank you life, you keep me humble. Although, I do think we could lay off this lesson just a little bit in 2019 because I did such a good job learning it in 2018.
I worried about this lesson when my first book, The Path to Serendipity, was published. I worried that I once I was a published author, I was supposed to be perfect. Spoiler alert–I am not perfect and don’t even seek perfection. I definitely am on the path to serendipity, but that is a conscience choice I make every day. It is helpful to remind myself what I’ve heard many smart authors say…that we often write the book we need. That is certainly the case for me. The lessons and stories in The Path to Serendipity are lessons and tools that I need everyday. And, I keep writing because I am constantly learning.
A light bulb went on in my head as I heard Jimmy Casas say:
Asking for help is one of the bravest things we can do.
And, this ties in perfectly with lesson number one. Since I don’t have all the answers, asking for help from others who might have a different perspective or better insight is a very good idea. Even if their ideas aren’t perfectly aligned with the solution I picture, they often spark creativity and open doors in my own mind.
Asking for help takes two very important things. First, don’t ask unless you actually want to hear others’ ideas. You have to have an open mind and an open heart. Second, it takes a certain level of confidence. Often we reject others’ ideas because we are not sure we can pull them off. Approaching new (good) ideas with a, “I can give that a try,” attitude is essential when seeking help.
There are times when others can’t give us the help we seek.
This is a biggie for me and I am guessing that it is an important lesson for everyone. Asking for help is important when solving big problems or when vetting a new idea, yet there are times when people can’t give us the help we seek. There were times this year when I doubted myself, my abilities, my intentions, my skills, and I wanted desperately for someone else to pick me up, to bolster me, to make me feel good about myself again. But, they can’t. They just never seem to say the right thing, and it is because the only person who can help me feel confident in the person I am and the person I am becoming is ME. Little ole me.
Someone might say something that momentarily helps us feel better or they might say something that reminds us that we are not big doofuses after all. When I first became a principal and was filled to the brim with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, my husband would stick notes on my computer at work that said, “You’re number one”. Knowing that I was number one to him and to my sons helped me take a deep breath and have the strength to fight another round. Yet, when it comes to the big stuff like knowing that I am a good leader and that my intentions are pure, that has to be generated from my own heart and my own head.
The lyrics for Shallow were written by Lady Gaga, and I love them because they are so fitting with the lessons 2018 taught me. If you haven’t listened to Bradley Cooper sing this first part yet, listen before you read on.
Tell me somethin’, girl
Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more?
Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?
I am happy in this modern world–not because of what the modern world provides me but because of happiness that is cultivated from within me. I seek serendipity, I expect to stumble upon beautiful lessons as I experience life’s ups and downs. I always want to search for more, to be open to the changes that are inevitable and open to becoming a better version of myself every day.
In all the good times I find myself
Longin’ for change
And in the bad times I fear myself
Isn’t this so true? In the good times we look for that next step. We feel strong, we feel like we are killin’ it at life, and we feel ready to take on more. And, then the bad times come. And we fear that we are not enough. We fear that maybe we have pushed ourselves too far and that we can’t handle what is next. When we look at the difference between the good times and the bad, the main difference is the message we are telling ourselves. We are worthy of all the good we hope for others and all the support we so willingly give.
So, this year, let’s empower ourselves first. Remember the oxygen mask concept that we cannot help others survive if we ourselves aren’t getting what we need? That applies to the messages we tell ourselves. What messages will you tell yourself this year? What will be your mantra for 2019? Here are a few ideas that might spark your thinking:
You are not perfect, never will be. But, you work very hard to help others and are willing to improve every day. You may not be perfect, but you are enough.
The full kaleidoscope of emotions are a gift and we cannot experience the good without also experiencing the bad. Allow the hurt, it’s okay. Breathe. Do something healthy that helps you feel better. Then, embrace the lessons and move on.
What would you tell someone else who is feeling the way you are feeling? How would you want to support them? You are worthy of those same messages and supports. You are worthy.
New year — a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.
Happy New Year my friends! Cheers to our best year yet! Looking forward to learning and growing and loving 2019 with you!