Just as important as beginning is looking back and seeing what you've learned. I recently started doing that at the end of each day. Here are 10 important things I've learned looking back on this month:
1. Morning Pages
Morning Pages have been one of the best things I've rediscovered. From Julia Cameron's books, The Artist's Way or The Vein of Gold. It's to write 3 full pages (8.5 x 11") every morning. It's been the very first thing I do in the morning, usually with a glass of cold water and lemon. It usually goes by very quickly now and I'm often surprised by the new thoughts or ideas that come out. It helps while I'm waking up out of my morning haze (instead of caffeine) and it's been really nice to have that space to myself.
2. Creativity & Making Things
I love being creative and making things. Like today since I couldn't find a simple notepad, I thought, no problem I'm going to make a notepad! Not so much out of respect for the environment, but more from my new decluttering philosophy and not wanting to accumulate more stuff when I have so much stuff. So I thought, what do I have that I can use? I have tons of cardboard; I found a few small envelopes that had been sealed shut, and some pretty string (to tie it all together). I'm so excited to see how it turns out! I started bullet journaling and I'm excited to try scrapbooking to document and appreciate all the daily little things. Things I once felt were frivolous or a waste of time I'm now excited to get to play with.
3. Critical thinking - I don't know how to do it
I have learned that I do not know how to critically think anymore. Or maybe I never did. I don't know. All I know is when I try to sit and think strategically, long term, big vision about my business (where do I want it to be in 5 years, for example) I come up blank, uncertain, confused. I ended up checking out the book Creative Thinking for Dummies from the library (we love ebooks!) and am really excited to get more hands on with my grey matter and see what's what. Also I will add, some people say using the left side of your brain versus your right, I guess my last job was all about using one side and the so it left the other side languishing. I want to perk it up again and use ALL of my brain, not just 1% of it. Imagination is absolutely necessary for creativity and entrepreneurship. Which leads to my next lesson:
4. Life doesn't need to be hard
A smart woman once told me that following your pleasure, or following your YES is a great thing to do. I always thought the opposite. I was taught: no pain, no gain; endure, endure, endure; you just have to work hard at things. At life. That means you're a good person. Because you're TOUGH. Not WEAK (i.e. lame, pathetic, not a hard worker, not trying hard enough). (This is also related closely to the Protestant work ethic that is ingrained in American culture.) Even with my business, I'm starting to learn that following your YES, what feels good, what you're excited about is actually good for business. (Will customers want to buy from you if they can tell you don't love what you're doing?)
5. I Love Being Surrounded By Greenery
I have realized that I missed nature SO MUCH. Everyday I love it more and more. I love the beautiful 4 foot tall flowering plant outside our bedroom window and the morning glory ivy that is weaving its way around each cactus branch. I love seeing the rolling green hills and the cliffs that are right next to us as we speed down the winding road. The sunset that always seems to want to come out and say hi to us. It makes me feel so grateful to be alive to see this and experience it. It makes me feel vulnerable and reassured.
6. I can be a bit more patient
Especially with the ones I love. Why is it that our worst comes out at the ones we love the most? I've learned it's because we feel safe and we are trying to get a hand in helping dissolve some of those negative feelings. You ever feel like you're going around in circles and just can't get out of that cycle? Like that. In moments when I just want to lash out, spew my impatience, I've decided to try and stop, rein it in, and choose to go down another path instead. It's nice to notice that we have a choice; you just need to remember to pause in that moment and look for it.
7. Listening to people--or your partner especially -- can be a good thing
I generally pride myself on being a good listener. A great listener in fact. I mean, I've been part of a peer counseling listening group for like half my life. C'mon now. But what I realized this week was that, just because I was technically a good listener, if I didn't actually practice it with the person right here in front of me at home, then who cares? So what, he would want to talk about the same things over and over? Don't we all think, wonder, worry, about the same things over and over? Don't I? Just as a little patience can go a long way, a little listening can go a long way too. And who knew, I would enjoy it so much! Sometimes you have to snap yourself out of -- here we go again *eyeroll* -- and see it as, let me use this as a new opportunity to learn more about my amazing fascinating, loving partner, and.. voila! A lovely time all around. You can even learn new things about this person you've been with 'forever.'
8. I like pampering myself; and that's OK
I am really not the typical Asian. I'm tall, I like being dark, I don't wear makeup and don't put 10 products on my face before leaving the house. (Minor stereotype). But this month I found myself on youtube watching 'Asian minimal makeup morning routine' videos and actually... LOVING them. It was like a chemistry experiment. All these fascinating new products and ingredients I never dabbled in before. (I grew up with my mom who is also equally non-Asian like, with no makeup, and extremely minimal products.) And instead of feeling like oh this is ridiculous and frivolous-- I thought it would be fun to pamper myself! Not with 10 products, but maybe 3. I deserve to buy products outside of CVS pharmacies. How exciting! As I'm getting older, I realized it's fun to pamper oneself.
9. Start acting like the amazing business owner that I am 5 years from now Now
Tara Gentile has awesome courses on Creative Live. I love her quote (this is a generalization): Imagine your thriving, successful business 5 years from now. You are the owner of that amazing business. That means you are also the owner of this beginning business now. Own it. Claim it. Act like that 5 year old successful business owner NOW. Relaxing and creativity is all well and fine but I also want to step up and really believe in myself, that I CAN create something meaningful to women, so I need to start acting that way. Thanks Tara!!
10. Investing in myself is a worthwhile endeavor that includes my biz and my mental emotional health
This has been a big one for me. By that, I mean difficult. Money was not something I learned a lot about growing up. The main message I got was money was tight, and most things you wanted were not important enough or really necessary to spend money on. It took me a while to wake up to what $10 or $100 or $1000 meant. Is that expensive for X? It all depends. On how you were raised, how much money you make, what your expectations are, what is important to you, what you feel you deserve. A lot of emotional stuff that doesn't have anything to do with cold hard cash! (Check out Barbara Stanny and her awesome wisdom if you want to learn more.) And so, it was a big step for me to reach into my pocket and pay for a business coach, or pay for a supportive women's community that would help me grow as a woman, and also a business owner.
Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, has shown me that you need to be fierce and diplomatic to get ahead. Whether it's in the workplace or in your own business. The work itself may be different (the amount of risk and support sure is), but your mental foundation is very similar. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else does. You need to believe in yourself that you can create something amazing, before you actually do it. That has taken me a long time to understand. "Like believing I can fly... but I've never flown before! How do I do that??" It takes a certain amount of gumption, guts and a little arrogance really. Women are still generally encouraged to be more humble and modest; we could use some of the chutzpah and easy confidence, that is generally doled out to boys.
As you look towards October, think of it as a new beginning with all its hopes and wishes. What do you hope to achieve? What do you wish or desire? Take the time to ponder. Because YOU are worth it.
** As always, I'd love to hear your ideas/thoughts in the comments below! And if you enjoyed the article, remember to share with a friend or on social media. **
Have you been going through any changes or transition lately? What have you learned from it? What changes or transition would you like to go through by the end of this year?