Lessons Learned, New Beginnings

Lessons Learned Lead to New Beginnings

I remember when I turned 30, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to stress so much anymore on whether or not people approved of me.

I spent most of my life before age 30 twisting myself into knots trying to gain approval, be liked, and stay on the good side of others.

There were times when I stayed silent when I should have spoken up, when I said things I didn’t believe to gain favor, and when I did favors for people who accepted them graciously – or not, and then forgot about it.

There Are No Mistakes, Only Lessons Learned

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Lessons Learned, New BeginningsI don’t hold any resentment towards those people. We were clearly not meant to be bosom buddies; I was the one who was trying too hard to force a friendship or a partnership.

It was a lesson learned. When I turned 30, it magically seemed to go away. The drive to be liked, though still there, was not causing me to hide my real self. My attitude changed to one of “this is who I am, take it or leave it.”

The only people I looked to for input on my attitude and behavior were mentors and trusted friends. I also looked to people in history and current events whom I admired to model myself after.

I wanted to be adventurous like Helen Keller, forgiving like Anne Frank, loving like Mother Teresa, organized and great at relationship-building like my mentor. I may not have lived up to their standards yet, but what a difference it made to shift my focus to these figures.

Old “friends” shifted out of my life and new wonderful friends shifted in. I had more success at work and I entered a period of renewed energy and zest for life.

As other women in my life neared 30 I heard them talk about the same struggle.

Turning 30 for me came to symbolize a time to assess who you were surrounding yourself with and make changes as necessary. Those who could cut cords and be mindful of who they were giving their time to went on to have similar successes at work and in their personal lives.

Higher Levels of Awareness

As I turn 40, I find my mind focused on a new level of self-awareness. Though I am still focused outward – my very mission in life is to help others discover and enhance their ability to be great leaders – I no longer feel a drive to do that at such a high cost to my own well-being.

Let me explain – maybe you’ll relate to some of this as well.

I go through cycles where I am on top of the world. I am eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, spending time with family and friends, and my business is flowing with me.

I am energetic, I am positive, life is good and I seem to naturally attract people who have great opportunities to offer me. These opportunities have a lot of potential.

I can see the possibilities of what these opportunities can become years down the road. However, I know it’s going to take time and there will be work involved. I am overcome with the excitement of it all and I say “yes!”

Thinking about lessons learnedThe Start of the Downward Spiral

And then the preparation and the work begin. The reality of what I signed up for sets in. This is what it looks like:

My schedule gets tight. It’s getting harder to fit everything in.

I think I’m going to have to skip my meditation this morning so I can send those emails. If I don’t send them before my day starts, it will never get done.

I was going to go for a run – but I haven’t finished tomorrow’s PowerPoint presentation.

Friends and family want to know when I’m coming to visit…

Don’t they know the weekend is when I get the majority of my work done?! It’s the only time during the week when I don’t have meetings, the phone doesn’t ring and my email does not get backed up.

I miss them. A lot.

It’s hard to go visit because the time is so short and I don’t want to leave.

And it Continues…

My home is falling apart. I don’t have the time or energy to fix things as they break.

I know this place is a mess, but I only have time for laundry and grocery shopping.

Now I can’t sleep. I’m so wound up, I can’t get relaxed enough to fall asleep.

I have to be up early tomorrow. If I don’t fall asleep I’m only going to get 6 hours of sleep. Now it’s down to 5. Shit, 4 and a half.

Exhaustion sets in and I finally fall asleep, only to wake up with bleary eyes.

Take a shower, have some coffee and put on your game face. You can do this.

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people cant.”

Blah. Blah. Blah. That’s such bullshit.

When am I going to feel like myself again?

I can feel my patience slipping.

I’m putting on weight.

I’m so tired and out of shape.

Until, one day, the light bulb in my head turns on, and I realize…

ENOUGH is ENOUGH!

