Here’s the wisdom I’ll be taking forward into the new year
Whew, #Firestarters. After a busy year, things are finally slowing down. That gives a chance to look back on everything that happened in 2022: our blessings and wins, the things we wanted to do but didn’t get a moment to, the ways that we’ve grown. This year, I’ve really become closer to myself. I spent more time in self-reflection in 2022 than I have in the last 20 years. So I wanted to use this article to look back on the lessons of the past year. This is my way of holding myself accountable to continuing this path in 2023. But I also want to inspire you to do the very thing that is on your mind or heart for 2023 but you are afraid to do.
Lesson 1: You can’t be everything to everyone else and nothing to yourself
I began to understand this lesson right after I had a major concussion in 2019. That was a pretty clear sign that the universe was slowing me down so that I could recalibrate my thinking and realign my life.
It’s taken me a full three years to really understand how I needed to transform myself from within. I found that my calendar was filled with nonprofit board meetings, coffee chats with people who wanted me to mentor them and lots of solving problems for others. But there was no free time for myself. Sure, I had my blowouts or mani/pedis on the weekend. But I never seemed to go within and recharge because I found myself chatting away at the salon. My “me time” was not really about me.
Once I fully embraced the idea that a “no” to someone else meant a “yes” for me, I began to rethink how I use my time and what was right for me. And that brings us to Lesson 2 …
Lesson 2: The things you value most should have the most value on your calendar
Once I understood that I couldn’t be everything to everyone else and nothing to myself, then I had to take a really hard look at what was on my calendar. How was I using my time? And did the way I used my time benefit my head, my heart and my wildest dreams?
In short, nope, it didn’t. I began to see that everything on my calendar was tied to how I got my paycheck and my family and friends’ expectations of me. On the other hand, nothing was about me showing up for myself.
I knew I needed a big change. So I just cleared my calendar out and started from scratch — right down to (gulp) my girls’ trips. I realized that while these trips were fun, they were often filled with nonstop activities. Rest wasn’t a priority. I may have been filling my suitcase with souvenirs (Who doesn’t love a sale, right?), but I wasn’t filling my tank.
I now prioritize the things that fuel my fire and allow me to be my best. That might mean skipping a nightcap during a work trip, or it might mean not attending a holiday party. It might also mean that I go to an event sans makeup or run errands in my gym clothes to make more time for me. I’m also saying yes to more time with friends and family who just let me be me and give me the space to be still.
When you think about how you prioritize your time, self-care isn’t the only priority, of course. You also want to align your time with the legacy that you want to leave. Right now, I want to be all in when it comes to helping female leaders run for office. I’m dedicating most of my volunteer time to boards that promote that goal or boards that allow people to see how they can shape their worlds (including boards through my alma maters, LSU and UPenn).
Lesson 3: Don’t be afraid to spend time by yourself
In 2022, I took my first solo vacation. Sure, I travel all over the world for work or fellowships by myself. But I always know there’s going to be someone waiting for me. But when you take a solo vacation, you set the rules of the day. You decide what you’re going to eat and when. There’s just something fun in figuring that out and seeing where the day will take you. During my “soulcation,” I found myself just walking down the street in Beverly Hills. I’d only planned to get coffee. But, four hours later, I had met some cool people, read and soaked up the sun. I realized that my inner child just wants to wander and play. And that is the opposite of all the planning I usually do to make my days efficient.
Ready for Your Great Me-Set?
As we wrap up 2022, I can’t wait to see where we’ll go and what we’ll learn in the new year. Here are a few more resources that I hope will inspire you.
- One of my favorite Spotify playlists. There’s nothing like dancing to Taylor Swift at 2 a.m. with a friend while having cold pizza to remind you what it feels like to be alive.
- I use this app to guide me through meditation when my mind is too busy and racing for me to lead myself.
- My favorite calendar, so I can prioritize the things that have the most meaning for me.
Everything we’ve talked about today is part of what I call The Great Me-Set. My Me-Set is likely the greatest gift that I’ve given to myself. To learn more about experiencing your own Me-Set, I hope that you’ll listen to my recent TEDx Talk and begin to think about how you might live with enlightenment and a joyful heart.—
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