Category Archives: Lessons I’ve learned

Image

20 Things I Wish I'd Known In My 20s

My good friend Caitlin posted this link from Mind Body Green {20 Things I Wish I’d Known in my 20s} earlier this week and it was too good to share! Here’s a few of my favorites from the list. Definitely check out the full post to read all of them though!

P.S. Check out my friend Cait’s new blog documenting her personal journey training for her first marathon! Super inspiring and awesome. XO

2. Don’t focus so much on the future that you ignore what’s in front of you.

This applies to everything! Don’t future-trip in relationships. Don’t work so hard that you can’t enjoy the little things. Don’t spend so much time “pursuing” happiness that you forget that you have access to it at any moment you choose.

3. Courage is a decision.

It’s not an emotion, it’s a choice. Your fears can’t shape your life unless you’re happy being unhappy. You don’t need to be “ready” to make a change. You just need to acknowledge your fear and take action anyway.

4. You aren’t too old for a career change.

No matter how many degrees, time, and money you’ve put into something, it’s a sunk cost. You don’t get it back by sticking out something you don’t love. Don’t listen to your parents. (Sorry, mom!) You aren’t “playing it safe,” when you’re doing something you don’t love. You’re playing it scared. Do you really want to live with regret because you were afraid to pursue your dreams and embrace your potential?

6. Nobody’s opinion is more important than your own.

Other people’s views are not more relevant than your own. It doesn’t matter if they’re older, more successful, or better educated. Their opinion is simply that, an opinion, and nothing more. Learn to cultivate self-trust, knowing that what’s right for you is your truth, no matter who disagrees.

8. You don’t need to know what you want.

There’s so much pressure to know “what you want to be when you grow up.” Most of us are in careers that have nothing to do with what we studied in school. We’re taught to pick a career and stick with it forever, but that’s an antiquated view. If what you’re doing is making your skin crawl, you probably won’t “grow into it.” Don’t commit to something just because you’re supposed to. It’s fine to play it safe as long as you’re experimenting with things that actually light you up.

10. It’s OK that you’re single.

You aren’t more valuable as a person just because you have a partner, more Facebook friends, or any other form of external validation. Until you can self-validate, you’ll always feel like you’re lacking.

11. Be aware of what you’re really upset about.

When it’s hysterical, it’s historical. If you’re going from 0-60 because they forgot to give you extra hot sauce with your order, it’s triggering an old wound that hasn’t been healed. Don’t take it out on the delivery guy.

13. Other people’s baggage is theirs to deal with.

This one is huge. You aren’t a good friend, lover, or family member by taking responsibility for other people’s problems. The goal is interdependence, not codependence. Support others in a loving way, but allow them to work things out on their own.

15. Acknowledge that this moment won’t last forever (even if it feels like it will).

Everything in my 20s felt like it lasted forever. Waiting for a guy to call me back, getting a promotion, for things to “go my way.” When I was struggling with severe depression, my best friend gave me a ring that said “gam zeh ya’avor.” Modeled after a magic ring of King Solomon’s, it translates from Hebrew as, “This too shall pass.” Whenever I was sad, I looked at it and found the strength to continue. (And I tried not to look at it when I was happy!)

17. Forgive yourself for past screw-ups.

I’ve made so many mistakes. For most of my 20s, it was the only way I learned anything. But after learning the lesson, I held onto the pain and guilt instead of surrendering and forgiving myself. Often, we focus on forgiving others instead of forgiving ourselves. And while it can be painful and challenging to have compassion for ourselves, it’s the first step to letting go of your old story and writing a new one. The truth is that you can’t go back in time, but you can focus on what you want to create in the future.

18. Find gratitude for the good, the bad and the straight up ugly.

One step of past forgiveness is gratitude. While that may sound crazy, it’s the fastest way to accept who you are and where you’ve been. It’s easy to find gratitude for the good things, but being thankful for the painful experiences allows you to embrace your growth and transformation.

20. Find your tribe.

Just because you were friends as teenagers or in college, doesn’t mean you need to stay as close. As you develop into your true self, you’ll align with people who mirror that. Transition can be lonely, but you’re more likely to find real friends if you’re your real self.

Bonus tip: Nothing good happens after 1am and nothing good comes from drinking alcohol in the form of a shot.

 Image via here.

