I am celebrating my 31st birthday this week and it made me think about all of the things I have learned and what I wish I knew sooner. One of my top strengths is learner so I am always trying to learn new things and improve myself. This past year has been a big year for life lessons and I am excited to share some of them with you today.
you can’t go back in time
This is a hard one and one of those lessons I thought should be first because I often look at the past and think “what if this happened instead”. Here is the thing – we can’t go back in time, we can learn from those past circumstances and move forward. Forward is the only way to go.
you can and should be happy
Being happy is a choice we all have to make. While some circumstances can bring us down we should still look for the positive and try to be as happy as possible. Being negative all the time is draining and most people won’t want to be around you.
small business is hard
I opened my first business in 2014 at the age of 26. I thought I had everything figured out and did a ton of research. The reality is – I had no idea what I am doing. I still have no idea! Small business is hard.
find your tribe and keep them close
Find a tribe of like-minded people that can trust. These people will be the ones to continue to push you forward and help you excel. Back to the small business lesson – finding a group in a similar niche can do wonders for your business. You can bounce ideas off of each other and grow because of each other.
you may “meet” some of your best friends online
This may sound strange especially if you are of an older generation but finding friends online and building a community online is one of the best things I have done. Some of these ladies I have met in person, while others I have not.
understand your personality type
I have taken multiple personality tests. From the strength finders to the enneagram to Myer’s Briggs. All of these tests have given me a different insight into how I view the world and why I think certain things.
your personality may not jive with everyone
Once you know your personality type and understand how and why you think certain things you will start to notice things about people around you. Here’s the thing – not all personality types mix well together. That is okay! Find the personality types that lift you up and bring out your strengths.
it’s okay to say no
Saying no is one of my favorite things. Why? Because if it doesn’t align with my values or bring something to my life then I am not going to participate. I am okay with saying no. This can be to family and friends or at work.
you can’t please everyone
You will never make everyone happy. You should focus on ensuring you are happy and you will find your tribe.
getting married young isn’t a bad thing
My husband and I married when I was only 21. That seems like a lifetime ago now. Most people thought we were too young but we have worked over the past ten years to build an amazing relationship and have proven so many people wrong.
your spouse should be your best friend
Your spouse should be your best friend. You should be able to lean on each other for everything and talk about everything. Find that one person who completes you and makes you a better person.
the telephone works both ways
I have heard time and time again that I should call more often or visit more often. Here is the thing. The phone works both ways. The other person can easily pick up the phone and reach out to me. Relationships work both ways.
cut manipulative people out of your life
Manipulation helps a lot, especially in families. You don’t need to deal with it. It’s okay to cut toxic relationships from your life. If it’s a family member you may still need to see them at family functions but it doesn’t mean you have to go out of your way to spend time with them.
gossip is toxic
I thought high school was bad for gossip. It’s even worse as an adult, especially in families. If you want to know the truth just talk to each other rather than talking behind each other’s backs.
money makes life easier
I may get some backlash for this but money really does make life easier. The more income you have the more you can do. You can afford better health care, retirement, nice dinners out, vacations, to live in a nice neighborhood etc.
you can change your circumstances
The way I grew up is vastly different than the life I live now. Why? I decided to make changes in my life that would give my husband and me, an upper-middle-class lifestyle. I was deliberate in the choices I made after high school so I could live a certain way.
don’t stay in a crappy job because you’re loyal
If you are in a crappy situation at work look for employment elsewhere. You have more skills than you think and you should find a job that is fulfilling and makes you happy.
it is possible to earn a living online
Just a decade or so ago earning a living online seemed so far fetched. Now, there are thousands, if not millions, of people who earn a full-time living working from their computers in the online space. It is possible.
blogging is hard
I thought starting an online website would be a lot easier than it is. I am learning some new everyday and learning that blogging isn’t as easy as just putting a few articles on the internet. There is a process to it and making money doesn’t happen overnight despite what you may see on Pinterest.
Pinterest is full of click bait articles
Pinterest is the site that gave me hope with blogging and made me believe that I could make thousands in just a few short months. Those articles are full of clickbait titles to get you to their site and sign up for their free thing. I get it. It’s business, but you also need to learn how to weed through the clickbait to see what is really going on.
social media is all online influencers
Even if you are not making money on social media you are still considered an influencer. What you are typing and sharing on social media is influencing others in either a negative or positive way. Be sure what you are putting out into the world is how you want to be portrayed.
what Dave Ramsey says isn’t the end all be all
We started following Dave Ramsey in 2015 and fell into his cult-like following soon after. A few years later I finally realized what was going on and pulled us away from Dave Ramsey and his toxicity. Yes, his harsh ways work for some people but the podcast was making me feel terrible about myself. We are still on the path to debt freedom without Dave Ramsey.
Budgeting is key to financial success
Having a plan for your money and understanding how you are spending money is key. If you don’t have a budget you may be able to pay your bills but get ahead but you don’t truly know what is going on. YNAB has opened up our eyes to budgeting and has put us on a path to financial success. We can clearly see what we value because of our budget and how our choices impact the different parts of our life.
goals are important
You need to have defined goals and a path to meet your goal. My favorite method is using S.M.A.R.T. goals because the process works through defining the goal and how to reach it. We have used S.M.A.R.T. goals over the past few years to meet financial obligations we were working toward.
college is overrated
I was that girl that was so excited for college and continuing to learn. Then I went away to school, got into a serious relationship, moved back home, Great Recession hit, and I dropped out of school. Wow, that’s a mouthful. Here’s the thing – I made that decision to drop out of school with the recession because I knew I wouldn’t get a job. I couldn’t continue to put myself into debt for a return that wouldn’t be there when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2010. I completed my associate’s degree and went to work full time. I have been with the company for 15 years and make the same, if not more, than what I would have made as an elementary school teacher.
Going to college is a great goal but it shouldn’t be the ultimate goal if it doesn’t align with your goals and values.
overnight success doesn’t exist
It may seem like someone came into the spotlight overnight and was super successful right out of the gate. That just doesn’t happen. You didn’t see the years of blood, sweat, and tears that went into the moment of finally hitting success. Success is a long road.
the Joneses are broke
You’ve heard the term “keeping up with the Joneses” right? The nice cars, big house, white picket fence, kids etc. That all comes at a price. The Joneses are broke and aren’t the people you should strive to be. You should live within your means because no one really cares what you are driving or where you live.
quit the comparisons
Stop comparing yourself to your peers. This doesn’t do anything positive for you. When we stop comparing ourselves we can finally be content with what we do have and this ultimately leads to our happiness.
you never truly feel like an adult
I may be turning 31 but I still don’t feel like an adult. That may sound crazy since I have been married for almost 10 years, have bought and sold houses, have been in my career for 15 years, and invest in my future. However, I still feel like a kid most of the time despite all of the adult things I do every day.
shutting off and relaxing is important
Turning off your phone, computer, televisions – anything that distracts you, once in a while is so important. You need to relax and let go of all of that added stress. You need to decompress and really give yourself a bit of self-care to continue to thrive.
saving is essential
I have to end with a money lesson because this one was hard for me to learn. You can’t spend every dollar you have. You need to invest money, build an emergency fund, and be intentional with how you are using your money. Saving is essential. This will help you when times get tough now and you’ll build a nest egg for the future. Having money in the bank gives you peace of mind.
life is made up of hard lessons
Each day we are hit with new lessons. We need to take these in stride and make the best out of every situation. Life is hard and that’s okay. We are all doing the best we can and growing from it.