Whole & Unleashed

31 Lessons from 31 Trips around the Sun

When I turned 25, I had a full blown quarter life crisis. I felt like I should’ve accomplished more and that my life wasn’t where I thought it would be. I cried that night.

Flash forward 6 years later. While there are still lots I want to do, I’m happy to share that at 31, the angst and the FOMO have taken a backseat. What used to matter before, matters less now. My priorities have shifted from tunnel vision achieving to slowing down, feeling more and taking care of myself along the way. I’ve finally come home to myself.

Here are 31 Lessons I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. Focus on nurturing your strengths, instead of what you’re lacking.

    We tend to magnify our flaws instead of focusing on our strengths. Listing what we’re missing instead of what we already have. No one can do it all, we’re not meant to make things happen on our own! What you lack, someone can make up for and vice versa. Right now, you have exactly what you need to get to the next step. We are always improving/growing so don’t let that stop you from starting and trying new things out. Here’s a worksheet to dive into your strengths

  2. It’s OK to ask for help. 

    Growing up, it was instilled in me to be independent, to not burden others. So I had the mentality that I had to do all the things on my own. But people who care about you will naturally want to help you. They want to support you. It’s also human nature to want to help others. And that’s the first step in letting go of control my friend!

  3. Investing in yourself is the best ROI you could ever make.

    This one took a while to learn. Coming from an immigrant family we see value or ROI as something more tangible/monetary. I felt guilty about therapy at first but it gave me so many insights into what my blocks were, helped me worked through traumas and all that inner work is allowing me to show up better. Coaches, personal trainer and memberships have been great in helping me grow, learn at my own pace.

  4. What people think of you is none of your business.

    Everyone will have their own opinions/feelings but that’s just a reflection of them and not you. You can’t control what others think, you only have control over your thoughts. I dived in a bit deeper here

  5. Learn to recognize the outside noise vs internal chatter.

    Your loved ones, peers and friends will share their thoughts and advice because they care. But it’s based on their own experiences and limitations. There is no right or wrong, just what’s right for you and no one other than yourself will be able to recognize that. Get to know your desires, what lights you up and what drains you very well.

  6. Only you know the intensity of your soul’s yearning.

    I know I know, a bit cheesy but it’s true! Your passions, your desires, your dreams are yours to follow. We might want to talk to others for reassurance or even approval at times but no one else will know the burning desire or what feels right more than you. Share, talk it out of course but you don’t need anyone’s permission

  7. Compliments are an energetic gift from those offering.

    Now hear me out, compliments used to make me cringe and shrink. I’m comfortable giving compliments where they’re due, a la Oprah style. But didn’t know how to receive them myself. One, I was taught to be humble and two, was told people didn’t mean it. Until a friend of mine mentioned how compliments are like a good energy exchange so by denying them or not accepting them properly I was blocking that energy! How rude of me!

  8. You can’t please everyone without losing yourself.

    As a former people pleaser I wanted everyone around me to be happy. But that also meant putting my needs last. Worried about how others felt and denying my own desires. It took a while to come back home to myself but it’s so worth it.

  9. Slow down so you can notice.

    There are many mini-moments throughout the day where you can tune into your mind and body. Like right now as you’re reading this, unclench your jaws, drop your shoulders, soften your gaze. Opportunities to notice the tension we’re holding and drop it. So grateful for Strala Yoga for instilling this in us. Because how you are now, is how you’ll be when you arrive. More slowing down moments here

  10. You’ll see the value of your self-care practices when— pardon my expression— sh*t hits the fan.

    Having self-care practices doesn’t make you immune to bad days. Doesn’t mean you won’t get stressed or sick. It just means that, like Felix and his magic bag, you’ll have tools to cope better, to come back to your centre when the unexpected happens. Here are some ways to deal when the unexpected happens

  11. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

    Not too late, not a second early. There is no such thing as starting over. (Even if it feels like it) I know you have dreams and goals you wish to have accomplished—like yesterday but don’t dismiss all the years of lessons that lead you to where you are now and who you’ve become.

  12. You can’t rush the process.

    We tend to romanticize our goals and forget about the getting there part. We want to plant seeds and see the fruit ASAP. Think of yourself as a garden. There are things you can control and things you can’t —weather, seasonal changes. The seeds are your goals. You prep the soil, plant your seeds and sit back. But if you’ve hovering over them all the time you’ll be blocking the sun. That wouldn’t help at all. Take care of your garden everyday. Check in. Remove weeds— fears, self sabotaging thoughts and negative believes. Fight off pests— challenges, when things don’t work out. And then with time and patience you’ll see the first bloom.

  13. Know your why.

    Knowing your motivation behind each decision can anchor you. Simon Sinek saids it perfectly: Working hard for something we do not care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion. I wrote a little bit about my first year in business and why here

  14. You don’t have to wait to reinvent yourself.

    You don’t have to wait until your late 40s, 50s, 60s. What worked before might not work now. The moment you start feeling you’re not aligned with your purpose, start by looking within. What are some small changes you can make towards the direction you want to go? Your fulfillment is in your own hands. Here are 5 simple steps to get started

  15. It’s OK to change your mind.

    Your goals, dreams, relationships, careers… We’re always changing, you’re allowed to grow and evolve. If something is not working, pivot with compassion, with love for what was and be open for what it’ll make space for.

