March is the month that I was born and the month before I got sober so it always leads me into a little bit of introspection and reminiscing. I have an immense amount of gratitude for the life I live today but I never forget where I came from. We all go through things in life and those things help shape who we are I feel that they do not define us unless we let them. The woman that I have become today is nothing like the woman I was 9 years ago who would have spent her birthday month raging at the local bar and nursing a permanent hangover while dragging myself to a waitressing shift and maybe class if I was feeling it. I would have woke up each day hoping that life would change and that I would get to do the things I dreamed of one day in the future. Mustering up that little bit of faith that somewhere down the line life would look like I wanted it to, the right job the right relationship, the right amount of travel, etc. but having no real prospects or knowledge on how I could actually change my circumstances. My life today is better than anything I could have dreamed of while I was living the grind so many years ago. 31 came and went pretty quickly and 2017 has already been an action packed year for me with a lot more adventure on the horizon. I just got back from 2 weeks in Peru to celebrate 5 years of marriage with my amazing husband, a week in Mexico to watch 2 friends get married, and a few weeks of doing the job I love, mentoring other women, helping them move towards their goals and live the life they want for themselves. It still blows my mind that I get to do this for a living. I work harder every year because I know that there are so many women out there who want more for their lives and are not sure how to get it. I am a living, breathing example that life is what you make it and that if you work your ass off and do the next right thing, the opportunities will present themselves. I find more and more inspiration to burn as brightly as I can in this life to show others who are like me that the life they want is there for them. Some people were not meant to lead a “Normal Life”. If you fall into this category, if going to a retail, service industry, or corporate job every day feels like the life is literally being sucked out of you then stop fighting it. Embrace this true part of yourself and look for the exit. It is up to you to change the things in your life that you do not like but many times that comes down to rewriting some old programming. If there is something that you want to do with your life that people think is weird, risky, or even crazy, know that it is possible. The road will probably be uncomfortable but it will be worth it!
In my experience we spend so much time in inner conflict that it is truly hard to be in the moment and just live. We are pulled between what we want and what other people want for us. This leads to felling like we are letting someone down no matter what choices we make in life. That is what we call a NO WIN situation. I have news for you and it may be odd to hear or hard to internalize but it is a universal truth. You are the most important person in your life. PERIOD. If you are happy then the people around you will be happy. If you are doing what you are passionate about then you will naturally attract people into your life that are passionate about the same things or that appreciate you and the way that you live your life. This generally entails making some tough decisions and potentially upsetting some people short term but hey, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. If there is something you want in life that you have not gone after because you are scared of what people think or are buckling to outside pressure then this is your month to start going in the direction of your dreams. It is time to lose sight of the shore and go explore some new lands… if this is what you want.
5 Steps to a transformative March:
1. Create a vision for the rest of the year.
If we do not have a destination in mind then we will end up somewhere else. Knowing what you want is vitally important to happiness and fulfillment because it allows us to always be working towards something and making progress. I suggest that you take some time to reflect on what it is you want and why. Think about this year specifically and look at where you want to be by the end of the yer. Do you want to travel somewhere specific? Do you want a new job or to start your own business? Maybe you want to move somewhere new. The important thing is to make a vision for your year and to get it down on paper. Do not worry so much about the how at this point, just get it all down and think big. Create a compelling vision for your future, one that gets you excited to wake up and is even a little scary.
2. Give yourself a deadline.
It is great to have goals, it is great to have a vision for your life, it is definitely great to be working towards something, but unless you give yourself a deadline what you are working towards will likely stay in the future. If you set a slightly unrealistic deadline you will feel the pressure and do what you need to do to accomplish your goals. I recommend setting a realistic deadline for one of your goals then increasing it a little bit if you operate better under pressure like I do. There is a caveat to this: if you do not meet your deadline you DO NOT GIVE UP! Always push you yourself to accomplish your goals then adjust if need be.
3. Do something that scares you every day.
This is something that I live my life by. I believe that if we continue to challenge ourselves we will lead a healthier and more fulfilling life. By doing something that scares you everyday I do not mean that it has to be an extreme sport or a street fight. I mean that if you need to have a tough conversation just step up and do it. If a workout seems too hard, go after it. If you have been wanting to ask for a raise (and you deserve it) go ask for it. If you’ve been meaning to take dance classes, do it. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone each day. If you do this every day for a month you will be filled with confidence and an amazing sense of adventure. This practice literally has the power to redefine the way that you think about yourself and by trying new things we can unlock passions we never knew we had.
4. Practice rigorous self-honesty every day.
Own you life and your behavior, all of it, good and bad for the entire month. Make amends where you need to and celebrate something you did well every day! In AA we have the 10th step which we are supposed to do every month. We look at our day and reflect on what went well, what went not so well, what we did right, and what we did wrong. We make amends where we need to and we celebrate what we did right. In my experience when we do this every day we end up raising our standards and pushing ourselves to be better in all areas. When we are working towards something we can use this tool to take daily stock of where we are, what we did, and if it moved us in the direction of our goals. This practice also allows us to see any relationships or actions that may not be serving us or that bring out the worst in us. Basically this practice allows us to notice the behavior patterns that define our lives. Asking yourself if you used your time wisely every day and forcing your self to answer honestly will make you take a hard look at how you spend your time.
5.Practice self love every day for the entire month.
Take some you time, workout, do some yoga, pray, meditate, sit in silence, lay in the sun, go for a walk, cry, laugh, scream, hike, swim, dive, drive, take up martial arts, cook yourself dinner, get a mani-pedi, get a massage, get a tattoo, go the movies, go to bed early, sleep late, spend 5 minutes telling yourself why you kick serious ass, paint, draw, hang out with friends… you get the point. LIVE for yourself, love yourself, every day.