If you’ve heard my story, you know that I spent 24 years in an emotionally abusive marriage. My fairytale marriage turned into a nightmare. Now I am taking steps toward a brighter future with renewed energy, strength, and focus. I spent years in my marriage accommodating everyone else’s needs over my own. You may as well have called me the go “fetch it girl” because if anyone had a need, small or large, I dropped everything to go and get it. Now that my freedom papers have been signed, sealed, and delivered by the family district court judge, I’m ready to go after a brand new life. I know it is up to me to create a new paradigm and pursue a brighter future that prioritizes my needs too.

This year, I took on a leadership role in One Degree Shift. As a Community Ambassador, I am teaching and engaging others as I learn fundamental coaching and speaking skills. Every few months, I retreat for a weekend with my personal development coach and fellow Ambassadors to learn and practice techniques and fill my own cup. It is amazing how much my outlook has shifted and my passion has been rekindled from all that I am learning.

Here are three takeaways from our last retreat that can help you create a more hopeful future for yourself too.

The Power of Mindfulness Can Change Your Life

I am learning how important it is to live mindfully. Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. Since my divorce, I realize that I’ve been mostly running around like a chicken with its head cut off, jumping from one crisis to another.

This was never more clear to me than at our last Ambassador retreat. I arrived rushed, distracted, and more than an hour late for the start of it. I laid out all my excuses, thinking to myself “I am a busy professional woman and single parent and I am doing the best I can to get it all done.” The truth is, I had allowed everything and everyone else to be more important than me and my needs. Although, I am no longer in my marriage, I still allow my needs to be overshadowed by others. Now, I am learning to live a new paradigm. To do that, I had to begin seeing myself differently.

During the retreat, my personal coach lovingly held up a mirror, shining a light on my habitual behavior. (I love her style of coaching me. It works!) It was a powerful self-discovery. By the end of the weekend, I had committed to living more mindfully and that practice is serving me very well. Here’s what it looks like for me!

Every morning, I spend the first 10-15 minutes in quiet, mindful reflection. I sit or lie peacefully reflecting on the day ahead. I set my intention to approach anything that arises today with joy and peace. Some mornings I visualize my day, picturing the positive outcomes that I desire. I’ve also started a practice that I call mindful calendaring. This is important to seizing my day. Instead of unconsciously giving my time and attention to everyone else’s emergencies, I am mindfully considering my own needs and commitments first and tracking them on my calendar. Basically, I put myself on my to-do list.

Nothing has changed in my daily responsibilities, but I have changed. Just 15-minutes of mindfulness in the morning and prioritizing what’s important to me on my calendar helps me to experience a more peaceful life. This recovering “fetch it girl” is learning to be present for herself, not just for everyone else.

What Do You Do for Self-Care?

Do you know what F-L-Y stands for? It is a reminder to First Love Yourself. But, I was taught to think of others before myself. How about you? During our Ambassador retreats, I’ve learned the importance of making myself a big part of the care equation. When I focus on others all the time, I become depleted and worn down, leaving no space in my day, on my calendar, or in my life for myself and what’s important to my personal and spiritual growth. And, there is no way I can fully serve others without building my own inner strength and vitality. And, neither can you!

Since my divorce, not much has changed in the area of self-care. It has always felt selfish to make space for myself because I didn’t believe that I was deserving of it. Instead, I tried to prove my worthiness by my hustle, so I became a workhorse unwilling to stop long enough to rest. That is, until now! Self-care can include whatever you need it to be. It is something that regenerates your soul or makes you feel good, relaxed and joyful. For me, I enjoy a regular massage, naps, movie nights out, or a vacation get-away full of adventure and fun.

I hope you realize that you are important enough to take care of yourself too. You are valuable just the way you are. And it’s important to open up space in your own heart for yourself. By prioritizing yourself, you can get to a better place in life – a place of joy, contentment, satisfaction, and confidence about where you are headed. It is only when we learn to F-L-Y that we can fulfill our personal purpose.

What one thing can you do on a regular basis to honor and value yourself? Starting today! Share your self-care practice in the comments below.

You Don’t Have to Re-create Your Life All By Yourself

In today’s society, women are expected to be independently strong and capable at every turn. However, I believe that expectation leads to depression and anxiety for many of us. We were not created to go it alone. We need community to keep motivated in life.

Another aspect of our Ambassador retreats that I love is opportunity to have genuine conversations with like-minded women. Over lunch or dinner and during our late night pow-wows, I have learned that I’m not the only one with unfulfilled desires. No one has it all figured out. The thing is, together we can encourage each other and help each other run this race called life.

We all need time to connect with positive people who believe in us, who celebrate our progress, and who hold us accountable to our personal commitments and goals, and those who just want to have some fun. This type of connection will spark new insights, encourage your heart, and nourish and replenish your soul. The Ambassador retreats have done that for me. Who does that for you?

I encourage you to join us in One Degree Shift community. If you want to have partnership in developing your best life, One Degree Shift is the place for you. You will find camaraderie with like-minded people who support your goals and dreams. Let’s create a hopeful future together!