As we are nearing the end of 2019, I wanted to share 10 Things I Learned This Year. Why? I pray that it helps someone to know that as people we continually grow, change, and are set free by things that transpire in life.
1. Grief is Real.
November 16th was 1 year since my grandmother took her rest. It has become easier yet, I still am processing and working through grief. As I shared in Grieving Well, “There is not a perfect way to grieve it takes time.” Though I am in a different place it hits me at times when I least expect it. I could be having a conversation with a friend about my childhood and “Boom.” The memories come flooding in and I miss my grandma. The best part of it is the memories are so near and dear to my heart that I shed tears of joy.
My Grandmother Mildred and I.
2. Hard Work Pays Off.
I have been working hard this year on several projects. These projects are professional and personal. I am thankful to say that God has allowed me to learn more about leadership, myself, and working well with others. There were times I wanted to quit or walk away from projects. I had people encouraging me to do those very things because of the biases I was facing.
I remember my grandmother taught me to never quit and I haven't always followed her teachings, in this situation I did. Hard work pays off and is rewarded.
3. Be Aware of The Ones That Don’t Clap.
Whew Chile, I can go on and on about this topic. Yet, I learned I cannot share everything with everyone because people will not be happy for me. You may have read this before, it’s true! Be aware and observe it. Move accordingly and pray for them.
Relationships change just as people do. In due time, I have listened to what people will say whether it is friends or family (or they consider you family), actions speak louder than words. Those words friend and family should be greatly considered before they are used.
"Friendships should not feel like a competition,
a one-up, jealousy, or be a comparison scheme."
Comparison is the thief of joy. What is happening for a friend should be CELEBRATED without questioning what is currently happening in your life. Be mindful of individuals who use the word "friend" and are not genuine.
4. Be Intentional About Growth.
Growth has allowed me to learn so much about myself this year. Growth has taught me to tolerate people's messiness less and be vocal to others when they demonstrate toxic behaviors. Growth has taught me to work on myself and complete more self-assessments. Being intentional about growth has shown me that I can do more than what I think and has allowed me to rely more on God and less on people.
5. Live Your Life.
This year I promised myself I would travel more and I am living my life. I use to emphasize on how others saw me and what others thought of me. Yet, I am thankful for freedom and growth to know that I should live my life. Live my life in a way that I am being who God created me to be.
In front of the CN Tower, Toronto, Canada
6. Work Your Vision.
I have struggled with this in the past and allowed my perfections to keep me at a standstill or procrastinate. I am great with encouraging others and this year I had to encourage myself more to work my vision. Working my vision for me is setting aside time to write, do the things that God has placed on my heart to do, and following through.
7. Lead With Love.
Amid my SUPER busy schedule and daily life, I had to learn to lead with love. Leading with love is allowing others to have the same grace that God bestows upon me. Leading with love is being silent when I could respond and using wisdom with handling conversations and sensitive issues. Leading with love is being patient and listening to understand instead of to respond.
This meant sometimes I had to go for a walk or leave the office/room before I responded to an email, individual, or my group. Was this EASY?!? Nope, it is a learning process and allowed me to be patient and use wisdom. Words mean something and depending on how they are read, written, and communicated they can be detrimental.
8. Step Back & Set Boundaries
Gosh, this year I found myself becoming more frustrated and complaining about things that were out of my control. I had to learn how to step back the hard way at the beginning of the year. Step back means not responding emotionally to a situation yet, taking out time to process whatever you are feeling at that time. Disclaimer: GOD's work in progress).
(Self Care). Also, I am learning how to set boundaries in all relationships. I have been known to be a giver. Whether it's my time or resources you name it I am there. I am continually learning it's perfectly normal to be wise about my time, resources. and to say "NO." Saying NO is great and something I no longer feel guilty about using those words. I cannot be there for everyone at all times if I am not taking care of ME
I say this to friends "time is valuable." Time cannot be returned or given back so I am mindful of what, with whom, and how I spend my time.
Professionally, I set boundaries at work. I have 2 offices (I work in a 2 story building): 1 is on the 2nd level (upstairs) with a door and windows facing outside. The other is on the 1st level (downstairs) open concept "Sprint room" in which I work with software developers. I call it the "cubby hole" because my second office has walls but doesn't have a door. Without the door, I am constantly interrupted as people can just walk up and start a conversation.
How do I set boundaries in the workplace?
If someone approaches the "cubby hole" and wants to have a conversation or meeting per se and I am working on tasks or with developers. I refer them to check my calendar and send me a google calendar invite. If I am not busy I will give them a time to return.
If you are reading this it may seem like a bit much. Imagine you are working on this MAJOR project and you are pulled in 6 different directions and have meetings all day. Well, that has been my life for the past year. I am THANKFUL for it yet, I had to learn to set boundaries in the workplace. Setting those boundaries helps as it is easy for me to lose sight of my current task or focus. (Bonus: I use Google Task List or Notes App in my phone to help with time management)
9. Grant Others Grace.
Grace is needed when you are leading others, working with others, dealing with frustrations, or just learning patience. Granting others' grace shows kindness. This year I was leaning and depending on God, even more, to teach me how to grant others grace especially dealing with people in a leadership role has shown me it is needed.
10. Keep God First.
Last and not least at all, he is FIRST. Putting God First and keeping him first is a must. I continually learn hoe imperative to my well being it is that he is head of my life. I have attempted to do A LOT on my own and though it can be successful the emotions, the anxiety and the lack of patience I have show that he needs to be ALL UP IN IT. I encourage you to KEEP GOD FIRST. One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 3:5-6:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend
on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take."
Even though I am growing I find myself coming back to this scripture when my will is getting in the way. It reminds me that "God's Got This" and he doesn't need my help at all. All he wants for me to do is to let go of the steering wheel so that he can drive and the direction he has for my life is GOOD.
I hope this is an inspiration for you to reflect over this year and write down 10 or more things that you have learned.
"Embrace God, Love You, and Be Fashioned For Him."
- Shishandra D.