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37 Life Lessons in 37 Years

Today is my 37th birthday.  And, I must say, it’s been a pretty interesting ride so far.  As I look back over the years and 8874397636_8fce870bcf_omany phases of my life, I realize how each stage, success, stumble, triumph and heartache has had a significant impact on where I stand right now.  And despite the rough patches, I love it all.

From a shy yet studious little girl, to an artsy and somewhat rebellious teenager, to a happy-go-lucky big-dreaming twenty something with a bit of a wild size, my metamorphosis were plentiful in my early years.  Now into my thirties, my heart has grown a few sizes larger and overflows with motherly love as I’ve discovered what matters most in life.  And, my entrepreneurial experiences have been a crash course in lessons of life, business and self that, at times, brought me to the brink of what I thought I could handle, only to be rewarded nicely for sticking it out and seeing it through.

As I continue to step more fully into myself each day and bring to light my mission of helping others build their own dreams with joy and ease, I’ve racked my brain to think of my top 37 life lessons so far. On this day of celebrating another trip around the sun, I share these with you and hope you find inspiration as I have. Enjoy!

Top 37 Life Lessons So Far…

  1. Happiness comes from within.  We spend way too much of our lives looking for outside validation and approval that eludes us. Turns out, it’s been an inside job all along.  Go inward.

  2. Be grateful for everything.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  Our entire life is a precious gift.  The pleasure, the pain – it’s all part of our path.

  3. Subtle shifts in perception will transform your entire life. When feeling fearful, angry, hurt – simply choose to see a situation differently.

  4. In being true to yourself, you can’t possibly make everybody else happy.  Still, it’s better to risk being disliked for living your truth than to be loved for what you are pretending to be.

  5. The world is our mirror.  What we love in others is a reflection of what we love about ourselves. What upsets us about others is a strong indication of what we need to look at more closely within ourselves.

  6. Everybody comes into our life for a reason.  It is up to us to be open to the lesson they are meant to teach.  The more someone rubs us the wrong way, the greater the lesson. Take notes.

  7. Trust.  In troubled times, just know that the Universe has your back and everything is going to be alright.  If you’re not there yet, trust in hindsight you will understand.  Your higher good is being supported, always.

  8. Never take things personally.  What others do is a reflection of what’s going on in their own life and probably has little or nothing to do with you.

  9. A walk in nature cures a lot.  Taking in some fresh air and the beautiful landscape of this earth is amazingly head-clearing, grounding, and mood-lifting.  Bonus:  you can learn a whole lot about life in your observation of the awesomeness which is nature.

  10. Hurt people hurt people.  Love them anyway.  Although, it’s totally okay to love them from a distance.

  11. You have to feel it to heal it.  Bring your fears and weaknesses front and center and shine a blazing spotlight on them because the only way out is through. The hurt of facing the truth is SO worth it in the long run, I swear.

  12. Perfectionism is an illusion.  A painful one at that.  Ease up. Strive for excellence, sure, but allow yourself room to make mistakes and permission to be happy regardless of outcome.

  13. Take the  blinders off.  Don’t become so laser-focused on your own goals and desires that you miss out on the beauty in life and the people around you. The world is stunningly beautiful when you walk around with eyes wide open.

  14. Celebrate the journey.  It’s not all about the destination.  Savor all of your successes, even the small ones.

  15. Forgiveness is not so much about the other person.  It’s about you and for you so that you can gain the peace and freedom you deserve.  Forgive quickly and often.

  16. We are all incredibly intuitive.  When we learn to become still and listen, we can tap into some pretty amazing primal wisdom.  Listen to the quiet whisper of your heart. It knows the way.

  17. Let your soul shine!  Be authentic. There  is nobody else on this earth just like you.  Step into your truth wholeheartedly and live and breathe your purpose.

  18. We are powerful creators. Seriously, bad-asses. With intention, focus, and persistence — anything is possible.  Know this.

  19. I am full of light.  You are full of light.  We are all full of light.  Some cast shadows on their own brightness.  Be a beacon of light to others and show them the way.

  20. Don’t take life too seriously! Nobody gets out alive anyway. Smile.  Be goofy.  Take chances.  Have fun. 🙂

  21. Surround yourself with people who love and support you.  And, love and support them right back! Life is too short for anything less.

  22. Learn the delicate dance. Have big beautiful dreams and vision.  Chase them with much passion. But, also hold on to them all ever so lightly.  Be flexible and willing to flow as life comes at you.

