I used to be a chameleon.
Whoever people needed me to be and whatever they needed me to do, I did it.
And then I got burned out. I got burned out on being a wife, mom, teacher, coach, friend, daughter, sister, you name it. I burned out on everything.
My rock bottom hit roughly eight years ago when I decided I needed to figure out who I was. I completely lost sight of myself and I was going down a path I wasn't proud of. My husband gave me the space I needed and had the faith that I would find my way back.
It took almost a year, but I did.
What I discovered was so aptly put in Gandhi's 9th rule in Gandhi's 10 Rules for Change by Henrik Edberg: Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.
Because I put everyone and everything else first, I had no idea who I really was. I was the identity of how everyone else labeled me, and I'm the first to admit I allowed that to happen. No one took advantage of me.
I just kept jumping in without thinking about whether or not it was something I wanted or should be doing. I did it because I didn't want to let anyone down. But I was letting someone down.
I think I've learned more about myself in the last eight years than the previous 40 combined. The best thing I learned was to say, "No." If it doesn't fit into my values, priorities, or interests, it doesn't happen.
At first I felt guilty and struggled, because people weren't happy about me saying no. There was definitely some push back, and there were many times I nearly caved. Each time I would take a step back and ask myself, "Do you want to go down that miserable rabbit hole AGAIN?"
That made saying no much easier, and over time people began to get it. I started doing what was best for me, and because of that, others now get the best of me. When I say yes, I'm all in. I'm now a lot more selective in what I say yes to.
I never really thought about it before, but when I'm making decisions, I'm really asking, "Is this congruent with my beliefs? Am I my authentic self? Am I truly myself?"
If I say yes to all three, then I go for it. If I don't, then the answer is easy, no.
I have some non-negotiables that have definitely made it this way. I get seven hours of sleep a night, I rarely watch TV, I get up at 5:00 AM (thank you, Jeff Sanders of the 5AM Miracle podcast) and have two hours to myself, I get in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, I meditate and read my bible, I listen to podcasts and read professional development books, and I make a lot more time for the most important people in my life...my family.
I have a mantra I write down every morning in my journal: I am living a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life with love and peace in my heart. It starts my day off the way it should. I think about my personal and professional mission: to add value to people's lives by making a positive impact through my words and actions.
I demand that time in the morning. I'm a much better person because of it. My goal is to be better than I was the day before. There's so much that I'm excited about wanting to do, but I keep reminding myself to take a step back and think it through before I take action. I love the person that keeps evolving each day.
When we think about making change, we have to make sure it aligns with our beliefs (congruence), and that we are our authentic selves. Being ourselves is the only way we can make the impact in the world we want to have.
How am I going to make my footprint today? What do I want to say to the world and how I am going to say it? Why am I doing what I'm doing?
Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.