Hi friends. It’s been awhile. Five weeks to be exact. I did not plan to take a hiatus from the podcast, but sometimes, life throws you a curveball and it’s important to focus your time, energy and attention on the things that matter most.
And for me, in the craziness of the past month, that meant setting aside the podcast for several weeks. It’s not something I had intended to do. In fact, I had big plans for sharing a few great interviews and even a year-in-review clip show. But instead, I realized setting the show aside for several weeks was something I needed to do to protect my sanity and the health of my family.
Why I Took a Short Break from the Show
Here’s what happened…
First, my son was sick and we were worried he had COVID. Thankfully, he did not. But on the same day we got a negative test result for James, my husband was exposed to COVID, which put him into a two-week quarantine. Out of an abundance of caution for me and James, we went to stay with my in-laws to avoid possible exposure.
Thankfully, James and I had somewhere we could go. And while we come from a place of incredible privilege that we had a safe (and free) place to stay, it was challenging for our family. My two-year-old son, James, didn’t understand why he couldn’t see his Dad. Plus, we had to spend Thanksgiving apart. While it was certainly not the end of the world, it was disappointing and sad not to be together.
And on top of it all, we were dealing with some pretty big personal issues at the time that demanded a lot of our time and energy.
The good news is that through it all, none of us got sick. And we all made it to the other side. But it was a rollercoaster of a few weeks. And I realized that for me to stay healthy and productive, I needed to take some things off my plate instead of trying to operate with the business as usual.
The Key Lesson of 2020
And if I were to think about it, that’s what a lot of 2020 has been all about. It’s about learning to adapt quickly when life doesn’t go as planned (which seems to happen weekly, if not daily). And then shifting priorities to the essentials.
Just in the past few days, I was reminded of this when a friend approached me about a new marketing project for Blue Kite, my brand marketing company. It would have meant some additional revenue for my business, which is definitely a welcome thing before the holidays.
However, it was also going to mean shifting around a ton of work and putting in some long hours right before the holidays. Even though the financial benefit would have been nice, ultimately, it was not the thing that made sense for me right now––both mentally and emotionally.
When I said as much to her, she responded with the most lovely response. She said, “If 2020 has taught me anything, it has taught me to focus on the essentials (time, health and happiness) and not try to shoehorn in tasks that add stress.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. And in hearing that from her, I breathed a sigh of relief and immediately felt lighter. That confirmed I made the right choice.
The Importance of Healthy Boundaries
Boundary setting has never been my strong suit.
However, with the heaviness of the pandemic and challenges of the life we’re living in now, I think it’s more important than ever to listen to our bodies, pay attention to what our hearts are telling us. Or, as my mom would say, listen to your gut. God gave us intuition for a reason. The problem is we’re not always so good at listening to it (or at least I’m not).
Instead, I push through and do all of the things I have to do––even when it means de-prioritizing my health, happiness and time with my family.
But, during the pandemic and especially during the past month, I’m learning to set better boundaries.
It’s about being okay with doing less, instead of more.
It’s about learning which things you must do versus want-to-do.
It’s about stripping away the non-essentials to focus on what’s most important.
Sometimes, that means saying “no” to things. Even things that you want to do because it’s not the most important thing at the moment.
I think that’s been one of the most important lessons of 2020––learning how to identify what’s most important and being okay with letting go of the rest.
I don’t know about you, but for far too long, I’ve said “yes” to plenty of things I shouldn’t because I feel like I have to––because of society pressure or expectations I’ve placed on myself.
But the strange irony is that in the quieter, slower moments of this year, it seems easier to discern what matters. For me, that’s my family, my health, my time, my happiness.
That matters way more to me than trying to please others or trying to live up to my own exceedingly high expectations.
It means slowing down instead of always trying to go faster.
It means doing my best. And then letting go of the rest. Because, after all, my best is enough.
