Today I am celebrating the big 3-6! I’m one lady who is excited to share her age because I am beyond grateful for each breathe God gives to me and I want to experience as many more breaths as possible! Even though I won’t see much more than an evening of Chucky Cheese with my girls as the festivities this year, every moment of this day has been a celebration as I enjoy a peace I definitely didn’t have this time last year.
Today I really took some time to reflect and realized even though these last few years have been gut wrenching and full of painful lessons, God has grown me tremendously. While I believe each part of my life is an important part of my story, I also believe there are some things that just took me wayyy to long to get. I’ll admit, I’m a little stubborn and there were many lessons I had to learn the hard way and many mountains I had to climb over and over again. While there are many lessons that have finally been learned, I believe it isn’t necessary to do what I did and spend so much time learning them. So today, on my B-Day, I’m going to depart from the typical finance, career and wealth discussions to share 5 lessons that took me wayyy to long to learn. This is your gift on MY birthday!
1. No one is going to save you
My oldest daughter went bonkers for a movie called Cheetah girls that came out circa 2003. In the movie there was a song called Cinderella which included the lyrics:
I don’t want to be like Cinderalla
waitin’ in a dark, cold, dusty cellar
waitin for somebody to come and rescue me…
I remember many years of wallowing in self-pity seemingly losing the battle to depression and anxiety and I used to hope and plead that someone would notice my despair even though I tried desperately to hide it. I finally realized in my like, 30’s!!, that no one was going to live my life for me and I had choice to keep silently suffering and stumbling like I was or put forth the action to do something about it which started with changing my mindset.
Too many young people are waiting in the dark, cold, dusty cellar of their minds, hoping and wishing someone will climb in there and save them. Sorry to say…it won’t happen.
2. Failure can be good as long as you learn.
When I was freshly graduated from college, I wanted so badly to work for the IRS. Like really, really bad. I never got an accounting degree to work a traditional job in corporate America. I always envisioned myself as an accountant for an NFL franchise, on the set of a major motion picture or working for the IRS or FBI as one of those forensic accountants who uncover fraud or something. So…I applied to the IRS several times and on about the 3rd try, they actually called me for an interview. Long story short, I had to fly to New York to interview and didn’t get the job. I took it really hard at first but eventually chalked it up to a blessing in disguise.
As I thought more about this particular failure, I realized I overcame a HUGE fear in the process. I got my butt on a plane. For my entire life, I’d had a crippling, severe fear of planes. Like the thought of boarding made me weak in the knees. However, I was so determined to get a chance at the job, I completely railroaded that fear, got on the plane and headed to New York because I had absolute faith I would get the job. I realized faith is a great antidote for fear and it caused me to completely step OUT of my comfort zone and do something I would have otherwise never done so instead of looking at the experience as a failure I look at it as a lesson in overcoming fears.
I get it. Failure sucks and we hate it. But get this. Failure is a reality of life and if we are determined to learn from them, failures help us grow, learn and become successful. Some of the most successful people have experienced colossal failures but they learned and moved forward. Don’t take it personal, learn, adapt, don’t look for approval from others and grow from each failure.
3. You have to live the consequences of your choices!
So make sure the choices are yours and no one else’s. Oh how this has been one of the hardest lessons to stick! No one can live your life for you and each decision must ultimately be made by you! Low self- esteem, lack of confidence and loneliness caused me to hold other people’s opinions of me in much higher regard than they deserved. It took too long for me to understand the quality of the advice I was taking was quite low and the consequences have lasted for years. Even when I knew better or felt differently, I chose inclusion rather than wisdom.
Making decisions for the approval and on the opinions of others is dangerous. Be careful of the relationships your form and the people you allow to influence you because you are the one who will have to deal with the impact you allowed them to make in your life.
4. Find your gift and USE IT
I’ve always wanted to be a writer but felt I needed to either be published or have some type of outward validation to call myself one. I’d never won any of the writing contest I entered in school or otherwise and I got discouraged and figured the gift I thought I had didn’t exist because no one else saw it but me. So I tucked the desire and gift to write in my back pocket, went to college and majored in accounting since I was naturally good with numbers and ended up in corporate America where I had no business! Now, several years later after a marriage, 4 kids and much more responsibility, I’m finally deciding to use my gift again. Not too late but much harder this time around.
It’s never too late to pursue your passion but if you know what it is from the go, why not pursue it then. When you’re young and mostly void of responsibilities is the best time to passionately pursue that thing you’ve been gifted to do. You have more room to make mistakes and fail forward and while there will be sacrifices, they will be significantly less disruptive to your life.
5. No one can love you more than…GOD
You thought I was going to say yourself, huh? Nope. Even in the most narcissistic society ever, we are so critical of ourselves. More young people than ever are dealing with low self-esteem, no confidence, depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. I’ve dealt with depression for as long as I can remember. I didn’t value ANYTHING about myself and was very sensitive to the opinion of others. Because I had zero value in myself, I let others validate me and give me my worth. I put up and put myself through some pretty crazy stuff trying to hold onto relationships that were toxic. I didn’t love myself because I couldn’t see myself through God’s eyes. I couldn’t even comprehend that he loved me unconditionally.
Success, relationships, makeup, expensive clothes, financial status, making yourself be seen or any of those other things can’t help you love yourself more. You can never love you more than God loves you. A husband, wife, best friend, mother or father can’t love you the way God loves you. His love is unconditional and he desires for us to feel his love. He wants an intimate relationship with you and wants to fill a void in your heart ONLY he can fill. His love is powerful, everlasting and transforming!
36 is going to be a great year!!
Learn Early, Live Wealthy Principles:
-Treat debt like cancer and eradicate it fast!
-Don’t spend today without first considering tomorrow
-Earn to increase your giving more than your living