#SelfCareSunday: Top 10 Lessons Learned From #10YearChallenge

The #10yearchallenge served as the inspiration for my self-care Sunday article. I figured that I would participate too, with a twist.  When I looked back at the images from the past, it stirred up good and difficult memories.  What surprised me was the difference in how I looked.  Not so much physically, but internally.  I could literally see my joy and confidence radiating from me.

I’m here to tell you that the past ten years haven’t been easy.  Quite the opposite. During this time period, I worked full-time, went to night school for my MBA at Tennessee State University, and was a single mom to my beautiful daughter.

In spite of the challenges, I came out on top!  Insert happy dance!!!  I graduated from business school with a masters degree, my daughter graduated from high school with honors, and I still haven’t loss my ability to love again. That last one took a lot of work, tears, prayer, meditation and a shift in my spiritual practice.  Heartbreak can make you doubt everyone that approaches you, if you let it. That’s for another article.  Okay, back on task.

Below are the top ten lessons I learned over the past decade.  It may sound crazy, but I wouldn’t trade those lessons.  It made me who I am today.

It forced me to develop the ability to recognize what’s working (for me), what I need to release (isn’t for my highest good) and make peace with the outcome.

  1. Trust the process.  It can be frustrating and painful…nevertheless, it can also be a beautiful transformation.  Planting your seeds and tending to them is hard work.  But you will eventually see the signs that it’s developing.  Next thing you know,  it will be ‘harvest season’ and you will look back at what you accomplished with a testimony!  Remember, you don’t pick the fruit the same day you plant the seed.
  2. Don’t look outside of yourself for fulfillment. Looking for someone or something to make you feel complete is setting yourself up for disappointment.  It’s not a good idea to put the control of your sense of completion in another person, place or thing.  You are complete in yourself!  You are whole…just as you are…in this very moment.
  3. Listen to your instincts (aka ‘trust your gut’).  I could have saved myself so much time, energy and resources, if I would have done this!  Argh!  You live and learn.  That inner knowing, that small voice in your head that says… ‘nah, sis…that’s not the right move’ is real!  I honor that inner wisdom so much more now.
  4. Don’t be rigid with your plan. It’s important to be flexible.  Not everything is going to go exactly as you laid it out.  Don’t force something that doesn’t feel right for the sake of hitting your so-called ‘timeline.’  I now believe in ‘divine timing.’ A detour can be a blessing in disguise.
  5. Recognize the cycles so you don’t repeat the pattern.  Use the wisdom from prior situations to inform your future decisions.  Like the old saying goes, ‘When you know better, do better!’
  6. Know when to ask for help.  Many hands make small work.  So if you are over your head on something, ask for help, advice, support, a hug…whatever you need to keep you going.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  Contrary to popular belief, it’s smart to leverage your network, tribe and colleagues.
  7. Know your worth. Recognize your potential and go after what makes your heart sing!  Manifest that sh*t! If you don’t truly see the value in yourself or your dreams, no one else will or can do that for you.
  8. Don’t be your own worst enemy. Be gentle with yourself.  It’s natural to make mistakes (learn lessons), because we are human. It’s easy to start having self-doubt, anxiety, and feeling in adequate, if you don’t succeed the first time.  However, don’t get stuck or use it as an excuse.  See lesson 5 and 6. If you expect the worst, that’s what type of energy you will attract.  Simply the law of attraction in practice.  So keep your vibration high. #PositiveVibes
  9. Learn how to set boundaries.  This is an important one for me because I tend to juggle a lot, so the only way to not feel overwhelmed and stressed out is to set parameters with people. And it’s okay to stop and take a moment to recenter.  If they respect you, they should also respect what you need in order to operate at your best.
  10. Embrace change. In life, things aren’t supposed to always stay the same, just like the seasons.  If it did, everything would be stagnant and nothing could grow and evolve from that environment. Yes, our comfort zone feels good, but if you stay there too long, you will hinder yourself from living life fully.  It’s good to allow for room transformation.  Successes and setbacks can both teach you something.  Acknowledge your fears, but do it anyway.

If you had to learn these lessons too, you aren’t alone my friend!  Life is a journey, meant to be lived.  Go confidently. Do what makes you smile, smell the roses, have fun and enjoy the ride!  Don’t be afraid to step into your power.  So that you feel like you made the best use of the time you have.

What experiences do you want to create this next decade?  The wonderful part is that you are the one that gets to determine it, in your own unique and beautiful way!  Blessings!