  23. Giving is the secret to receiving.  Share your wisdom, your love, your talents.  Share freely and be amazed at how much beauty in life flows back to you.

  24. On that note, be careful not to give too much.  If you empty out your own cup completely, you will have nothing left to give.  Balance is key.

  25. Say ‘YES!’ to everything that lights you up.  Say ‘no’, unapologetically, to anything that doesn’t excite you or you don’t have the bandwidth for.  Time is one of our most precious resources that we can never get back. Manage it wisely.

  26. Sometimes we outgrow friendships.  It doesn’t mean they’re bad or you’re bad.  It just means you’re on different paths. Hold them in your heart, but when they start to hurt or hold you back, it’s time to give space or let go.

  27. Fear is often a very good indicator of what we really want and need in our life.  Let it be your compass and enjoy the exciting adventure it leads you on.

  28. Overcoming your fears is one of the most empowering things you can ever do for yourself.  You’ll prove to yourself you can truly accomplish anything! Major self-confidence booster.

  29. Our bodies are our vehicle to our dreams.  Treat them with love and fuel them with the best health to feel vibrant and energized.  But, never obsess over image.  Looks are subjective and will fade in time, anyway.  Feeling good, healthy, and comfortable in our own skin is what matters most.

  30. Let those that you love know it often and enthusiastically.  You can never say it or show it too much. Your time, total presence, love, and genuine concern for their wellness is the greatest gift of all.

  31. The present moment is where it’s at.  It’s the only one promised to any of us.  Learn from your past & enjoy the beautiful memories, but don’t cling or let them haunt you.  And, dream big and be excited about the future, but don’t become obsessed.  Love this moment, always.

  32. Life is full of highs and lows.  We need them both to grow to our fullest potential. Just hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

  33. We are all connected as one human family. Nobody is better or worse than anyone else — just at different stages of our journeys and dealing with life the best way we know how.  Recognize that the other person is you.

  34. Practice daily gratitude for all the blessings in your life, large and small. Not only is this a high vibe practice that feels amazing, in practicing regularly you are creating space for even more abundance – of joy, love, health, and prosperity.

  35. We are not the center of the Universe, although our ego can make us feel that way at times.  Step outside of that way of thinking and see the world and other people’s perspective in a whole new beautiful light.

  36. The world needs more love, light, and laughter.  Go be love. <3

  37. You are the guru.  For much of our lives, we have been told what do, how to think, what looks good, what “success” is. You don’t have to buy into any of it. Feel free to peel back the layers. Think for yourself.  Break the mold. When you stop doing what everybody else wants you to do and start following your own intuition, you will be ridiculously happy.

In looking back at your own life, realize that every high and low is all part of your amazing story. Own it!  Take cues and guidance from the Universe and you will continue to go on an incredible ride as you fully step into your truth and power.

Age is just a number, but the higher it gets, the more wisdom and life experience we’ve amassed.  You are never going to be younger than you are in this present moment again.  So embrace it, love it, and enjoy it fully!

Here’s to many more beautiful years of seeking-truth, questioning all that does not sit right, and making your greatest impact in the world!  I look forward to adding more lessons as life continues to give me the opportunity to learn, grow, transform, share and expand.  Hope you will too.

With much love,
Dawn

(For more inspiration, visit the Dawnsense site and sign up for weekly love letters. Also, join the supportive Dawnsense community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist – Top 10 Reasons to Chill Out

Not That PerfectionistIt was the end of a typical weekday at my house: a moving and shaking day at the office, home for some giggles and play with my young daughters, dinner, baths and bed. Finally, I get some time to myself – hooray! Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a massive pile of clean laundry that has been waiting to be put away for a whole week now. Momentarily, I consider putting it away, but … naah! Instead, I decide to grab my laptop, prop my feet up and work on some writing. I giggled to myself realizing that previously in my life I would have never been able to do that. That tiny bit of clutter would have gnawed away at me, making me super-uneasy and totally unable to relax in-the-moment.

You see, I am a recovering perfectionist. And, boy, I had it bad! Aside from my obsession with cleanliness and everything in its place, I would usually have multiple projects going on at any given point in time, agonizing over every detail, which, of course, needed to be executed juuuust right. Upon completion I would say in one long breath, “Woo-hoo, that was great, finally did it, okay, what’s next?” I used to pour over blog posts editing and re-editing them in the quest for perfect arrangement of the exact right words until they were finally worthy to be released (maybe). I used to work out 6 or 7 days a week and it would take an act of God for me to actually skip a workout!

