3 Best Lessons From 2018
Reflecting on the passing year, I am reminded of one paradox in life: to have a lot of good, we must experience some bad moments, too.
2018 was a challenging year.
Don’t misunderstand me. There were moments of pure joy and bliss, unexplainable sense of freedom, intense passion and delight, professional success, and a lot (lot!) of personal growth and transformation.
But then again, this past year also brought heartache, loss of friends, health issues, clients who didn’t pay, and other situations that challenged me to my core.
There is no way around this paradox except by looking at all these experiences, challenging and delightful alike, as tremendous opportunities for growth.
Indeed, it's this growth I wanted to talk to you about today.
2018 taught and reaffirmed three invaluable lessons.
First and foremost, courage. I am reminded of Anais Nin's famous utterance, "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." This could not be more true. We each get to choose a path of security or of risk, of daring; without risk, there's no gain. Many a time, we will be faced with choices; only courageous ones will truly enhance the quality of our life. A ship is not made to sit safely in a harbor. It is by leaving the safety behind that we discover and attain our bliss.
Courage is hard, but without it, we're living only half a life.
Second, authenticity gives us the authority to lead. Whenever we hide or fail to honor any part of ourselves, our human experience is lopsided, and something is always missing. Being truly raw and real is tough as fuck, and often lonely, but it is a beautiful kind of experience: an unprecedented freedom and a deepest expression of self-love.
We only reach bliss by being our truest true. Words are inadequate to fully articulate this truth. Like some of the best things in life, it must be tried to be fully understood.
Third, facing our demons leads to fulfillment. Carl Jung spoke of the shadow side in each of us, the side that guides much of our existence yet is often little explored. Unsurprisingly, it is by facing this dark side—our flaws, hurts, fears—with an unyielding desire for truth that we reach the light. It's a difficult process, and most don't do it because it is hard, but it is invaluable. Often times, it's through pain that we are thrown into looking at this "dark side" whether we like it or not.
This year, I faced my own deeper, darker shadow side. It was terrifying. It sucked.
Yet, the transformation that ensued because of it all has been worth it. I emerge stronger, more insightful, more courageous, more compassionate, and certainly deliberate in having faith that the best is yet to come. I am also grateful, because each tough experience is like a hammer hitting the stone, carving out a masterpiece.
Without facing what hurt us the most and what we are most afraid of, we cannot give the world our very best.
Let me say that again: without facing what hurt us the most and what we are most afraid of, we cannot give the world our very best.
The cave we fear holds the treasure we seek.
I suspect your year must have been a mixed bag, too, but we have survived and before us lies another opportunity to live more courageously and authentically. I encourage you to take some time to reflect on these three ideas and be honest with yourself. Hint: unless it's burning, you're not being honest; you're just pretending to be honest! As you know, the burn is necessary for growth.
As always, thank you for coming along on this journey around the Sun and here's to an adventurous, bold, and all-around exciting, rewarding, and successful 2019.
Many exciting things are coming!
With love and respect,