HaHa…Single peeps like myself celebrate Valentine’s too!
My life took an unexpected huge turn on Valentine’s day evening of 2005. In hindsight, there is no doubt I’d have become who I am today, transformed my lifestyle, health, career, and gone through the personal growth journey I’ve been if that life event had not happened. Bumps, hardships, sickness, failures, whatever shitty thing happens to us are opportunities-doors. Opportunities to pause, reevaluate, change, take inventory, learn lessons. They are signs to MAKE A TURN to another direction. This direction will lead us to be better and stronger, go further.
We don’t necessarily know when these betterments will be realized and like we hear, ‘after the storm comes sunshine. The unknown and lack of direction or even hope–regardless the period of time, can be devasting. We do not like it. I think the more open we are, capable of listening, take time to ‘process’, keep a growth mindset, focus on the positive, remove the source of negativity as much as possible, the faster we will realize the goodies. When we step up to the challenge, we go places.
As we continue to pursue growth, more bumps will show up and eventually we build resilience and start reacting to these bumps with a more curious, positive, and opportunistic perspective. In the end, it’s how we react to circumstances in life. We choose. We decide. It’s under our control. It’s my choice, my decision, my life and I take full ownership for my steps.
I wish I could say I was as knowledgeable, intuitive, and emotionally and mentally healthier back then. Yet, I believe it was part of my journey. It was meant to happen. The next three years after that day were brutal but I got through. Once I felt I was back on my feet, I realized I was living like a freaking robot: wake up, work hard, hang out with friends, travel some, eat whatever was easier and fast, play volleyball, sleep some, and do it all over again.
At that time, I also realized I was empty inside. I had stopped learning. So I decided to go back to school and the next phases of growth and changes started quickly. It started in 2009 with my Executive MBA program at Emory University. It pushed me to limits I didn’t know I was capable of. I learned a great deal about myself and others. Overall, these personal and behavior learning experiences were incredibly valuable to me.
At the end of 2010, soon after completing the MBA, the next phase growth started. I realized I needed to take care of myself, think long-term, and do whatever it was needed to grow old and stay content (physical and cognitive health). The forever schooling, learning, and experimental journal started all over again. Little I knew that a few years later, I would be taking a leap of faith to follow this passion and help people transform their health, minds, and bodies after I had gone through my own—and by the way, I still am and will be forever.
Just like shit happens for reasons, I believe everyone we meet offers a gift and a new perspective. I also believe it is my responsibility to be fully present and engaged to receive and give back. It is a beautiful thing.
Being a solo-entrepreneur since 2015 continues to challenge all aspects of my life. The journey of this start-up has taken its own life 🙂 I am not the same person, hence, the business is not the same. My choices, personal growth programs I’ve attended, coaches, clients, strangers, revamped interests, environment and people I’ve, pitfalls, failures, exhaustion, loneliness, and more have contributed to the changes, self-discovery journey.
It gets hard, frustrating, lonely, and all sorts of ‘stuff’. Nonetheless, the rewards reaped by changing people’s lives, being part of their journey during good and bad days, the look on their eyes, smiles, laughs, and tears, the hugs, the deep and vulnerable conversations, the relationships built, the amazing people I’ve met, and so much more are the rewards and satisfaction I have never felt and experienced before.
If I could do what I do for free, I would do in a heartbeat. And I will continue to challenge myself, put myself outside the comfort zone so I can grow as a person, as an entrepreneur, as a speaker, as a coach, as a mentor, as a trainer so I can deliver more, inspire more people, attract the right people so that I can get my non-profit going in the future.
I will continue to grind because I don’t want to end my life with any freaking WHAT IFs…WHAT IF I have done x,w,z? The reality is that all these ‘things’ would have been totally up to me, I would have been willing to do the hard and unconventional work. I can’t live with WHAT IFs. My health journey and doing all I can to prevent diseases has a lot to do what the WHAT IFs. It kills me to imagine me on my deathbed thinking of stuff I would have liked to have accomplished, gone places, laughed more, etc and did not. Why didn’t I? Poor health, energy, ability to move on my own feet? Limiting beliefs that stopped me from breaking down walls and have not WHAT IFs? NO NO NO. I DO NOT WANT ANY OF THIS. So, I keep going even when voices inside say I should not, I am crazy. I know I have work to do, internal walls to break, so I do have WHAT IF’s hanging.
I am still learning to ask for help and these days nobody will offer to help you unless you ask. Then, many times when we ask, heads turn the other way like and we are ignored. Ignored by people who we thought were your friends or at least you thought you meant a little more than ‘that’.
That’s when you realize you are kinda alone on the entrepreneurship road and to a certain degree alone in life when you do things that many will not. That’s when you realize you must take inventory of what and who brings me energy and zap my energy–you need the people who will be HAPPY for your wins. That’s when you realize your time is the most valuable asset. That’s when you realize you need to reevaluate the people you hang out with. That’s when you realize it’s time to find out who cares about you as much as you care for them—is it reciprocal? if it is not, it’s time to face the fact you must recategorize your relationships. That’s when you realize your DREAM is your DREAM and nobody gives a shit. It was my CHOICE. That’s when you realize you should NOT expect anyone to give a shit. It’s YOUR dream. It’s my dream. Everyone is busy living their lives. The truth is, we are not that important. It is just the way it is. It is the way life has evolved. As a society, it feels like we continue to move from a lifestyle of WE to I. During these times, it’s self-care time. Each one of us must make ourselves important and a priority. These are times to reinvent ourselves–it’s a healthy thing!
Honestly, this whole thing was hard to swallow it. When I finally came to terms with this reality, which has been fairly recently–thanks to the amazing Lisa Nichols, things started to make more sense. I started to let some resentment and sadness. I started to let go of some negative energy that has been internalized. I started to create space. I am still working on this ‘release’ project. The great thing is that I am aware of and taking action. When we seek, we eventually find. It has also been a huge relief. In 2016, John Maxwell’s teaching of “we should give unconditionally and expect nothing in return” finally made sense. I had understood but not accepted at the time. It’s not easy, yet, he is right and it makes sense NOW.
I’ve come to the conclusion that despite all, I gotta continue to do the ‘right’ thing, continue to stretch my capabilities, abilities, mindset, and belief system. I must wake up in the morning expecting great results, no matter what I see in front of me. And that Universe is rearranging itself for my best interest! I know that alone I cannot do it.
So, yes, just because the day it is, I am going to be extra kind to myself, be grateful for my journey, celebrate steps I’ve taken and ‘offered’ by the Universe, and welcome continuous opportunities and growth!
I wish you do something similar for yourself. Happy Valentine’s Day!