Advertisements
Image

if i were 22

have you seen or heard about linkedin’s influencer series called ‘if i were 22’? the series shares photos from 80+ influencers who discuss life lessons and what they would have done differently in their youth. while i haven’t had time to read all of them {but want to!}, i really enjoyed this one from guy kawasaki and wanted to share with you today! hope you have a great one! xo

Challenge the known and embrace the unknown. Accepting the known and resisting the unknown is a mistake. You should do exactly the opposite: challenge the known and embrace the unknown. Now is the time to take this kind of risk because you have less to lose and everything to gain. Great things happen to people who question the status quo.

Be brief. Contrary to school, in the work place there are few minimums. In my entire career, I can count on one hand the instances when an email, presentation, or report was too short. The perfect length for everything is when it is “complete”—more is less, and “shock and awe” doesn’t work in business or war. Here are guidelines: email—five sentences; presentations—tens slides and twenty minutes; report—one page.

Tell stories, do demos, and use pictures. The most enchanting people tell stories, do demos, and use pictures to influence and persuade others. They do on belittle or berate. They paint a picture in people’s minds whether the medium is social media, email, in-person presentations, phone calls, or video conferences. There is only one Steve Jobs, but if you want a shot at being the next Steve Jobs, learn to communicate using stories, demos, and pictures.

Don’t sweat your first job(s). Over your lifetime, you’ll probably have five to ten jobs in two to three industries. Your first job is not going to be your last. It’d be great if your first job was to be the fifth employee of the next Google, but the odds of this are small. The only mistake you could make is taking a first job where you couldn’t learn anything, and if you can’t learn anything, it’s probably your fault. Just get in and work hard and stop thinking about finding the perfect first job.

Live in the present, work for the future. The day after you start work, no one is going to care what school you went to, what your grade point average was, if you were captain of the football, robotics, or debate team, or who your parents are. All that matters is whether you deliver results or you don’t, so work hard to make your boss look good (see next).

Make your boss look good. Your job is to make your boss look good. The theory that you should make your boss look bad so that you can advance above him or her is flawed. Trying to do so will probably make you look disloyal to your boss and stupid to the rest of the organization. You want your boss to succeed so that you can draft behind him or her.

Continue to learn. Learning is a process not an event, so you should never stop learning. Indeed, it gets easier to learn once you’re out of school because the relevance of what you need to learn becomes more obvious. Indeed, the day you graduate is when the real learning begins.

Don’t get married too soon. I got married when I was thirty-two. That’s about the right age. Until you’re about that age, you may not know who you are. You also may not know who you’re marrying. I don’t know anyone who got married too late. I know many people who got married too young.

Obey the absolutes. When you were young, it was absolutely wrong to lie, cheat, or steal. When you enter the workforce, you will be tempted by the to think in relative terms. As you grow older, you will see that right and wrong seems to change from absolute to relative. This is wrong: right is right and wrong is wrong forever.

Enjoy your family and friends before they are gone. Nothing — not money, power, or fame — can replace your family and friends or bring them back once they are gone. You probably have delusions of immortality right now — that’s natural. At least consider that while you may be immortal, those around you are not.

One more thing. When you were a child, you thought your parents were always right. Through high school and college, you thought your parents were always wrong. After college, you’ll realize that your parents were often right. And then, believe it or not, you’ll eventually become your parents. Wrap your young mind around that..

Image

10 life lessons

1. Spent as much time with family as possible.

2. Go out of your way to be nice to everyone…even the people who aren’t nice to you!

3. You will not be the same size now that you were in high school. So stop comparing yourself to that.

4. When in doubt; wear red lipstick.

5. Say yes to every opportunity and adventure.

6. It’s okay {and necessary} to acknowledge something is stressful, upsetting or hurtful.

7. You deserve to be treated with integrity, respect, kindness and love! You won’t settle for anything less.

8. There is way, way, way more to life than money, success, job status.

9. Life goes by realllllllly quickly. Invest in relationships. Enjoy seasons of time as they come along!

10. Joy is mind over matter.

– Excerpt of my 23rd birthday blog post {over 2 years ago!} sharing some of life lessons learned. Here’s a few of my favorites that are very much still relevant, important and things I’m reminding myself of daily even now. And…for fun, a #throwbackthursday photo from right around my 23rd birthday – putting on red lipstick of course. xo!

