There is opportunity for growth in every situation we encounter—whether good or bad. It all depends on how you choose to respond; will you learn and improve the situation, or will you allow it to hold you back?
The choices we make towards a specific situation or event can sometimes be difficult to make as we often become so attached to our way of being, and opt for the easy way out for the mere benefit of comfort. Although it can be hard to break free of old habits, shifting our paradigms regarding certain situations can often help us get past our own limiting beliefs and behaviours and move forward toward living our best selves. The key is to keep an eye out for a learning lesson in each and every situation we face.
With that said, here are 10 things that I learned in 2017 from the various events that occurred in my life this year, and how I believe they taught me to be a better person:
- I can’t fix and control everything and that is OK. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer earlier this year and it is, unfortunately, progressing at a very fast speed. She’s on many medications to help slow down the process and help her deal with her anxiety and sleep. As much as my dad and I are trying to help her eat well and keep active, it is not that easy. There are limitations of what my dad can do to guide the situation and what my mom will agree to do. What I learned = acceptance. I have to acknowledge that her current circumstance is what it is, and we are all doing the best with the resources we have. The most meaningful thing I can do is love her and make her feel loved as she deals with the illness.
- There are still some great people out there that really care. The clinic saw a lot of changes to staff this past year. Several key staff members left around the same time and while I was happy that they were following their dreams, I was also afraid that I would not find the right people to replace them. To my surprise, I was able to find people that really, truly care about me and my life purpose, people that are thrilled to help me with my mission and support me in any and every way they can. What I learned = be clear on what you want. If you are clear in your desires of who you want in your life, with time, life will guide those people to you. You have to be confident when you ask; who and what do I need? I wrote down exactly what kind of traits I wanted in my staff, visualized them and guess what? It worked.
- Always keep looking for people who are smarter than you. I am already surrounded by so, so many intelligent people! But in order for me to grow, personally and professionally, I have to keep looking for more of those kinds of people; intelligent people, driven people, people who want to learn and people who resonate with what I want to accomplish. What I learned = continue building your team of smart people. If you want to continuously grow and not reach a plateau, you constantly have to aim to not be the smartest person in your group.
- Invest in relationships. This year really confirmed for me that less is more when it comes to fostering powerful relationships. I made a decision to invest more energy into those closest to me. Doing so made those relationships even stronger than before. You simply have to decide which relationships are most beneficial to you and your growth. What I learned = what you focus your attention on, grows. I was happily surprised at the satisfaction I gained from deepening these relationships.
- Give it all you’ve got. I had a very challenging exam to write this year; after almost 3 years of courses with the Institute of Functional Medicine, I did my certification exam. It was hard and I had studied my butt off! The exam was 4.5 hours long and after 30 minutes I knew, I probably wasn’t going to get the 75% required passing grade…but yet, I stayed. I answered all 200 questions, reviewed them, and handed in the exam. What I learned = If you give it your best shot, you won’t be as disappointed in the outcome, even if, you don’t succeed. I had made peace with the fact that I had given my best effort and the fact that I had probably not succeeded and it was OK. I kept thinking of my personal motto: “how you do anything, is how you do everything.” It was such a pleasant surprise when I found out that I had actually passed the exam and got my certification!
- It takes time to achieve something great. My new book took over 2 years from start to finish! Just when I thought we were done editing…there was more to do, more I wanted to add. It was hard not to get frustrated with the delays and the speed, or lack thereof, from the editor’s own delivery schedule to my own satisfaction with certain chapters. What I learned = be flexible. You can’t always be set on a timeline as you don’t always have control of all the elements. If you want to create something great, something that you will be proud of, it may and most likely will take time.
- Learn to be OK with people not being ready to receive what you’ve got! As a doctor and a healer, it is so hard for me to have people approach me wanting help but, not really wanting it, or not being willing to commit and do the things they need to do to get better. What I learned = I can’t want it more then they do. Period. Even if I think I am getting through to them and they stop care or don’t follow my lifestyle recommendations, it’s not about me and I can’t take it personally either. It is their, decision not mine.
- Don’t waste time focusing on your weaknesses—delegate them. Life is too short to do things you’re not great at or that you don’t really enjoy. What I learned = let go. We all have different passions and skills. If computers aren’t your thing, find someone who loves computers to help you out. Instead of wasting hours doing something you don’t enjoy or find too difficult, focus your time on finding and attracting people who are skilled in the areas you need help with.
- The effects of meditation really do get better and better. A friend and colleague of mine introduced me to a technology called BrainTap by Dr. Patrick Porter. Wow! Just, wow! The device syncs an audio of a guided meditation, binaural frequencies, stimulation of acupressure points, and meditative music all into one spectacular experience. I always had a challenge with meditating. This technology and the amazing in-depth guided meditation have allowed me to truly enjoy it and see its benefits. I now actually look forward to my meditation time. I love the fact that there are also 750 different meditations to choose from; this helps my fast-paced brain not to get bored. What I learned = keep looking for solutions. If you know something is good for you but you can’t seem to “get the hang of it”, keep looking for tools to help you get there… there are so many out there! And yes, there is an App for that!
- Enjoy the journey. As I mature, the more I view life as a journey. Yes, it is important to have a goal and a destination but at the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the process and making the most of it with the people that you care about most. What I learned = don’t wish for things to be over as soon as they start, enjoy wherever the process takes you. It is important to slow down, step back and figure out what messages the universe is sending us. Slowing down helps us figure out what we truly want, so that we can recalibrate and re-adjust if needed and go for it.
I hope my 2017 lessons bring you some good reflection points. Cheers to 2018 and the new lessons we will learn!