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My Biggest Lessons of 2018

My biggest lessons of 2018

As we embark on a New Year most of us will contemplate how we want 2019 to be different from 2018, I know I do! Before I tease out new ideas and delve into plans that will enhance my business and life in general, I’ve found it is always useful to look back on the year just gone and to harness the lessons learned. I do this in a very simple way. I ponder two questions – what worked well and what didn’t really work for me in 2018? How would you answer them?

Like many people I’m someone who has an active voice in their heads, analysing, worrying etc. So to quieten this voice, I like to write down my answers to these questions (write out to right out!) Acknowledging what I did well highlights what to build upon in 2019 (and to justify a pat on the back.) Knowing what didn’t work out allows me to draw a line under it, chalk it up to experience and move on.

What worked well for me in 2018?

Regular Yoga Practice

Without a shadow of a doubt, starting yoga back in February was something that worked incredibly well for me on many levels. Not only is the weekly Thursday evening class a firm fixture in my diary, 20 minutes of yoga has become part of my morning routine, setting me up for the day ahead.

Morning yoga

Morning yoga whilst on holiday!

Meditation (aka Quiet Time)

2018 was the year that I finally got serious about a regular meditation practice. It’s no longer a means to an end for me, it is a way of being, route one for connection with my Higher Self, God, Universal Lifeforce. I would go so far as saying that meditation is the number one ingredient when it comes to my mental health.

In December, I treated myself to a 24 Heart Space session with the incredible Valerie Dolan. An advocate of Joe Dispenza’s work, my nurturing time with Valerie significantly deepened my spiritual awareness. I now have more tools when it comes to resourcing (re-Sourcing) myself. Do check out Valerie’s website she is a gifted healer. (www.valeriedolan.com)

Spiritual Practice

As Oprah has said it is very hard to be fulfilled without a spiritual practice. What I’ve discovered in 2018 is that the clue is in the term – it is spiritual practice, not spiritual perfection. It takes practice and it is wonderful to approach something new as a beginner, curious to learn. Going into 2019, what could you approach as a beginner?

Getting serious about how I fuel my body

Something else that worked well was using the services of Green Earth Organics, an organic vegetable supply service. When I have the ingredients I will cook them. We place the order by Tuesday lunchtime and the delivery arrives early Thursday morning. If you are interested in eating more healthily in 2019, check them out.

Speaking at Conferences

Business wise, what continues to work well for me is the emphasis I’m placing on speaking at conferences. In 2018 I was thrilled to tick speaking in The Convention Centre from my bucket list. (With thanks to Raymond Poole and the PM Summit.) I also spoke again in The Guinness Storehouse and I’m excited to be speaking at the Executive Institute event in the National Concert Hall in February.

Improve your presentations

Harnessing External Expertise

Although in the early stages, another great decision was to partner with Philip Twyford aka The Curly Marketer to assist me with social media strategy. I had to acknowledge that whilst I dabble in social media I’d no coherent strategy. Of course social media has to be a function of wider business strategy and over the last few weeks, in partnership with Philip, I’m gaining new perspective on my business. My work with Philip is at the early stages but I’m excited about the renewed sense of possibility and the new ventures that are in the pipeline.

Saying no more often

Most of us have the disease to please. Saying no more often was something that came out of my annual retreat back in July. I identified energy drains (processes and people!) and I worked to distance myself from them. I compiled a ‘not to do list.’ I spent a few weeks in the autumn relieving myself of other people expectations of me that somehow I had taken on as my own. (I wrote about this ‘aha moment’ back in August – check our the Reclaiming my Time blog post.)

Oh yes – Our Wedding!

Dream New York Wedding

Married in Central Park!

I would get in trouble with Brian if I didn’t say how the fact that our deconstructed wedding in the summer was something that worked out exceptionally well. We got married in New York in June, a family celebration followed in July and a friends function in August. It was a special summer, with incredible memories. If I were to distil the essence of what worked well specifically well, it was the simple fact that we did absolutely what we wanted, based on what felt right for us. (Here’s the blog where I wrote about ‘Our Dream Wedding’)

What didn’t work so well

Thankfully this list is not as long, which means 2018 was a fairly good year by most standards!

Unconscious use of technology

This is my number one pet hate, the time I ‘waste’ with the phone in hand surfing the web, browsing social media and being sucked down rabbit holes. It’s an addiction I want to break. Whilst technology has added so much to all our lives, too much of anything is not so good. Multi-tasking has spiraled into continuous partial attention. Apart from sore eyes and heightened feelings of inadequacy, my habits around technology means I read only 20 books in 2018 (in previous years it could be three times that figure.) I love reading and I want to get back into the habit of having a book in my hand not my phone in 2019.

Not planning ahead when it comes to diet

I’ve clear contrast on this one. In the run up to our wedding meals were planned ahead, after the wedding the good habits were ditched and poor eating choices were made. I feel better when I lean towards a vegetarian diet (I was vegetarian between 2004 and 2008) hence starting to use the service of Green Earth Organics.

Excessive worrying

As I’ve gotten older (and somewhat wiser) perversely I seem to worry more. Since my physical body had the diagnosis of bladder cancer in September 2017 control issues and my mental health in general are challenges that are front and centre for me. Of course every challenge contains a hidden lesson or gift and I know I have the opportunity to lean towards ‘trust’ which for me is the antidote to worry.

Life is always presenting us with contrast, what we would like more of and less of. Our emotions are our GPS. What makes me feel good versus what (who!) saps my energy. In the spirit of the George Santayana quote ‘those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ So what do you want more of and less of in 2019?