 

Image

being busy vs. being calm

Louis CK’s riff on cell phones on Late Night With Conan O’Brien last year went viral for a reason. We know all this connectivity is sapping our ability to focus and be present, but we can’t seem to get away from it. “You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something,” Louis CK had said. “That’s what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there, like this. That’s being a person.”

This whole business of “being a person” means letting yourself feel sad and happy and lonely and ecstatic and angry and every which way, rather than anesthetizing your emotions with distraction.

Disconnecting from technology, listening to what your body needs and being comfortable with stillness and solitude can feel uncomfortable at first, but at the end of the day, it makes for a healthier more focused mind.

“Busy implies a rushed sense of cheery urgency, a churning motion, a certain measure of impending chaos,” writes KJ Dell’Antonia in a recent New York Times post. “Busy is being in one place doing one thing with the nagging sense that you ought to be somewhere else doing something different.”

Most of us can’t drop everything in our lives and go off the grid for a month. Still, there are small ways to recreate that kind of solitude and focus on a daily basis–yoga or meditation, taking a long walk, shutting off your phone and email for an hour or two each day.

Another thing I learned: People respect your need to disconnect. Often, they even admire it. Whatever comes through your inbox can usually wait. The world will go on without you. What can’t and won’t go on, however, if you’re not there to meet it, is your creative work. So don’t neglect it.

Excerpt from Fast Company; original, full article here.
Read a similar blog post I wrote “Turn Off Your Phone” here.
Read another awesome article about being too busy here.
Image via here.

Image

20 Things People Over 20 Should Stop Doing

Did anyone else see this RELEVANT Magazine article all over their Facebook feed? I am a sucker for a good list and almost everything from RELEVANT and this list about 20 things to stop doing if you’re over the age of 20 was no exception. My favorites are #4, #7, #9, #11, #14 and #18 – what about you? Enjoy!

1. Spending money you don’t have. Credit cards may seem like an easy way to pay for things you really want, but in the long run they could really hurt you if not properly used. Stick to cash, debit or checks. This may seem old-school, but they will definitely help you manage your money.

2. Wasting time on mindless entertainment instead of looking for a job. Video games (or Netflix or Facebook or whatever your choice of entertainment) can be extremely fun, but those games can sure take up a lot of valuable time that could be spent on more important areas of life. There is nothing wrong with playing them, as long as you balance the time needed for school, work and other important aspects of life.

3. Using the term “YOLO”. Simple. Please stop using it.

4. Only going to church to find a relationship. Not only will you hurt yourself in the long run, but you are also selfishly taking time away from a man or woman who is seeking after God’s wisdom and guidance. You can definitely find a great relationship at church, but don’t make that your only reason for attending.

5. Citing “Google” on a college paper or work presentation. It’s not a valid citation, and it could get you in some trouble.

6. Thinking you know it all. Nobody wants to spend time around a know-it-all. Walk in a posture of learning, and embrace every opportunity to gain new knowledge and wisdom.

7. Dating with no vision. You’re confusing your heart, and you’re hurting the hearts of others.

8. Demanding respect before you’ve earned it. Don’t get prideful. Learn to scrub the floors before you ask to manage the building. Don’t let self entitlement get the best of you.

9. Waiting until the last minute to do things. Stop procrastinating! Teach yourself diligence in all circumstances. Not only will this help you in your day-to-day life, but it will always help you set yourself up for the future.

10. Getting in arguments over social media. Nobody wants to see your drama on their news feed. Keep it to yourself and the people involved. Handle each situation in a mature and honorable manner.

11. Blaming others for your own mistakes. Drop your pride. Accept your failures. Learn from your mistakes. You will learn a lot from the process.

12. Relying on your mother and father to constantly bail you out of trouble. Learn to take care of yourself instead of always relying on your mother and father. They aren’t always going to be around to help you.

13. Calling off work for no reason. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by calling off. Learn to be responsible, and value that job someone else in the world wishes they had.

14. Ignoring wisdom from people who are older than you. You don’t know everything. Take time to learn from people who having been living longer than you.

15. Thinking minimum wage is worse than no job at all. Don’t believe the lie that money is everything. Any job is a good start. Give your full attention to any job, no matter the pay.

