Lessons Learned

2018 Lessons Learned

My life has been very full in 2018. I have been focused on the lessons, and I realize there are many when you are open and seeking them. Here are some of the things I learned or were reminded of in 2018:

  1. I am enough. I am worthy. I am imperfectly perfect. While offering the Choosing Me Now retreats, I realized these things as I worked to pass them along to others. We are all imperfectly perfect; we are unique and suited to the things we were created to do. Relaxing into who we truly are, instead of what others want us to be or tell us we are, is the first step in this process. Once we actually know ourselves, we can recognize how we are exactly who we need to be to fulfill the things that are meant for us in this life. No more striving for perfection or wanting to be better than others. I am enough, I am worthy, and I am imperfectly perfect.
  2. Democrats and Republicans want a lot of the same things but just disagree on how to get there. While I have always been a liberal through and through, my children are conservative. When I talk with them about what they think and why and really listen to their answers, and I realize we have much more in common than I thought. People want similar things, but we disagree about how to get there. We want to live and raise our children in a safe place with economic advantages and good moral character. If we could stop the lies, insults, and complaints long enough to focus on the goal, we would be able to find a way to negotiate our differences and move forward. We must do better.
  3. Knowledge is not power, contrary to popular opinion; it’s the application of knowledge that’s power. I write books, give presentations, and facilitate training programs for a living. I am basically a disseminator of knowledge, yet I am constantly reminded that knowledge is not power. Lots of people will read my books, attend my workshops and presentations, and leave no more powerful than when they walked in. Just because something is easy to learn, does not make it simple to apply. We must get better at taking deep dives into information rather than just skimming the surface, but we can’t deep dive into everything. Determine what you are really interested in, learn everything you can, and become powerful in the things that are important to you.
  4. People can leave their comfort zone for their greater good and the good of others. People are products of their cultures, but if they are brave enough to step out into unknown territory, sometimes they learn that what they have been thinking all this time is a lie. In 2018, I had the supreme privilege of teaching Choice Theory to a Rabbi and an Iranian doctor who were taught as children to hate one another before ever meeting. In an environment of respect and encouragement, these two men were able to learn about each other and become friends. You can read about it here.
  5. People do not shy away from difference as much as they shy away from people who are disrespecting their values and beliefs while trying to change them. Difference is not the problem. I developed a workshop designed to help people discuss differences in controversial subjects, such as religion and politics, without discounting or changing the values and beliefs of those who disagree. During 2018, I was called upon several times to present this workshop to many heterogeneous groups. The participants were happy to learn how to create a safe space to discuss differences by trying to understand rather than change other people.
  6. If your parents are still living, it is important to spend time with them. I am fortunate enough to still have my parents. My mom is in excellent health at seventy-nine (and will kill me for writing that number), and my dad is eighty and experiencing heart challenges. I’ve realized that, as my parents age, they experience a decline in their abilities while watching many of their friends and associates die. I think they are both are quite lonely. I want to do what I can to provide some light in their lives. It is important to me.
  7. In 2018, I learned the value women hold in my life. I facilitated several women’s retreats in 2018 and loved how enthusiastic women can be about supporting other women. In January, four girlfriends met in Cabo. In April, girlfriends traveled to Rhode Island to support a friend in mourning. In June, a group of Choice Theory women toured around Bogota. In August, I went to San Diego with a girlfriend to see what we would see. In September, four high school girlfriends traveled to Naples just for fun. In October, I met with my all-women business team to strategize and took a retreat to New Hampshire with the woman who really runs my business. In November, I had a peak experience at the Great Wall of China with two amazing women, which you can read about here. Women friends are the gift I give myself all year long.
  8. When you travel away from home, the more you can immerse yourself and participate in the culture of your hosts, the more you will be respected and remembered as a friend. I have discovered there is a spectrum that describes different travelers. On one side are those travelers who like comfort and familiarity. When they travel to other countries, they take tours with people from their own country, do not interact much with local people, stay in familiar hotels, and eat in familiar restaurants. The travelers on the other end of the spectrum like to immerse themselves in the culture. They talk to locals, try the local spots to stay and eat, and are always looking for things unique to that culture to experience. When I began traveling, I was in the former group, but somewhere in 2018, I realized I had traveled to the other side of the spectrum! I’m not hardcore—I haven’t tried fish brains yet—but I like to experience as much of the culture as I can. I find when I do, it brings me closer to the people I am visiting.
  9. When you know your worth, you won’t settle for less than what you deserve. I have learned to stop chasing after things and people that aren’t meant for me, giving me time to invest in the things and people who are. I have had some experiences where I have not been appreciated and others where I was misunderstood, even after offering an explanation. I am using those situations to help make decisions about how I’ll spend my time and with whom. It also helps me to say no to some situations and people, freeing myself up for better things to come.
  10. Sometimes, when you think you’ve reached your personal peak, it is just a resting place while you learn how to soar even higher. But you must leave your place of rest to be able to fly. There will be more to say about this in the future. After attending two class reunions in 2018, I heard many of my classmates talking about retiring. They were very happy about the prospect. When I think of retiring, I feel sad. I love my work and everything about it. While my counterparts are planning to stop work, I’m gearing up. One of my role models was Louise Hay, who worked into her 90s. If I follow her lead, I’ve got another thirty-five years in me, and I can accomplish a lot in thirty-five years.

Changes are just beginning. Stay tuned.

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