2020 is a milestone year for me – a year where a line in the
sand will be drawn so to speak. I turn 50, we are entering a new decade, I’m
expanding my business with laser focus, I get to tour a country that’s been on
my bucket list for two decades, I will experience the Fall season in the
Pacific Northwest, and I’m moving away from anything and anyone that leaves chaos,
drama, and despair in its path. To put it frankly, the next 50 years will be spent
applying the lessons I’ve learned during the last 50 years without apology –
As I reviewed this last decade, the resounding theme of my 40s was profound loss and trauma in all its forms – multiple deaths, sexual trauma, betrayal, abandonment, divorce, financial, and career – the kinds of trauma and loss that would likely drive one to intense addictions, insanity or even an early death if left unchecked. Don’t get me wrong – there were also profound moments of joy woven in, but I promise you the loss and trauma far outweighed it. And that was just in the first four years of the 2010s.
2018 broke me. I found my partner dead in our home in January. Six months later, one of my best friend’s nieces was murdered less than a mile from my house, and two weeks after that, my best friend of nearly 30 years died from organ failure due to a heart transplant.
As devastating as the past decade has been and despite the brokenness of 2018 I endured, one Bible verse rang true over and over and over again. Exodus 14:14 states, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” I spent the remainder of 2018 and all of 2019 “being still” in the form of chasing beauty and healing (and I found it). The lessons I learned in that particular decade were profound and will likely end up in a future book.
As I enter this new year and decade, I’ve resolved in my
heart and mind that Jehovah Jireh (God the Provider), is the ultimate provider
of all good things in my life. He is #1 above all people, places, things, religions,
philosophies, programs, groups, and how-to and to-do lists. Period. He is my
Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and the only One I will give an account to at the
end of my life. My only desire is to hear, “Well done, good and faithful
servant.” I’m not always an outstanding reflection of His mercy and grace,
but He has never failed me – not ever – and I can’t say that about anything
else in my life. So if He loves me in whatever state I happen to be in at any
given moment, I’d say it’s a sure thing to be in relationship with Him, and I
would be a fool to deny that kind of love.
Beyond that eternal resolve, there are intentional steps I have taken to remove all distractions from the past decade so I can enter this decade laser-focused to continue showing up as an agent of positive, disruptive change in my corner of the world.
I chose the word simplify to continually reflect on throughout 2020. I tend to chase squirrels because I am a creative, a thinker, a visionary, and an idea girl. I get lost in all the ideas and tend to not be able to focus on one or two things that really bring about needed changes in any given area. For me, “simplify” is to:
- Forgive and let go of the past once and for all – nothing ever changes by hanging on to it. In fact, the things that remain the same when we refuse to forgive are the heightened states of anger, stress, and bitterness in our lives. I’m not willing to live this way anymore. Let it go!
- Continue to focus on spiritual growth – It includes intentionally connecting with Jesus through prayer, worship, reading, and reflection. It also includes self-care in the forms of drinking more water, being more conscious about moving my body and fueling it with greater nutrients, chasing beauty, and participating in activities that bring my soul alive. Finally, it includes continuing to participate in community with others. We all need tribes that encourage, inspire, and hold us accountable.
- Unsubscribe from 90% of all email lists – I will follow Brian Kight religiously because he’s short, to the point, and keeps my attention. Unroll.me has an amazing way to delete multiple subscriptions or “rollup” the ones you like. I love it! You will find you spend less time deleting emails you don’t even read and more time reading the ones that actually relate to your spiritual, personal, and business growth.
- Leave all social media groups that are time-wasters. Everybody has a group now – only stay in the ones that you actually have time to participate in and contribute to. Don’t feel like you owe your best friend support because she’s selling widgets and you don’t use widgets. There are other ways to support your friends and colleagues besides joining their groups of things you actually hold zero interest in.
- Pick the one or two work projects that will skyrocket the business and put everything else #OnTheSideTable in 2020. For me, that’s my blog, my podcast, my Facebook groups, my ideas, the events – everything – except growing The Referrals Group. It’s about being very strategic and meticulous with my networking, follow-through, tracking results, and readjusting to stay on track. Most people are not in need of the next program, the next funnel, or the next workshop. Most of us just need to declare our end goal and then apply what we already know to reverse engineer the consistent steps required to reach our goal. I even purchased an old-school planner to help me with tracking so I’m not as reliant on technology. I’m excited about it because it’s tangible and I can color code it, write in it, and visually see results without having to scroll.
- Release people who are clearly not part of the present-day season. Stop chasing, asking, & reconciling. If they haven’t responded to any of the requests by now, maybe it’s just best to carry on. I’ve had to set (and reset) some boundaries. Anyone that lives in a habitual state of chaos and drama and sucking the life out of people is just no longer welcome in my life. I love you. I pray for you. But please – either own your stuff and work on fixing it or step aside. There’s a great article about removing these “leeches” from your life. You can read it here.
- Continue to declutter – I’m sure you’ve heard “cluttered home – cluttered mind,” and it’s true! While I have meticulously worked on decluttering my inbox and my social media spaces, I knew I needed to do the same in my personal home and workspaces. I’ve been working on it for nearly a year now and have made incredible progress in terms of emptying the closets of clothes I no longer wear, filling my home with oxygen-producing plants, getting rid of trinkets and gadgets that serve no purpose, and clearly defining a real workspace that is not in my living or sleeping space.
Speaking of side tables, this article is one of a few very intentional ones I plan to write in 2020. I won’t be writing for the sake of building my blog because that is a creative space I’m reserving for after I’ve reached my business goal this year. This is also a longer post that’s basically a brain dump to include some very specific steps I’m taking this year and into the next decade. I hope you’ve found it useful and inspiring and would love to know more about what you’re doing to be more focused in the next decade on the things that matter most to you.
Happy New Year and Decade everyone. Thanks for being part of the journey!