For years, I would brush my neurosis off as, “I am just built that way. It’s in my DNA.” And, to some extent, this is true. I have a lot of passion and energy eager to pour out. But, what is different these days is my self-talk around this energy. The story I tell myself. I am enough, already. I still have high ambition and put tremendous amounts of love in what I do, but I give myself a break. I have loosened my grasp on expected outcomes and value peace and harmony waaaay more than flawlessness.

So, what was the wake-up call that helped me make the switch from high-strung to mellowed-out? These are the top 10 realizations that I made about perfectionism that helped me along in my journey to become easy like Sunday morning:

  1. “Perfect” is an illusion. It’s striving for the impossible. Even if this high-level of excellence can be met in a particular moment, don’t blink because it is a fleeting ideal. Perfection has an insatiable appetite, and the constant expectation of it sets you up for a whole lot of disappointment, stress, and unhappiness. All the while, the fun of life whizzes right by.

  2. Perfectionism stifles creativity and blocks the birth of fresh ideas. Sometimes we just need to throw the paint on the canvas, allow the notes to be strummed, or let the words pour out. When you mix intense worry into the equation, self-confidence erodes and the artistic flow becomes suppressed. Is everything just right? How it will be perceived by others? This type of thinking takes us out of alignment with our creative source and smothers the flames of imagination into submission.

  3. The ever-present quest for perfection is merely a shield from vulnerability. When we do everything perfectly, then we cannot be judged or criticized. It’s an excuse not to be vulnerable. Just as staying busy in the process of constantly trying to achieve the unachievable is a good way to avoid having to look at and deal with our “stuff.” (And we all have “stuff”). Unfortunately, the only way to heal is to deal (as in facing things head on). The shielding of perfectionism is merely a coping mechanism, which works temporarily, but meanwhile, whatever we’re suppressing only continues to gain more power over us.

  4. Vulnerability shielding inhibits connection. For me, I realized that if I really wanted to be a great writer, coach, mother, and friend who really connects with others then I’d have no other choice but to let down my shield and allow my authentic self to be fully exposed. This means being perfectly imperfect at times, owning it, and granting others permission to do the same.

  5. There is a big difference between striving for excellence and perfectionism. It’s called actually enjoying what you are doing! It’s okay (great, even) to have high aspirations. Shoot for the stars. Go nuts! But, go easy on yourself along the way. Enjoy the journey. Don’t get so tripped up in the outcome that it sucks every ounce of joy out of the process

  6. Perfection is to life what those plastic covers are too a really nice sofa.  Sure, it keeps the dirt off, but what’s the point?? The guitar whose notes are strum slightly off at times is better than the untouched guitar collecting dust on the wall. The laughed in, played in, loved in, house is better than the spotlessly clean one where you can eat off the kitchen floor. The published, yet slightly imperfect, blog or book that allows somebody else to have an “a-ha” moment or inspiration is way better than the “almost perfect” one that is still hiding away, never to be experienced by another soul. Don’t miss the point of life in pursuit of way-too-high standards.

  7. Self-worth is not determined by any outward measurement. This goes for any number on a scale, how clean the house is, how many feathers are in our cap, etc. It’s what’s on the inside that matters most. And, it starts with loving self-talk, not the “I’m not good enough’s” associated with striving for perfect.

  8. It’s even scarier. Yes, it can be scary sharing your passion with the world (whatever the medium). But, what’s even scarier is not sharing your passion with the world because you felt it didn’t meet your own ridiculously high standards. The reality is that nobody’s opinion of your work is going to be quite as critical as your own, anyway. And, even if it is. So what? It’s just somebody else’s opinion. Be passionate, create, love, share — this is living!

  9. Because what perfectionism really is: Throwing an amazing party and forgetting to have a good time because you are worried about some silly little details that nobody else even noticed or actually cares about! (Yes, I might have actually done this before *whistles*).

  10. Perfectionist parents create perfectionist kids. And, I want my girls to grow up knowing unconditional self-love, acceptance of what it is, and enjoyment of life. ‘Nuff said.

Perfectionism is a way of closing off and controlling things. It may look pretty on the outside but in reality it’s cold, isolated and dark. It’s the cracks that let the light in, anyway. So, go on and ease up a bit. Let some light in and shine on!

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