MY TOP 20 LESSONS FROM 2015
I haven’t been blogging much this month because all my energy went towards planning the second edition of Supernacular Weekend. It was an amazing retreat with over 30 change-makers. We reflected on our 2015, set goals, shared resources and wisdom, and took action towards our ideal vision of our lives in 2020. Without a doubt, it was one of the most profound and fulfilling community-building experiences of my life.
Now that I have the time, I finally got around to doing my own reflection on 2015. Here are the top 20 lessons I have gathered, organized by areas of my life:
1. Don’t eat more than you need. I used to love going to buffets, and finishing left overs on the table. Now, I’m working on being more mindful when I’m eating, and really enjoying the meal. I’m also practicing eating less, and tuning into my body so that I eat only when I’m actually hungry. Otherwise, early signs of the “uncle belly” are creeping in, and I can’t let myself go quite yet.
2. I need my morning routine. If I don’t meditate, do my breathing exercises, write in my journal, and do my morning gratitude for myself and my life, my entire day doesn’t feel the same. Whereas, when I do my morning routine, the day starts off amazing, and I feel so clear and creative.
3. I am now aware of my stress triggers. I get stressed by too much conflict, not being able to talk it out with someone, too many demands on me at the same time, and not honouring my own voice and instead focusing on other people’s opinions or trying to seek approval. I am working on being better at having hard conversations without reacting or having them escalate, saying no so that I don’t have too many demands from others, and paying attention to my intuition more.
4. I don’t need an excuse to feel good. I can use power poses, daily dance parties, and my body to pump myself up just because I want to feel good and deserve to feel good. Regardless of what others think or how difficult a situation might be, I can always choose to step aside, and change my physiology to change how I feel.
5. Balance my meals and workouts more. From doing a 10 day tracking challenge, I am committing to eat more vegetables and fruits, and drink more water. I also have mainly been active by playing badminton in 2015. I will workout and do more yoga to complement my badminton, and also want to make it a point to get out into nature at least once a week.
6. Leap afraid more often. I’m capable of anything I set my mind to. In 2015, I studied for many months and became a lawyer. I also worked on and created a 30-page book for Supernacular Weekend, and spoke at several conferences. The more things I’ve done, the more I realize that it is just about overcoming our fears, taking small steps towards our goals, and giving ourselves permission to step into our greatness.
7. There are so many people willing to support me. I have an amazing lawyer coach, great friends, supportive family, and an amazing partner who always helps me build amazing initiatives. In 2015, I also was given life coaching training, had several lawyers take me under their wing to mentor me, and continuously have people showing up to guide me towards my vision.
8. I need to grow my money mindset in order to reach my vision. I realized that I have limiting beliefs around money, perhaps from childhood, or perhaps from my involvement with the environmental sector. This year, I am committed to no longer living in scarcity or comparing myself to others. I am now working on shifting to an abundance mindset where I will think about not just getting money for myself, but rather all the things I can do and who I can serve when I have more money. I also realize the value of surrounding myself with people who have this mindset, and the skills and lifestyle I want so I can learn from them.
9. Regularly tracking and budgeting. I have found immense value in tracking my spending, and am going to be doing a weekly financial review to monitor my budget, investments, and spending.
10. Survive the dip. I had a dip in speaking in 2015 because I shifted my attention towards law and writing my exams. I didn’t do much speaking or outreach, but I realized that I must not give up on doing what I love. I might be a lawyer, but I love facilitating, speaking, and hosting retreats like Supernacular Weekend. This year, I want to overcome my fear of rejection, rebrand and evolve my workshops especially the Idea Hatch (formerly the Dream Circle), and stay more resilient in the face of dips and slow periods. I want to make Supernacular Weekend something that happens in multiple cities across the world between November – January (let me know if you want to help), speak or host a workshop once a month, join an Advanced Toastmasters club, speak at global festivals like Camp Good Life Project and continue to write workbooks to share with others.