16. Pretending like you didn’t know any better. Purposeful ignorance will only get you so far. Own up to your mistakes and take each failure as an opportunity to learn.

17. Using the excuse, “I’m too young.” You’re never too young. There is always room for you to succeed when hope is on your side. Have faith in yourself and the gifts God has given you.

18. Not planning for the future. Be diligent and plan for the future. Give yourself some goals, dreams and future aspirations. Give yourself something to wake up for in the morning.

19. Giving up before you start. Stop making excuses! Excuses won’t get you anywhere! Better to try and fail than to regret never trying at all. At least you will learn something.

20. Being passive. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll eventually fall for anything.

Image found here.

Image

measuring sticks

First things first, my blog was hacked yesterday! For those of you who received an email about a new blog post on Monday and read a blog post about gambling, THAT WASN’T ME. I was so frustrated and annoyed about what happened but can assure you it won’t happen again. Always a good reminder to change passwords often!

Second up: This blog post from the always inspiring and right-on Ann Voskamp was such a great reminder. It’s something I’ve definitely struggled with as a girl – comparing myself to other people’s jobs, bodies, families, closets, relationships.  This post was an excellent and often much needed reminder that instead of comparing ourselves to other people, we will live better, happier, healthier and joy-filled lives when we empower them instead. Here’s my favorite excerpts from her full post below.


“There will always be people who see everything in the world as a measuring stick of their worthiness. If your life looks like a mess – to them — they whip out a measuring stick and feel confident of their own worthiness. If your life looks like a monument – to them — they whip out a measuring stick – and start cutting you down for their own empowerment.

Measuring sticks always become weapons.

I want to tell her, and every woman browsing through a fashion magazine, standing on a scale, scrolling through Pinterest, clicking through blogs, looking in a mirror: Every yardstick always becomes a bully stick. Pick up a yardstick to measure your life against anyone else’s and you’ve just picked up a stick and beaten up your own soul.

Measuring sticks always become weapons. Of Self-Harm.

Comparison is a thug that robs your joy. But it’s even more than that — Comparison makes you a thug who beats down somebody – or your soul.

Scales always lie. They don’t make a scale that ever told the truth about value, about worth, about significance.

And the thing about measuring sticks, girl? Measuring sticks try to rank some people as big and some people as small — but we aren’t sizes. We are souls. There are no better people or worse people — there are only God-made souls. There is no point trying to size people up, no point trying to compare – because souls defy measuring.

You can’t measure souls.

I whisper it to her like a heart’s battle cry, like it could rally a generation of daughters and women and sisters:

Girls rival each other. Women revive each other.
Girls empale each other. Women empower each other.
Girls compare each other. Women champion each other.”

Image

20 Things Every Twentysomething Should Know How to Do

Happy Monday lovelies! Check out this awesome list of 20 things every twentysomething should know how to do that I found on RELEVANT Magazine. The article made me pleasantly happy to realize I’m slowly but surely checking most of these off my list. My favorites? #1 {I prefer a simple breakfast of eggs over easy with French Toast or an english muffin}, #3 {talking to my grandparents is one of my favorite things to do}, #6 {learning to turn off my cell phone is a work in progress!}, #14 {sleep! more sleep!} and #19 {life is not an emergency. slow down.}.

Enjoy! xo

1. Make a Great Breakfast

Ideally, you should be able to craft a great meal for any occasion, but this is the most important meal of the day and so, it’s the one you should have down. Use real butter, large eggs, fresh mushrooms, cheese, whatever, but know the ins and outs and invite a lot of people over to eat it with you regularly.

2. Argue Kindly
An increasingly rare trait, but you’ll be better for it. Learn how to have your own opinions (and make sure they’re actually yours—not just something you “heard somewhere”) and how to put them firmly and politely, in a way that invites spirited conversation. It’s a rare and wonderful thing.

3. Hold a Conversation With Someone of Any Age
Whether the person you’re talking to is eight or 80, you should be able to hold a meaningful, intentional conversation with them. Remember to ask a lot of questions, be more interested in who they are than in who you are, and strive to make their day.

4. Parallel Park
Nothing menial about it, and not nearly as hard as it looks. Practice a little. Become an expert. Dazzle your friends.

