5 Life Changing Things I Learned in 2017: A Personal Development Story
2017 was a truly transformational year for me. Years from now, I’ll probably look back on 2017 and deem it a pivotal year that changed the trajectory of my life and launched me on my personal development journey, or something dramatic like that. But seriously, in 2017 I truly learned what I am made of. Persistence. Humility. Discipline. Hard work.
I started the year unhappy in my job. I’d spent the last ten plus years building a career in advertising, yet after having started a business that I had abandoned, honestly for more money and a cool title, I found myself at a place where my career felt like nothing more than a job. Everyday was the same, and from 9 AM - 5 PM, it was miserable. I was bringing the dissatisfaction home to my husband and kids, but I knew that was not how I wanted to live my life. I made a decision to pursue my true calling and passion. To build my business from scratch and give myself and others a chance to truly make an impact in this world.
What’s interesting is that when I look back on the first few months of 2017 I can recreate the feelings of dissatisfaction, however the fear associated with making a decision to change my circumstances is hard to draw up. I know it was there, yet the need to make a change was so much more prevalent and necessary that the fear pales in comparison. I don’t know if 2017 has been my best year yet, but it certainly has been the most necessary.
Here are 5 things I learned in 2017 that I will probably keep with me for the rest of my life. I think they may be useful to you as well:
1. Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life
I know, this is pretty cliche, however I cannot overstate the value in this statement. It is so much more than just a statement, it’s (as Oprah would say) what I absolutely know to be true. I have never really made new year resolutions, not for any particular reason, it’s just never been my thing. However for several years, going back to college, I’ve set forth mottos or themes for the calendar year ahead. I’m not sure how or why I started doing this, it just always seemed more appropriate, because really, who keeps their resolutions?... So, last year my motto was “Mind Right. Body Right. Personal Growth.” And let me tell you, I lost 10 lbs, and I’ve implemented a crap load of practices that keep my mind right and create personal growth in my life in a real and tangible way. That decision, that motto or mindset shifted everything about what I actually expected from 2017 and it created a canvas for the awesome things that actually manifested in my life.
2. The Power of Manifestation
Speaking of manifestation… this one actually comes as a shock to me. Not that I didn’t believe in the power of manifestation, I just never really paid attention to it happening in my life. But in 2017, it was so undeniable and so mind blowing! I have at least four examples from last year that I can say happened just because I set an intention and WROTE IT DOWN. Some of these things I literally took no additional action on my part, and one day I looked up and it had come to pass. I need to emphasize how utterly astounded I am with this realization. I am not one of these pie in the sky, woo woo, the Universe is my god type of people (no shade). So, when I say that the realization that just by having a thought and turning that thought into an intention and writing it down signals the Universe to make it happen… mind blown!
3. Podcasts and Audio Books Rock
I have no idea what took me so long to jump on the bandwagon, especially considering I’ve listened to talk radio (mostly sports) for as long as I can remember. I rarely listen to music in the car, but it didn’t occur to me until last year to take an interest in podcasts and audio books. Now, I am HOOKED!!! I can’t imagine life without these little jewels. The ability to gain the knowledge of books, without reading, BRILLIANT! And I love podcasts because they allow me to gain more insight on the human psyche. Human psychology is one of the most interesting topics in the world to me, so listening to people get on their hypothetical soap boxes brings me joy. Not to mention there are many key takeaways and learnings from people's stories.
4. Reading is Fundamental
I know I just discovered the joy of audio books, but they serve only as a supplement to the real thing. Honestly, prior to last year I wasn’t reading as much as I would have liked to or should have been. I would read two, maybe three books a year, yet I wondered why I felt stagnant. However, that all changed last year; one of my proudest accomplishments of last year is reading 14 books. Let me tell you, that whole mindset thing… If I had not been reading, there is no way I would have been able to maintain the mental fortitude it takes to make major changes, such as pursuing entrepreneurship full time. Everything that anyone ever wanted to know can be found in a book, and through careful and diligent study any literate person can learn any craft, vocation or talent (maybe not singing).
5. I Can Do and Be Whatever I Want
It’s crazy how each of these five things kind of lead into the next. Totally not intentional, but that’s exactly what this entire post is about. The purposeful pursuit of excellence will yield undeniable outcomes. This is something I’ve always known. I learned early that with practice and intent I can do and be whatever I want. In high school I tried out for the basketball team… I also played in middle school, but most of the girls had been playing longer than me and took the game more seriously, as I had also been a dancer and a cheerleader. But I wanted to be on the basketball team, so I tried out. I made JV as a freshman. I learned later that the Head/Varsity Coach wanted to put me on the Freshman team, but the JV coach was a family friend and he saw enough in me to have me be on his team (and he was a family friend, lol). I was nowhere near the best girl on the team, but the next year I fully expected to be on varsity, so I started to take basketball more seriously. I practiced more, studied more, I watched more. I was determined to be better. The next year, not only did I make the varsity team, but at the end of the year I won the Most Improved Player Award, and went on to become the captain of the team my Junior and Senior years in high school.
I know that was a long story, but I needed to tell it to articulate a point (and I several more stories like it). The point is, it’s always been in me to work hard for what I value and what I want, but I still did not really embrace and internalize the power within this truth until last year. There is so much power in intentions. My sorority sister said to me yesterday, “Words are containers for power.” What a powerful and life changing thought that is. To truly know, with absolute certainty that one can accomplish whatever he or she puts his mind to. That’s not to say that challenges won’t occur, but it is to say that they won’t stop me, EVER.
So, I guess this was the long way of saying, Happy New Year! I wish you nothing but prosperity and amazingness in 2018.