  16. There are no “bad emotions”.

    This one took a very long time to learn. I was very good at bottling up my emotions growing up. There was no space for sadness, anxiety or anything labelled as bad/comfortable. So I always focused on the bright side, so much I denied the other parts of me. Picture Pixar’s “Inside out” where sadness and anger had no place for like 25 years of my life. What helped? Friendships and relationships that allowed me to open up, therapy and a lot of mindset work. Brene Brown’s TED talk the Power of Vulnerability and her book Daring Greatly were a big catalyst in allowing myself to feel. I shared a bit more emotions and the 3 minds here

  17. To surrender is to trust.

    It isn’t just about letting go. Where you drop everything, watch Netflix and wait for your dreams to find you. It’s doing your part, putting that energy out there and trusting that it will work out. Through trial and error. Knowing that even though you can’t control everything, trust that you will figure it out. Trust that you have what it takes. I wrote about how to overcome fears and surrender here

  18. Play more, take yourself less seriously.

    When was the last time you belly laughed? We’ve been so constricted by results and goals that we skip the play time and dive right into achieving. Removing the spirit of exploration and the delight in the learnings itself. Drop the expectations, the outcome and simply be in the moment. Try things out just for your own amusement. Play for the sake of playing

  19. Spend more time being vs doing.

    Surround yourself with wonder, being curious about life, more ease and enjoyment. “I am a human being, not a human doing.” Kurt Vonnegut

  20. Progress over perfection.

    As a graphic designer I’m a sucker for details. There’s so many things I obsess over. But the thing is, perfection is subjective. Nothing is ever perfect, we’re constantly changing. Let go of the idea of perfection and start where you’re at. Attention to details is important but recognize when they are disguised as excuses. Read about how I’m conquering my fear of being seen here

  21. Your breath can heal you.

    It’s our most underestimated resource out there. There is so much power in your breath. Other than being your life force, your breath can heal and refresh you. Have you noticed how your breathing changes when you’re stressed or anxious? And how you breathe can also affect how you feel? If the unconscious act of breathing keeps you alive, can you imagine what it can unleash when you breathe mindfully? 🤔 Tune into your breath throughout the day to reset or find some breathing exercises you can follow along.

  22. If you’re good in doing what you like, imagine how great you’ll be doing something you love.

    Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you’re meant to do it as a career. If it doesn’t feel right, trust your gut feeling. Like Danielle Laporte saids, if it doesn’t light you up then you’re not the right person for the job. Read more about why I quit my job at the peak of my career here

  23. Make rest a priority.

    I get it, you’re ambitious and you want to make things happen! But first, make sure you’re getting enough rest. You’re more than just your mind, your body needs to rest, reset and heal as well. Here are 5 ways to unplug and restart

  24. You manifest your future by taking care of yourself now.

    It’s that simple. Not later, not while on vacation. Right here, right now. Every moment matters. The more I focused on taking care of myself, the more opportunities and collaborations I’ve attracted. This raising your frequency thing…is…hella…real. If I look back at every door that has opened, they have been wonderful opportunities beyond my wildest dreams that appeared after I showed up for myself first.

  25. Being ok with not being ok.

    You can be doing everything right. Meditate, do the yoga, eat organic fresh foods and get plenty of sleep. But you might still get sick, you might get stressed and overwhelmed…and that’s ok. Our bodies and minds are complex, it’s  multidimensional. Cosmic influence, collective energy, seasonal changes can throw us off balance (or so it seems). Stored trauma can come up, it’s not your fault. These things are part of the human experience, the light and the darkness. After all, there is no rainbow without rain

  26. You can’t think your way into healing.

    Healing is not a linear process. It requires a lot of self compassion. It feels like a never-ending dance where you go one step forward and several steps back. But that’s all part of the journey. This cha-cha dance is how we shed our old habits, breaking down resistance, unlearning and relearning better ways to be. It takes time, patience and softening. Take it one day at a time. Forward or back, doesn’t really matter as long as you take the step and notice what’s happening within and around you. This is how you heal. And remember, you don’t have to do it alone. It takes as long as it takes

  27. Pursue wholeness, not perfection.

    noun: wholeness ~the state of forming a complete and harmonious whole; unity. Working with everything you’ve got in every direction you can. A state of flow, in harmony with your whole self. Once you stop focusing on the expectations of —what you should do and how you should look — but instead tuning in and embracing what feels good, your inner alignment will become your inner and outer compass 🧭

  28. Being you is your superpower. You are the formula to your success.

    Being comfortable in my own skin took time. Once I let go of the idea of who I was supposed to be, releasing the should’s and but’s, I was finally able to define my why’s and get to the core of who I was. Making decisions, setting goals from a place of authenticity instead of trying to fit in. That in turn, helped me make more genuine and deeper connections to the people around me. I wrote about how being you is the most effective formula to success here

  29. Make space for joy and gratitude, daily.

    ”Discovering more joy does not, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreaks without being broken.” – Desmond Tutu

  30. Be kind to yourself.

    You’re doing what you can. Drop the guilt, drop the tough love. How are you talking to yourself? What standards are you holding yourself to? You’re doing the best you can

  31. Reframe failure as a stepping stone.

    We’re so afraid of failure, as if it’s some disease you contract. But the thing is, you can’t innovate unless you fail. You don’t grow without challenges and hardships. Our lives would be very plain if that was the case. But instead can you reframe what failure means to you? What fears are underlying there? And remember, sometimes our fears are there to protect us. Doesn’t mean they’re bad, they represent the stories we’ve unconsciously told ourselves. Doesn’t mean they’re true. How can you understand more of yourself by making space for fear?

 

I love hearing from you, please let me know if you resonated with any! Are there anything you would add?

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