The One Thing We Can Control
I think most of us will remember 2020 as the year life didn’t go as planned. But the reality is that life never really has gone as planned. We have fooled ourselves into thinking that we can control our lives. And sure, while we may have been able to control more aspects of our lives in previous years, we’ve never been able to control what happens.
The only thing we can control is how we respond to it all.
In other words, we can choose to live in fear and focus on how hard life is or we can focus on the good.
I hope that despite the challenges of this year, we can also remember the sweet moments too. Because, after all, there is still joy and beauty in this challenging year.
There is still goodness.
There is still generosity.
There is still love.
The key is that we have to look for it.
Focusing on Gratitude
In the early days of the pandemic, I shared an episode about how to shift your perspective when things are hard. And I think the most important tip from that show was focusing on gratitude.
When we were struggling through cancer and infertility, my gratitude practice was one of the best things I did to improve my mindset and outlook on life during a really challenging time.
And I think that continues to be so important for us right now.
So, what can you be thankful for this year? What are the things that have brought you joy?
Take some time to think about that. I think it will help you improve your outlook when it feels like everything is really hard.
In addition to my wonderful little family, I am grateful for you.
I am grateful that I’ve had this outlet to share with you during this challenging year.
I started Make It Brave because I believe that the world would be a better place if we were all a little braver. I had no way to know just how important bravery would be for all of us in 2020.
We’ve needed bravery to thrive through the pandemic.
We’ve needed bravery to focus on taking care of our hearts and minds.
We’ve needed bravery to make necessary shifts to keep our businesses afloat.
We’ve needed bravery to speak out against systemic racism.
We’ve needed courage to show up and make our voices heard in the election.
We’ve needed bravery to make decisions to keep our families safe and healthy.
We’ve needed bravery to say no to things that put ourselves and others at risk.
And for each of us, that list might look different. But know this. The fact that you are here and made it through 2020 means that you are strong and brave. It means you can do hard things.
So thank you for being here and for your commitment to living a braver life. I am confident that you showing up to focus on your bravery is making an impact on the world around you.
Highlights from The Podcast in 2020
Like many people, I had high hopes for this year and this podcast. And while it’s easy to focus on where I might have fallen short, instead I want to celebrate where we are and what we’ve accomplished.
Since launching the podcast last year…
- We’ve published 63 episodes of the show (including this one).
- We’ve hosted 40 phenomenal guests, including guests from Canada, Australia and The Philippines.
- The show has been downloaded almost 6,000 times!
- We have listeners from 53 countries––outside of the US, our top countries are Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK and Belgium.
- And we have 160 awesome folks in our Make it Brave community on Facebook. If you’re not there yet, I encourage you to to join us! I’ve got some exciting things planned for the group in 2021, so if you want some extra motivation and accountability to make brave things happen next year, you’ll want to join in.
- We also launched 12 Make It Brave products, including t-shirts, travel mugs, notebooks, posters and notecards. You can check out the shop here.
- I also launched limited one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (and those who want to be). If you need help building a strategic plan, identifying what’s most important or simply need some accountability to help you move forward, coaching might be for you. You can learn more here.
Thank You for Being Here
When I look back at that list, I’m in awe of what we were able to create––especially during a pandemic.
Thank you so much for being here, for listening and for tuning in this year. 2020 has been a wild ride and I’m so grateful to have this space to talk with you about what it means to be brave during this time.
I am really excited for what 2021 has in store and I look forward to making the podcast even better for you and launching new ways to help you live braver in the New Year. I really hope you’ll join me.
Thanks again for listening. I’m so glad you’re here. If you like what you heard, I would love it if you would leave a review on iTunes and tell a friend.
I’ll be back with another new episode on Monday, January 4. I hope you’ll join me then.
In the meantime, I hope you have a Merry Christmas, a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year! I look forward to helping you make 2021 your bravest yet.
And just remember, whatever you do today friends, don’t forget to make it brave.