11. I need to practice self-love daily. I have to watch my inner critic, the voice of fear, and my wounded ego, and not let it cloud my reality or tell my Self limiting thoughts. I’ve improved my ability to discern my true voice from these other voices, but it still takes practice. Instead of trying to understand the negative or reject these voices, I instead am allowing them to come and pass, while instilling a habit of regular affirmations and empowering beliefs.
12. Stop taking things so personally and let go of the need for approval. Instead, I have come up with ways to respond instead of react. I focus on holding space, allowing others to have their opinions, and seeing their hurtful words as a reflection of their perceptions and experiences. I am getting better at taking time to reflect, writing out how I feel, putting myself in their shoes, and loosening the grip the issue has on me through forgiveness and watching how much energy or focus I’m giving to something.
13. Don’t judge what doesn’t meet your expectations. I notice that if I’m criticizing or correcting others, it is only because I’m feeling insecure about myself. It is because I don’t fully accept myself, and need to work on accepting myself more. I am 100% responsible for my words and actions, and can take action to heal myself so I show up better for others. This helps me respond better in situations, let things slide, and reduce my own suffering by changing the meaning I am attaching to situations. It also helps me share my expectations without accusing others, and help build understanding by speaking it out objectively with openness and curiosity.
14. Work on clearing blocks. I notice that sometimes I repeat patterns of thought, words, and actions. This could be being jealous of my partner just because she is with other guys on a night out; when in reality, I’m insecure because of an old wound of someone leaving me for another guy in the past. I am working on forgiving myself for repeating these patterns, letting myself learn new patterns slowly even if it takes a while, and being more forgiving and compassionate towards those who have caused the wounds to me.
15. Do more FATs. I hosted a food crawl called “Food Appreciation Team” (FAT). We meet at one location for appetizers, another for entrees, and a third place for dessert. It is a great way to bring people together to connect, share food, and have fun. I just know I need to do more of them, and want to host one monthly.
16. Write weekly. Writing helps me so much. I feel creative, challenged, and am forced to reflect and think critically. I want to make sure I write more, and keep it up this year. I’m committing to writing every week.
17. Say YES more. Sometimes when I get invited to things, my initial reaction isn’t a YES. Usually, it is a “Um…Let me think about it” or “I’m not sure”. I want to stop being a Maybe person, and say Yes more. I find amazing things happen when I try new things and step outside my comfort zone. In 2015, this has included singing at a local choir where we covered Adele’s song “Hello”, going to the city fair and trying new deep-fried foodie creations, or having lots of adventures on Euro trip with my girlfriend.
18. Travel 1x/month. This could be visiting a new festival across the city, a short day trip, weekend getaway, or a longer trip. I love travelling, and am grateful for the chance to do so through speaking. However, I want to make sure I continue to set an intention and make time to get out of my routine and travel. I love it way too much not to do it, and always love the stories that unfold and people I meet.
19. Live your ideal day and make intentional time to create. Have you ever made a list of the things you do in your typical day, versus the things you would want to do on your ideal day? My ideal day involves my morning routine mentioned above in #2, having a green smoothie, working out or playing sports, spending time with inspiring people, time outdoors with a camera, occasional massages, and reading nightly before going to bed. I also have found myself to be highly creative and productive in the mornings, so I like being able to go to a coffee shop to work on my writing, speeches, or program development on a regular basis. In 2016, I’m committed to scheduling these things on a weekly basis, and have already put things like “meet one inspiring person this week” into my weekly schedule on Mondays. Scheduling what I love has really helped make it happen.
20. Make responsible choices. As a consumer, I’m getting tired of hearing the doom and gloom of climate change, and it saddens me to see the ill effects and displacement of people already taking place. In 2016, I want to make one change a month to improve the sustainability of my lifestyle and reduce my eco-footprint. One such change I want to make this month is buying reusable Tupperware and take-out containers so that I no longer use Styrofoam.
So that winds down my 20 lessons of 2015. What were your highs, lows, and what you learned? What were your take aways and what do you want to improve in 2016?