This morning's sunrise over Miami Beach. I turn 31 today. Wow. I don't feel 31. Most people don't believe I'm 31. But, it's a true story! Over the past few years, (actually, more applicably in the past few months) I've learned a few things, that I know are going to make my 31st year a fantastic one.
1. Are you comfortable with change? Because it's going to happen anyway. Resisting it, complaining about it, wishing for "the way things were" isn't going to make it so. Change is coming. You can resist, struggle and be unhappy. Or, you can live in a state of acceptance and learn to go with the flow.
2. Are you doing what you want to do with your life? Don't answer this question until you are 28. Actually, don't make any life decisions until you are 28. You don't really know who you are until then anyway. A very wise woman told me that. It takes a few years out of school and living life to really understand who you are, and what you want to do in the world. Don't lock yourself in too early (see point #1). Don't be afraid to explore and ask more questions. And don't settle. There is something that lights you up. Find a way to do that. Even if you can't do it full-time, include it in your life. Your fulfillment will be a joy to you and bring the same to people around you. What in your life brings you the most joy? Your kids? Your dog? Your job? Being able to sit quietly alone? Exercising? It's different for everyone, but you need to know what yours is. So in anxious moments, you can turn to it.
3. Are you aware of the things in your life that are holding you back? Some of you read #2 and went, "No, but I can't because…I don't have money, I have kids, I'm too busy, other people are counting on me, etc." Is that the real reason? I can diffuse most of those objections, and the reason I can is that they are not the real reason. Your reason sits deeper. Usually called anxiety. Learn to acknowledge it and release it. Anxiety is a terrible reason to do, or not do something. Justine Musk (who actually inspired this post, thank you dear!) says "The decisions we make out of fear are the decisions we regret."
4. Do you know where tension and anxiety live in your body? Just read those words again and feel where it hits your body. Your shoulders? Stomach? Chest? Mine lives in my neck and shoulders. When I'm stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, worried, my shoulders get tight, my neck shrinks, and I feel like I can't speak. When I feel that, I know it's those negative feelings that are not, in any way, going to serve me in decision-making or action-taking. (see point #3) Knowing how to physically identify these feelings is a great way to learn how to dissipate them. I roll my shoulders, stretch my neck and take a deep breath. The physical release often leads to an emotional release.
5. Where does your energy come from? There are a variety of factors with this, although most people rely on one- caffeine. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you fueling your body with complete nutrition? These ones people remember. (They don't always do, but they remember.) But what about the purer energy that comes from your internal state? Are you releasing anxiety and tension, so it doesn't weigh you down and force your body into a state of stress? Are you involved with something that brings you joy and feeds you emotionally? Have you surrounded yourself with people who have that clean energy state- no anxiety, filled with joy, living a healthy life? In the past 2 years, I've let go of a lot of relationships and people that were not serving me in that way. Yes, it's very painful at the time. But in the long run, much better. Surround yourself with people who inspire you.
6. What do you know? We've learned lessons in our lives. Have you really learned them, internalized them, made them part of you? Everything you've done, been, seen, or experienced has formed you into this person today. What do you know that you know? Are you being that person who knows that, every day? For example, I know that I know that every work experience in my life has lead me to creating the businesses that I have- I taught piano, worked retail, sold insurance, directed a nonprofit, wrote grants, was a professional actor and dancer, taught theatre and dance to all age groups. Clearly, those jobs, and skills from them, have brought me here. I KNOW that. If I can BE that, I will avoid the anxiety of "What if it doesn't work out?", "What do I do now?", "Is this really right?" You only KNOW it if you can LIVE it.
7. Can you see the big picture? If you can answer all 6 questions above you probably can. You can see how the people you surround yourself either move your forward, or keep you where you are. You can see how your life is leading you. You can see how every decision you made has made you who you, and each one you make now will create your future self. Are you making decisions your future self will be happy to live with? Because that's what you are doing today. Creating yourself. Creating your life.
I'd also like to give a big thank you to Erin Stutland and Jeffery Combs for really being the catalysts for all of the mindset work I've done in the past few months. You are awesome, and I am blessed to have your influences in my life.