Unbelievable. This is the word that best represents my experience in 2011. I spent some time this weekend reading through my gratitude journal and reminiscing over all the incredible things that have happened to me this year. I won’t bore you with the details; but, all I can say is God has truly blessed me! It has been a year with more ups than downs because I truly took time to learn and embrace the following eleven lessons. Yes, there are some obvious ones; but, those can often time prove to be the most difficult:
1. Things happen for a reason. I have been in some situations that I wanted to work out so badly and I was extremely disappointed when they did not. However, after some time had passed, I realized that these were the best things I never had.
2. The things you fear could be a blessing in disguise. I’m big on making plans. I’m so bad that I even have back up plans for my contingency plans! Some of the things I feared did happen. Guess what? I didn’t drown. My world didn’t come crashing down. In fact, having my fears manifest themselves demonstrated that I am a lot tougher than what I thought. I am able to handle whatever life throws at me.
3. Control your reaction (I am still struggling with this one…). Let’s face it; life is full of people that are clearly a couple fries short of a Happy Meal. Life is too short. I refuse to allow anyone or anything to steal my joy.
4. Stay positive! Regardless of the situation, do not allow your circumstances to dictate your response. Yes, I realize there will be times when this will be easier said than done, but focus on the fact that it can be done. You have to see yourself as a success before it can manifest.
5. Create your own opportunities. If you don’t invest in yourself you can’t expect others to do so. There are many times in my life where this was my only option. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s a price worth paying.
6. Get rid of the baggage. One of my favorite quotes is, “You can’t take everyone with you on your journey to success.” In other words, you must wisely choose those who you wish to accompany you on your journey. One of the best ways to determine who to take on your journey is to spend some time alone. Being by yourself can provide you with the clarity you need to get rid of people who have proven to be distractions. No one said this is going to be easy, but if you continue to allow people who are a waste of space in your life you’re not going to have room for those who are supposed to be there.
7. Be flexible. Again, I love to plan; but, life can sometimes get in the way. Some of the best things that have happened to me were complete surprises.
8. Know when to say ‘no’. People (mainly, the incomplete Happy Meals) will try to coerce you into doing things that you have no desire to do. It’s up to you to acknowledge your limitations. Are there times when this is a good thing? Of course! However, if it is causing you unnecessary stress or serious discomfort, then don’t bother. Don’t let people coerce or guilt you into doing something that often times they would not do.
9. Be consistent. Anything worth having in life is going to require a commitment.
10. Talk is cheap! Nothing annoys me more than encountering people (think about our incomplete Happy Meals) who go out of their way to say that they aren’t trying to do XYZ, but their demeanor proves otherwise. I am an actions speak louder than words kind of girl. The best way to persuade me is to demonstrate that you practice what you preach. If you are everything to everyone than you risk being no one. Even if I don’t agree with you, I want to know where you stand because I don’t have room for hypocrites on my journey to success.
11. Unplug. We live in a 24/7 society. As a millennial, especially one who works in marketing, I find myself constantly online. If I’m not researching information for work, then I’m often online reading blogs or blogging myself, or chatting with friends. You can only keep up with this schedule for so long before you completely burn out. Therefore, I have been making more of a conscientious effort to truly live in the moment which has proven to be a much more enjoyable alternative to tweeting or updating my status.
Every single lesson that I have discussed has played an integral part in my why 2011 was a good year for me. I plan on continuing my pursuit to master these lessons so 2012 will be even more extraordinary. What lessons have you learned this year? What do you intend to do differently in 2012?