At some point during the downward spiral, the light bulb comes on. I realize I’ve over-committed and I renegotiate my commitments. My schedule eases up, I pick up the pieces of my health, my relationships, and my home. Life gets back into a good rhythm.

And then the cycle begins again.

I can’t tell you how many times my coach has asked, “Why are we talking about your calendar again?”

Looking Ahead: My Commitment

As I write this, I am now in recovery mode from one of the worst downward spirals I’ve experienced yet.

The internal drive I had the entire time was, “Once these commitments are done, there are going to be some changes around here!”

I don’t want to sacrifice my well-being any more to have my dreams come to fruition.

Make no mistake – my dreams are going to come true.

But it’s not going to be at my expense. I want to be healthy and well enough to enjoy my life when that time comes.

As I turn 40, I am committing to take care of myself like I would anyone I love.

For my birthday, I commit to nurturing the most important relationship I have in my life; the one I have with myself.

Tell me, what are some of the life lessons you’ve learned and changes you’ve made as a result of hitting a new decade?

 

  • Maritza Parra

    Beautiful, sweet Jodi! Happy, Happy birthday! Enjoy nurturing that relationship and I’ll tell you as I’m well into them – the 40’s are the BEST (so far, that is!!) Sending love!

    • Maritza, thank you for kicking off my birthday! I had a long drive today and enjoyed listening to your podcast in the car. You embody being true to oneself and I see your coming into my life as part of this journey. Thank you for all your blessings!

  • Happy Birthday, Jodi! I can so relate to much of what you shared. Although I did not stress about the milestone of turning 40, that year was my most challenging. I endured my first ever job layoff and my father became suddenly terminally ill. My emotional and physical well being were at their lowest point as my life transformed into a new role as a primary live-in caregiver for my parents.

    Seeking coach training and developing a support network of amazing peers (as yourself) made a huge difference in my life. Launching my own business was another positive transformation in my 40s so I could have the freedom to determine my own path and do work I love.

    It is important to note that during these last several years my emotions feel like a roller coaster ride of twists, turns, ups, downs, and loops. The journey of success of an entrepreneur is a marathon and not a sprint. We need to pace ourselves to be in it for the long term. Thank you for your birthday gift to the rest of us with the authenticity of your post. Please know that many of us our here if you need support through the spiral of emotions again.

    May this decade bring the self-nurturing and all the joy that you deserve!

    Happy Birthday!
    Michael

    • Michael, thank you for sharing your experience of 40. I do consider you part of my tribe and look forward to seeing you in person once again. Thank you for making my birthday so special.

  • FireStarters

    Here’s to wishing your year ahead continues to be filled with those positive words and ways you generously shared here Jodi. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Thank you, Dean! Having the support of a community and your positive guidance will make a huge difference!

  • Anna Fairs

    Great post and having recently turned 40 (it’s a year ago but hey, it’s feels like yesterday) i can relate to this massively. I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt recently is that life is short. I’m trying to not be so hard on myself and I too need to take care of myself more 🙂 Thanks for reminding me!!

    • Anna, I’ve heard the 40s are a great place to be. I’m looking forward to it. All new habits and mindsets take some practice before they click into place. We’ll take this journey together.

  • Karen Osburn

    Oh my goodness, Jodi. I feel like you’re inside my brain and my heart with this post. Truly. Thank you for helping me see that I’m not the only one with these challenges. Bullshit indeed to run yourself into the ground to be an entrepreneur. I too, feel like I’m barely coming out of a downward spiral of not caring enough for me, my kids, my home and my well-being for the sake of chasing ‘success’. Not sure where the middle ground falls in all this, but I’ll do my best to get back there again. Thank you for this today-it really meant a lot 🙂

    • Karen, thank you for saying that! It makes me feel better as well to know I’m not alone. I know there is a middle ground but it takes seeing the big picture and not being pressured to go with the crowd – much like your latest post on raising children!