20 Life Lessons You Can Only Learn From Branching Out On Your Own

Earlier this year, I found myself getting rid of nearly everything and moving to a far away place. This was a calculated decision nearly months in the making.

Two years ago on a blistery, January Wyoming morning, in a moment like any other in that point in my life, I was running around frantically trying to conquer the world before most people have their morning coffee.

I was sifting through papers, talking on one phone, texting on the other, while emailing from my laptop, and getting dressed to appear on the morning news. That was the exact moment reality hit me hard; I had exactly no quality of life. None.

I dropped everything, sat down for the first time in months, and simply wrote on a piece of paper, “Define quality of life.” This catalytic moment forever changed my direction in life and my person as a whole.

With the then requisite aid of melatonin, I slept on it and the next day defined quality of life for me. This definition quickly became a tear stained, handwritten wake-up letter to myself ending with a very poignant summation: A simple, happy life of abundance.

I then made a list of everything, absolutely everything that made me happy. I sat back, took a deep breath and read both. I was right; I had no quality of life because I wasn’t doing a damn thing that made me happy. I had allowed myself to become a zombie.

I sorted through the debris of my chaotic life and mapped my way towards my happy. I chose to close my practice, resign from my non-profit, leave my close-knit clan, get rid of anything I couldn’t squeeze in my car and move to a warmer local.

The move went perfectly. It was as though I had dreamt it into reality. I then promptly proceeded to metaphorically fall flat on my face with an impact so hard it echoed through all my friendships and family relationships.

Bills and unexpected expenses found me far before employment did. Complications made all my hard work begin to unravel, and loose ends began to multiply.

The thing about falling is there is the harsh impact, the pain and then the choice to stay down or get back up. Within that moment is the truest lesson of self. I was scraped, bruised, concussed, embarrassed, and I was better for it. I’ve learned a lot from my great swing and miss.

Mostly, I learned I didn’t miss at all; I got exactly what I needed.

Impact Lessons:

1.) You’ll continue to fall until you resolve the issues tripping you.

Everywhere you go, there you are and so are your issues.

2.) Progress isn’t all or nothing.

Things slowly, but surely, get better if you continue to put in the work. Each day, look around to see your small triumphs and recognize them. Let the fruits of your labor motivate you to continue.

3.) If you’re going a million different directions, you’ll never go forward.

Multitasking, especially in a frantic state of mind, will only make things worse. In this moment, you have one task and you need to be present for it.

4.) Asking for help makes you stronger, not weaker, if you let it.

Check your pride at the door. It’s just more baggage to carry. Vulnerability attracts support.

5.) Listen. Truly listen.

Each moment has something to tell you. Listening is a learned skill, not a given. Listen, don't react and don't plan out your response. Listen and let it sink in.

6.) Take a break.  Breathe.

Stressors will be there when you get back. You will handle them better when you’re restored.

7.) Keep putting in the work.

Not only does it get better, you never know who your actions, choices and efforts are inspiring. You are your job. The benefits are amazing.

8.) Get out of your head.

When things seem their worst, it’s easy to become overwhelmed in despair. Quickly you’ll become self-absorbed and angry. Your actions, emotions and wellbeing all derive from the same energy.

If you’re busy doing something, anything, you’ll forget to feed the negativity monster and it will starve. In its absence, positivity and progress will thrive.

9.) Move!

The worst day and anxiety can be kept at bay with a great, free workout. The world is your gym and there is peace is physical exertion.

10.) Jealousy is love and hate at the same time, not to mention self-defeating.

Everyone has their own struggles and triumphs. Don’t waste your valuable time envying them. Learn from them or spend your time investing in your own triumphs. (Another lesson could be that there are lessons everywhere, including in lyrics of Canadian rappers.)

11.) Going hungry will forever change a person.

12.) Kharma is like everything else in life: what you make of it.

13.) Read between your lines.

Find the gap between who you say/think you are, and who your actions show you to be. There you’ll find your issues keeping you from success.

14.) Lessons will come from the most unexpected places.

See #10 for an example.

15.) Save some of you for you.

Restoration is a lengthy process that cannot be hastened. Only time and great amounts of self-work can replenish you. Drop by drop you begin to fill back up.

16.) If it doesn’t make you happy, healthy or money, forget about it.  No exceptions, ever.

17.) You’re human and that’s okay.

18.) This too shall pass.

19.) Take time for a good, deep, long cry or the time will find you.

Crying serves its purpose. If you hold it in, you’ll find yourself bawling uncontrollably at a very inconvenient time. Have a glass of water and a good cry on your own terms.

20.) There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.

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