May 03, 2019 | Your Business, Your Relationships

Catherine A. Wood

35 Reflections on 35 Years of Life [Part 1 of 2]

Yesterday was my 35th birthday! As I’ve reached this important milestone in my life, I’ve been contemplating what I’ve learned in my 35 rotations around the sun.

Here are my top life lessons boiled down into one list. This is the first of two installments. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Own who you are. For the majority of my life, I forced myself into extroverted environments and plastered a smile on my face until I realized I’m actually an introvert and while I always love a party, I get fully sourced from connecting deeply with one person or with myself. Read Quiet if you’re interested in learning more.
  2. Be fully you! The more you choose to be yourself, the more you’ll live authentically. I believe we all find our passion when we’re being the most fully self-expressed versions of ourselves.
  3. Perfectionism is an unwinnable game. I’ve spent too many years constantly living in a place of judgment and self-criticism around what I could’ve done better, or gotten “more” right. Learn to wake up and truly celebrate who you are! Joy lies in honoring who we are instead of who we are not. I’ve written more about this here.
  4. Visualize your success. You must visualize your success and begin to get connected with what you want and believe in the possibility of it. You don’t need to know how (in fact how can often be a trap to never begin!), but you have to believe in your own possibility. If you don’t, you will continually sabotage your own progress and never be willing to be and do what it takes to fulfill your success. I’ve written more about this subject here.
  5. Happy vs. Right. You get to be right or you get to be happy. Period. That’s the single greatest relationship advice I could give you, and I speak from personal experience. Just ask anyone who knows me. 😉
  6. Fail forward. One aspect of business I’ve come to not only expect but also to welcome is that as I take on new initiatives and business offerings, I’m going to fail. It just makes sense. If I’m doing something for the first time, how could I possibly presume to be perfect at it? It’s that simple. In fact, I’ve learned the most from some of my failures.
  7. Failure isn’t attached to you. Failure is so important, that the act of failure is just that, an act, an incident, a moment in time, all the other BS and meaning we attach to it, is made up.
  8. Resistance = Fear. The more you resist something is proportional to how much fear you experience around something. Conversely, the amount of fear you have around something is directly proportional to the amount of possibility available to you from overcoming it. The only way to overcoming your resistance is to move through it. Read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, it’s a must-read for all writers, creatives and change makers (let alone anyone who considers procrastination an acquaintance).
  9. Travel is transformative. Travel is one of the most powerful access points to transformation I know, as long as you use it to run towards something versus running away from something. If you’ve been seeking some transformational travel or value new experiences in your life, I can’t recommend highly enough our travel company, I believe these retreats are life-changing experiences.
  10. Joy is access to prosperity. When we are living joyfully, we will attract prosperity in all forms.
  11. New habits take time. I read a statistic somewhere that roughly 90% of our thoughts operate in our subconscious. Be gentle with yourself as you learn to retool your habits. What if becoming cognizant of a disempowering habit was an opportunity for you to access change? This is a much more empowering way of looking at creating new habits instead of feeling that you need to rake yourself over the coals for not being something or somewhere already.
  12. Be kind to you. The sooner you begin treating yourself the way you want to be treated by another, the sooner you’ll open your heart to that possibility for yourself.
  13. The buck stops here. You must take personal responsibility for all of you. As soon as you take your power back from the thoughts, opinions, and actions of others, you will be able to change your reality. Victimhood can make you feel better but it will never transform your experience of your life and what is possible for you. Choosing to become the source and have full agency over your life is the single most powerful change you can make to create a different result.
  14. Find a champion. We all need supporters and champions in our corner if we’re going to go far. How do you think Oprah, Tony Robbins, and Obama got there so fast?
  15. Loosen up! Stop taking yourself so seriously. No one else is. 😉
  16. Build your business as an expression of yourself. As soon as you stop following someone else’s system or model and start listening to your own intuition, that’s when you’ll reach your tipping point. A colleague recently reflected to me that I had employed my background in economics and organization to build my business’ back-end that was filled with automated systems and spreadsheets. Being able to do that felt so normal to me, yet I realized it is foreign to so many. That day, I realized I had hit upon something big for myself!
  17. Empower normal. Empowering normal in my life was a game changer for me. Normal wake up and go to bedtimes and start and stop times to my day – is a constant reminder to me of what matters most. In fact, I think ‘normal’ is the new sexy in business.

Friends, I hope this first half of my Reflections has resonated with you in some way. Stay tuned for next week as we’ll complete the list. For now, which reflection is the truest in your life? Hit REPLY…I’d love to know!

Here’s to another year of OUR unbounded potential,

P.S. We still have spots available for our “Jumpstart Your Vision” program. We had a request to delay the start date by a week, so you still have time to join us! This is an intimate group experience for women, by women, to help you take your work life to the next level. Get your ideas out of your head and into the world. Click below to learn more!

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