5. Defend Your Media Choices
Whether you like Kendrick, Kings of Leon or Ke$ha, you should be able to articulate why. The media we consume affects us, and you should be able to explain to yourself why you’re listening, watching and reading the things that you are.

6. Limit Your Online Life
This cannot be over-emphasized. The inability to manage an online presence has toppled promising careers and made fools out of otherwise competent individuals. You should have a good grip on how often you use social media and what you’re using it for. If you find most of your free time spent on the Internet, it’s time to make some choices. If you’re checking your phone at every awkward pause, delete that Facebook app.

7. Approach a Stranger
Whether it’s for directions, a favor or even just to pass the time on an airplane, knowing how to strike up a conversation out of the blue is a marvelous skill. Ask them questions (don’t lead with information about yourself), be approachable (not aggressive) and look for clues that they’d rather be left alone.

8. Stand Up for Yourself
Whether it’s your boss shooting down an idea before you’ve explained it or a guy shouting rude comments as you’re walking by, you should know how to keep from getting walked over.

9. Say “I Was Wrong”
A relationship squabble. A professional tiff. A theological debate. Whatever it is, you should always be looking for where you might have messed up. “I was wrong” is a magical little sentence that diffuses conflict and brings peace to any situation. You should have it at the top of your go-to phrases.

10. Brew a Great Cup of Coffee or Tea
Look. Once and for all, turning on the coffeemaker and brewing a pot of coffee is totally fine. But you should also be aware how to make a perfect cup of coffee or tea. For yourself. For your friends. Do a little reading. Perfect your technique. It’s a skill you’ll be glad you have forever.

11. Tip Generously
What’s just an extra buck or two to you can completely make your server’s day. Make it a habit to tip generously and, if you’re really feeling daring, write a brief thank you note on your check.

12. Maintain a Mentor
Your twenties are a great time to invest in a mentor. Find someone you want to be like—be it your pastor, a friend or even a peer—and commit to meeting with them regularly. It takes a little humility and a lot of dedication, but there is no ceiling to the value it will add to your life.

13. Bite Your Tongue
Know how to pick your battles. It’s OK for you to be right without getting everyone to admit you’re right. It’s OK for you to be offended by something without everyone knowing you’re offended. Understand when you should go to bat for what you’re thinking and when you can let it go.

14. Stay Well Rested
Late nights will come (if you’ve got kids, they’ll come pretty frequently) but our generation has forgotten the value in a good night’s sleep. Push yourself to go to bed earlier. Utilize your downtime wisely. Resting is just as important as being productive. In fact, you’ll be more productive if you are resting well and often.

15. Respond to Criticism
Defending yourself against criticism is easy. Graciously accepting it is harder, but the improvements it can make to your life and work are wild. Remember that criticism usually isn’t meant to be a personal attack and, if you can learn to take it in the spirit it’s offered, people will have fewer things to criticize you about in the future.

16. Write a Cover Letter
Filling out an application is a pretty simple process but, in all likelihood, the job you really want is going to take more than a list of references and previous employers. Cover letters require some effort, but it can be the difference between “don’t call us, we’ll call you” and “when can you start?”

17. Be Alone
The Millennial generation prizes community, which is very good, but it tends to come at the cost of fearing loneliness. The truth is, being alone can do you a lot of good. Be able to sit quietly—reading, writing, praying or just listening to the silence—and use that time to truly evaluate how your spirit is. Loneliness is exercise for your heart. Do it regularly.

18. Recommend a Book, Movie or Album

It’s harder than it sounds. It’s easy to sound like a pretentious snob or a gushing fan when you’re telling someone to check out something you love. Be able to explain not only why you love something, but why you think someone else would love it.

19. Prioritize the Important Over the Urgent
There are two types of demands on your life. The first and easiest to focus on are the urgent: paying your rent, getting ahead in work, etc. The second and much harder to tackle are the important: your spiritual life, your relationship with your family and looking after the health of your soul. Know the difference between what’s urgent and what’s important, and know which one matters more.

20. Hold on to a Good Friend
There’s going to be a lot of transition in your twenties as both you and your friends float from job to job and location to location. You’ll have to say a lot of good bye’s in the midst of it all, but you should know when you’ve found the rare friend who you don’t want to lose, and you should be able to prioritize staying in touch with them beyond the occasional text message.

{Photo by Geoff Duncan}