(Above Photo: my 24th birthday with my friends, Bri and Kelsey. I had secured my dream job traveling the country working as the Director of Operations and Leadership Coach for an image consulting and corporate training company. I felt like a badass, and I thought I looked pretty good, too.)
Lately I've been thinking about my younger self and what she knew about life. There were certain things I did, beliefs, habits and ways of being that got me where I am. In my teens and early 20's I filled my mind with personal development, positivity, and coaching. It helped me overcome my tendencies toward perfection, depression and the medical challenges and surgeries that I faced. My walls were filled with quotes and reminders. My mirrors, with affirmations on sticky notes, and my notebooks with goals I set out to do that month, quarter or year.
I got most everything I wanted.
I got the dream jobs, the perfect clients, the next brilliant steps in my career. When I wanted something, I got it... I zeroed in on things and studied, pursued, and achieved them like that's all there was.
I find myself now at 36 years old, really taking stock of who I am, what I want to be and share, and what form that takes. As I do this, I notice that I'm looking back at my younger self. She had it figured out. She didn't even know it I don't think, she just believed. She was too busy looking for the next best thing, the connection to her dreams. She was too busy feeling so damn grateful to have been given so many second chances at life that she didn't have time to doubt, wonder, worry or hold herself back.
Tears roll down my face as I type this. I wonder, where did she go?
It seems that slowly, over time, she slipped away and in her place, anxiety, second guessing, guilt, perfection, and unworthiness took residence. It happened so slowly, I hardly noticed until I felt trapped. Trapped in the mind and the body that used to help me thrive.
"What you feed, grows. What you starve, dies."
I grew up hearing various renditions of this quote. It rings so true to me now. We must be careful what we feed. As I take the wisdom of my younger self and apply it to my life now, I see bits and pieces of the real, honest, raw, vulnerable, selfless, service-driven, determined, always learning, goal diggin' woman coming back. I see that so many years ago, I was literally training my brain by feeding it growth, positivity, tools, habits, and skills for surviving, thriving and reaching goals. There wasn't room for worry or doubt, I was too focused.
So now I'm back to it, consuming personal development books and listening to podcasts about people living life on their terms. I consume them like breakfast, like a soulful meal nourishing my mind and soul. As I do, those pieces of myself I'd put on the shelf so long ago, seem to flicker like a light in the darkest of the night saying, "I'm still here. I knew you'd be back."
I can't be the only one who is realizing that my younger self was pretty darn smart. She knew some things that now are helping me all over again to live a better, more focused, and fulfilling life. What things did your younger self know or do that you, too, could use in your life now?
Most recently, these podcasts (and books) have ignited and inspired me toward this next chapter in my life:
With Love and Curiosity,
P.S. If there's anyone in your life who feels stuck, please share this post with them. It might be just what they need to have their own breakthrough.