My New Year's Reflections
I’m sure we can all come to a unanimous decision that 2020 was a year of challenges and unexpected change- which is never easy to adapt to in a heartbeat.
Lockdowns and a myriad of restrictions meant that we were unable to carry on with life as we know it. Schooling and work tasks had to be undertaken from home. And, whilst there may not have been any reprieve from your immediate family, we were suddenly isolated (at least for a period of time) from our wider social circle and communities.
The days may have seemed long, but the year definitely seemed short. In the blink of an eye, here we are in 2021.
I found 2020 to be a year for introspection. Having more time in solitude can force this upon us. My family and I were in a fortunate enough position health and finance-wise, so for me, 2020 allowed personal growth on steroids.
Amongst my 2020 achievements, I managed to lead and collaborate with a small team of outstanding professionals to launch my own recipe and blog site. It is now starting to take on a life of its own (keep watching this space this year, because I am sure that bigger things are coming!). I also wrote and published my first eBook on a topic dear to my heart. So, not only did I have to manage our existing businesses, take up my newly acquired role of home-schooling teacher, but I also plunged myself into the deep end of a start-up.
Having never been more time poor in my life, I had to make some pretty firm decisions about what mattered most in my life and how I was going to allocate time to these things. Everything and everyone that didn’t really impact my life or happiness would just have to take a shift to the sidelines. As we entered into the mad world of COVID lockdowns, I thought I would have my plate more full than ever. I did worry about how I was going to cope with the load.
But the exact opposite happened.
I was training consistently and maybe even a fraction more than I was doing before. I was spending more one-on-one time with each of the kids. I was seeing more of my husband because suddenly he was working-from-home. My husband started tinkering around with our food scraps and started his own deck-garden. I had my head buried deep in recipes that revolved around food waste because this concept now has me obsessed.
Ultimately, I realised that I was chasing my own definition of success
Without realising it- it turns out, my definition of success includes: forming meaningful relationships with my kids and my husband, building and nurturing my business and its support crew, being a more creative and sustainable home-cook and carving out enough self-time each day so that I was able to do the rest and excel at it.
The problem with success is that so many of us are chasing the mystical idea of 'success' without actually knowing what it truly means to us.
In general, to achieve 'success' we end up taking on more and more onto our plates and creating more busy-ness. We are pressured into this endless cycle because we are chasing 'success' as defined by society's norms.
As we kick off 2021: Define your own success story.
This is yours and yours only. It shouldn’t -at all- be defined by what the Jones’ are doing. Once you have clearly defined your success story, you will be able to start mapping out your own ways of achieving success milestones. This is such a liberating and positive life choice, rather than busy-ing yourself with tasks and people that make no impact on achieving your personal success story.
Here are my top tips from my own journey this year:
1. Don’t be afraid of solitude: When in solitude, your greatest fears, worries and insecurities surface. Now is the time to address them, so that they no longer act as barriers to your success story. Our lives are typically jam packed with activities, tasks, and shrouded by the veil of social media. These all block our ability to be alone. By sitting and noticing the thoughts that surface whilst you are alone, I believe that you will be able to explore your real passions and what provides you the most fulfilment. Find some time to be alone each day. You may want to do this whilst you tackle my next top tip- creative space.
2. Creative space: Everyone’s creative space looks different. You will know what your mind prefers/needs to achieve flow state. In flow state, ideas and thoughts flow freely through your mind. I love running on the local bush trails to achieve flow. For you, it could mean sitting alone in your favourite nature spot, or with a friend, pondering over a cup of tea, a yoga class or an exercise session by yourself. Making time and space to problem solve is important, as most of us have so much on our plates. Give yourself an opportunity to organise your thoughts and tackle your more challenging problems. Make time for this in your schedule, each day.
3. It’s ok to be fearful: It is likely that you haven’t found your thresholds if you aren’t fearful of something. Taking a step over your thresholds is the doorway to learning. I am a huge believer that each person and each situation can teach you something – even if it is an example of what not to do. This whole year has been a collection of successes and failures for me. I have had to learn so many facets of business on the fly – IT, marketing, accounting, finance and HR. I have made some great decisions and some questionable ones. In the end, all success stories have aspects which are challenging to face because they involve personal growth and/or difficult decisions. Shying away from challenging 'chapters' can be the difference between achieving what is actually important or leaving your ideas as simply aspirations.
4. Nourish yourself: Ultimately, you are the author of your own success story. Undeniably, you will be unable to be the hero/heroine of this story if your health isn’t at the forefront. Go back to basics. You know what to do. Eat more wholefoods to crowd out the bad choices in your diet. Move a little more – not necessarily harder, just more. Check in to see what’s holding you back on sleep and make choices to address this. If you’ve had a nagging health issue, perhaps it’s time to check in with a professional.
5. Be authentic: Do things that resonate with you. Build and nurture relationships with people who resonate with you. Spend time in places that resonate with you. Select lifestyle choices that resonate with you. It is all too easy to fall into certain choices because it’s what everyone else seems to be doing. Every so often, check-in with your personal success story- see if your choices continue to add authentic chapters. If not, realign and go again.
I wish you the best of luck, and lots of love, health and success for the upcoming year!