We didn’t ask for it and it hasn't been comfortable, but doesn’t it feel like we’ve each been stirred up in ways we really needed this year? Everyone you talk to has a 2020 story. For me, it's been a season of shocking polarity, filled with blissful moments, devastating ones and everything in between. Never has there been a season with a more concentrated series of challenges and events that pushed me to my edge. I'm not the type to take a blow passively and allow it to be all for nothing, so I dug deep to find the lessons underneath. The answer to the "wtf, why?!" question is that sometimes we won't level up and grow until we're forced to walk through the darkest valleys. Things I already knew to be true were illuminated and affirmed in 2020, and there were some very heavy realizations that surfaced as well.
1. SERVE WITH YOUR STRENGTHS
Serve others, even when (especially when) you feel like you have nothing left. Service will always breathe life into you. Your raw talents are meant to be cultivated and refined so they can be shared. Nothing reenergized me and cleared my mind more effectively this year than teaching, counseling, presenting and just giving back in general.
Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty covers this concept beautifully and if you're interested in identifying your 5 unique strengths, get a copy of Now, Discover Your Strengths by Don Clifton.
2. CREATIVITY BEGETS CREATIVITY
Nothing metabolizes anxiety about the unknown like creating something tangible in the now. The more you find yourself in a flow state, the more inspiration you'll generate.
Read Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis for all the ins and outs on this.
3. LET IT BE MESSY
It doesn’t all need to be analyzed, fixed & perfected. Perfect is boring anyway. I say this one as more of a mantra because I struggle with this everyday.
I have my sister, Caitlin to thank for this one. Find you a forever person like her, someone who adores the messiest version of you.
4. SHOW UP FULLY, RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE
Gratitude & presence are magic.
I reread Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist for the 2nd time this year and I plan to read it again in 2021. For us Chicago-bred women, this one is an absolute gem.
5. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER
Feeling presentable & polished even at home is always worth the effort. Joggers & messy buns feel luxurious only on Sunday mornings or after a productive day.
This is some straight up Grandma wisdom right here. My very fancy, very impressive Grandmother who is still working full-time into her 80's (she also plays just as hard as she works) taught me this. It's never been more important or meaningful than this year.
6. HANDLE WHAT YOU CAN & UNLOAD THE EXCESS ONTO GOD
"Beautiful girl, you can do hard things"... BUT nowhere in the Bible does it say "God will never give you more than you can handle." Someone made that up as a pep talk or something. He will definitely give you wayyy more than you can handle because He wants to be needed. For someone who prides herself on taking everything on independently, this one has been completely transformative.
It's Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst is such a comforting read when you feel crushed under the weight of something. I also love opening my Jesus Calling devotional every morning.
7. CURATE YOUR CONSUMPTION
Be ruthless about what you allow to penetrate your headspace. If it doesn’t elevate you, it doesn’t deserve your attention.
8. YOU ARE WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL MOST ALIVE
Become hyperaware of what expands you and own it as the real you. Never give another imperfect human or the enemy the authority to define you by any other metric.
Marie Forleo talks about this in her book Everything is Figureoutable
9. MOVEMENT, STILLNESS, SUN, FOOD & CONNECTION ARE MEDICINE
Nothing will elevate your mood and heal you like the above will. Exercise, meditation, being outdoors, cooking and devoting time to family and friends has never been more life-giving than this year.
The Joy of Movement by Kelly McGonical takes a deep dive into the impact of exercise on the body from a scientific perspective. I highly recommend, but prepare to add workout gear to your cart.
10. LOVE HARD
Give everything you have to the people who share their realest, most essential selves with you. They will reciprocate and even when they fail to, you still fill your own tank by loving so freely like that. As for everyone else, love still, but do so with hard boundaries and hold them accountable. Low vibe people will siphon your energy and feed off of your love to exhaustion if you don't.
Brene Brown is the QUEEN on this. Do yourself a favor and read Gifts of Imperfection. While you're at it, Prime a copy of Captivating by Stasi and John Eldredge to understand the difference between how women and men understand and need love. That one had me shook.
11. DON'T ALLOW CIRCUMSTANCE TO SUBDUE YOU
Adjust, take action where you can & let go of what you can’t control. When we felt caged this year, we got creative and found safe ways to break free. Focus on what you CAN do, stop complaining and just execute.
12. IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Your life is the sum of how you choose to build out your days & the small rituals you create.
The One Thing by Gary Keller and The 5am Club by Robin Sharma affirmed this one for me and provided new frameworks for carrying this concept out in a real way.
aaand in the spirit of #12...
and you will find a link to my
7 DAY MORNING RITUAL REFRESH
a free e-guide to help you create an intentional am routine.
download it, print it out & follow it with me starting Friday.
it’s a perfect post-Thanksgiving reset to carry you through a strong finish this season.