Some moments in our lives feel like an impasse. Yet, they mark a watershed and those very moments become building blocks of our identity and, sometimes boisterously, often silently answer the big question, ‘Who am I?’. This year has been a memorable chapter of transformation for many of us, and somewhere in the whirlwind of silence, a chapter of grit and resilience for me.
After a year of searching for answers and building out lists of action items, below are my guiding principles for putting up a good fight in a somewhat confusing world.
Just take the first step. As daunting as it may seem, the first step is the start of any journey, and while I may not be able to walk the full mile, the movement of my feet will eventually get me there. Trust my own work.
Identify my value system and actively build alignment with it. Do the necessary work to find my core and my value matrix. Act in accordance.
I’m the story and I’m the author and I get to control my narrative. Probably the most important and not limited to authentically sharing one’s story. It’s not enough for me to say this is who I am, and this is my story; I have it in me to get lost in my story — find new angles, share it with a friend, get feedback, course-correct, write it again.
It’s okay if I’m in the minority: while the likability conundrum is one that most of us want to crack, there is something special about showing up as who I am — even if I find myself in the minority. It makes the rest of the journey more comfortable and kinder.
Pick my battles. Although being authentic to myself is super important, I have to constantly drill in that not everything will be worth my time and energy. If it’s not my circus, I don’t have to worry about the monkeys. Let go.
But don’t back down if a core value feels compromised. Differences in opinion and worldviews can often be tough to navigate but we are guaranteed only our own ground. I can’t always control the outcomes, but I can speak from my experience and stand up for my belief system.
When tired, do something else. The most beautiful thing about confidence is that it doesn’t have boundaries — confidence-building in one part of your life permeates and shows up in different parts. When I’m tired, I’m learning to pause and find something new that I enjoy, works better if I’m actually good at it 😉
Be my own best friend: Our stories are different, and our journeys can be too lonely, so I have to be my own best friend, which isn’t only about being there for myself in difficult times but also around for the fun and frivolous. Watch that movie, spend more hours reading, spend that extra 30 minutes browsing through reels on Instagram.
Communicate: outside of my comfort zone. It’s easier to talk to old friends but I have to do the work to expand my world.
Help is almost always a phone call away — ask for it. Hopefully soon enough, a new world will again be a flight away.
Leave if you must. My favourite quote to have read this year, ‘life isn’t short, it’s the longest thing you’ll ever do’ and it will be punctuated by acts of letting go and leaving behind, so go if you must. If it’s a long game, which life most definitely is, I have to hold often.
Forgive myself and others but remember my journey. It is, after all, what got me so far.
Start from the start: As I evaluate myself, I have to start from the start and brush off the recency biases that creep into my self-assessment.
Celebrate me every chance I get. Life is busy and noisy; actively take moments to celebrate.
I have no doubt, this story is and will continue to be a tango in stilettos for most parts, but this year with all its heartbreaks, has been metamorphic.
As I continue to dance with a flurry of feelings, some of which still make me uncomfortable, I feel ready, albeit reluctantly, to be seen because now I see me.
While this story is mine, it’s touched by the magic of many friends I can call mentors, a pillar of a family, my therapist, and the wonderful women at leap.club!