I just completed my Decade in Review Workbook and I wanted to post some reflections I had on the whole process and why I created the Workbook the way I did. To get an in depth breakdown on how to do a Decade in review Check out this post.
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As I worked through this process of creating and completing the Workbook I realized that it’s so easy to look back at these 10 years and beat myself up but who does that serve? Beating myself up will not help me to learn. It will not allow me to grow or change the person that I was so why do it?
One thing I really struggled with is questioning whether I made the right choices: Did I make the right choice to go on that big trip? Did I waste my time on that trip? In that relationship? Why did I go to grad school? Why was it so hard? Why did I change my plans for grad school? Was it a waste of time? Now that I’m changing careers should I have even gone to grad school what was I thinking?
“We spend a lot of time focusing on what we’re experiencing rather than how we’re experiencing it. We forget that we can change our experience of anything simply by shifting our point of focus. Any situation can be experienced with more love when we choose to see it through a lens of appreciation. Even the tough times can be seen through this lens.”
Following this quote by Gabby Bernstein, what can I look back on in these 10 years and appreciate instead of beat myself up? Can I appreciate all the lost time and money on a trip that eventually led to a breakup and wasn’t what I needed or wanted at the time? Can I appreciate that relationship even though it left me doubting myself and my choices? Can I find appreciation in all the time and energy that went into grad school even though I’ve ultimately chosen to go on a different path? Can I appreciate myself and the fact that I needed to go to grad school to fully decide to leave the field?
I found the more time I spent causally reflecting on the last decade the more my mind went to regrettable or bad experiences instead of good or meaningful ones. I decided that this was not a constructive way to complete a decade in review so I decided to pick one thing to rejoice over and one lesson or event to learn from for each year.
This practice felt much more constructive. Rather than beat myself up and dwell on negatives I saw that there was a lot each year that was good and constructive. In doing this I started to develop or notice themes for each year. I have already written about how my word for the next year and decade is GUTSY– I want to step out of my comfort zone I want to try new things that pushed me to grow. So, I decide each year of the last decade needed a word.
I loved picking the word for each year. It really helped me to put things into perspective. It is so easy to dwell on a few things or events and think it was all a waste but when I look back I realize how much I have to be proud of. I realized in picking a word for each year that each year was its own season in my life that brought me to a new place, even if some events in that year were bad or regrettable. Each one lead to a part of me that I am now.
When I look at this 10-year review there is a lot that I am proud of. Things like my trip in South America where I lived in Chile for 6 months learned Spanish spent time by myself a lot of time by myself and really learned how to tap into my spiritual side and my intuition. I really found my connection to myself and to God on that trip and a peace in being alone that I never knew before. I also gained a lot of confidence in myself and in my abilities because traveling by yourself takes a lot of courage motivation and guts. I also am so proud of my time in grad school of the relationship I found that turned into this beautiful marriage, and of course having my baby. But there’s a lot I look at in these 10 years that make me seriously question what I was doing. That make me not so proud. There are a lot of regrets and a lot of questions and self-doubt.
And of course, looking back over the last decade there is so much joy and so much pain: my marriage, my baby, my travels, learning about myself and the many of obstacles I overcame, and of course the huge hole in my heart: my mom
One thing this last decade really showed me was what it looks like to be in depression and what it looks like to ask for help. For so long I struggled over the loss of my mom. I struggled with motivation. I thought I should be able to help myself and get out of the depression, but I struggled. I finally realized that thinking I had to do it on my own was serving no one. I finally realized that I just needed help. I was even hard of myself for thinking I wasted so much time being depressed instead of getting the help I needed because once I did get help it changed everything for me.
I also realized from reflecting on this decade is that I can grow from something painful and awful. I can take something hard and difficult and make it something better, make myself something better, or new or different.
Another thing I realize is that it’s useless to look at the past and question myself. It is only useful to look at the past if I’m going to use it as a way to grow. In that vein what can be learned from my experiences?
I need to trust myself
It’s OK to ask for help
It’s not valuable to focus on pleasing others without doing what’s true for myself
It’s OK to try new things and then decide that it’s not for you
Trying to control only leads to chaos and pain and confusion
Fulfillment is not just feeling happy it’s feeling everything: pain joy sadness overwhelm gratitude and so much more. Trying only to feel the happy or good thoughts is not what it is about.
Now looking towards the future what do I want my next 10 years to look like? I don’t want so many regrets but really I don’t think that’s about making wrong choices it’s about re framing my mind to see those choices as ways I can learn and grow because if I am not making wrong choices then I am not being Gutsy, and my word for the decade and the year is Gutsy.
I want to step out of my comfort zone I want to try new things that push me to grow and I will make some wrong choices and decisions that will lead me to unknown places and instead of regretting those decisions I will re frame my mind to be able to see where I can learn and grow and change.
After completing the Workbook I reflected on what I learned from each experience. What jumped out at me was a common theme:
Not trusting myself and holding back.
Or the opposite:
The things I am most proud of over the last decade all required me to step out of my comfort zone and to trust myself and just do it.
I need to remember that moving forward. This helped me to see the area I wanted to focus on and improve most the next decade is trusting that I can do hard things- I have and I will. I am Gutsy and I will be Gutsy.
I hope you have enjoyed this reflection and use the workbook to create your own insights into how awesome you are and your potential for the next decade!
Don’t forget to get the FREE Workbook HERE