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We made it intact through Q1!

As the first quarter of the year draws to an end, I am amazed at how quickly time has flown by. It feels like just the other day when we were singing happy New Year, jumping on the back-to-school bus, starting off at work and setting our intentions for the year ahead. With the weather patterns causing a bit of a stir, I’m conflicted on whether to replenishing my autumn or winter wardrobe. It really feels chillier than normal for this time of the year.

Anyway, we made it through the end of quarter one intact and we should celebrate that. I for one am doing so with much vigour. The first quarter was quite eventful for me and upon reflection, here are some of the things I’ve learnt over the past 3 months. Some aren’t new learnings but have been re-emphasised over this period.

1. Starting over isn’t so bad

When the year started out, we moved into a new, unfamiliar area. We moved out of our home which we’d occupied for 5 years, leaving our close friends and family (an extension of our support structure) behind. Our start over season was prompted by factors such as, the distance it took to travel between home, school, work and preferred shopping centres. With inflation, food, and fuel costs on the rise, we realised that what made sense to us 5 years back didn’t make sense anymore. We sold our house and moved closer to our daughter’s school and closer to our places of work. The immense pressure we used to experience driving in-between all the places we needed to get to has been relieved off our shoulders.

On the first day of school, my daughter was panicking about arriving late but when we arrived at her school in just under 5 minutes, her expression of “mom, OMG we’ve arrived!” got me emotional. For years, we’d travelled about 30 minutes or more (traffic dependent), one-way to get to her school and an additional 20 minutes for me to get to work. But all of that is in the past. As we continue to find our rhythm, one certain thing is that our quality of life has improved significantly.

2. Integrity is a kingdom principle

We should continually let the work of our hands, our influence on others and our activities be characterised by integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching, so, in everything we do, we should be honest in our dealings. In me wanting to save money on printing costs for a project I was working on, the printing consultant I worked with enticed me to a more “affordable” printing service, cutting out the frills I wanted on the project. The consultant works for a printing company and called me to tell me that they are moonlighting to make an additional income on the side as things were quite tough for them financially. As a parent, I felt for them and agreed to the transaction. To cut the long story short, I paid a deposit but it quickly became apparent that I may not be able to receive my order in time. When I acknowledged that I’d gotten myself into a raw deal, I requested for my money to be refunded. This was one hassle after another. It took weeks on end but eventually it was refunded.

This experience honestly convicted me and I swore to be mindful of such allurements next time. Lesson learnt. Make time to check out the entire chapter of Proverbs 16 as it elaborates more on the character we should portray daily.

3. Know who you are in bed with

Literally and figuratively. An Easter Bible Plan I read on the YouVersion App highlighted that on Holy Wednesday, everyone was seemingly getting ready for Jesus to die - the elite who instigated Jesus’ death, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus and the woman who embalmed Jesus with expensive oil. All of these people knew what was going to happen but their differing objectives about what was imminent drove them to react in ways that made sense to them.

This made me think of how sometimes we come together with people to work on something and we don’t have full knowledge of their intentions (motivations). Because of this, we can be easily misled into believing that we are all for one cause when it’s quite the opposite. This realisation dawned on me that I should always ask people what their intentions are so as to ensure alignment or simply knowing better who I’m going into partnership with. In this way, two things will happen for me: 1) I can choose whether I want to pursue involvement with them or 2) if I do get involved with them, I will not be thrown over by their opposing decisions in the long run.

4. Say Yes to yourself

Many times when opportunities which push us out of our comfort zone present themselves, we are mostly hesitant to say ‘yes’. The reasons for our apprehension vary but the most prominent one is fear. In other areas of my life, fear has only crippled me into apathy and stagnated my growth. For instance, because of my fear of inadequacy, I would never raise my hand to do something that fully stretched me, especially in front of other people. Over the years I’ve overcome this fear by going ahead and just doing things afraid. In me doing this, I’ve accepted that I don’t have to show up only when I feel fully confident and perfect in every way.

The power in saying yes to myself has been life-changing. By saying yes to myself, I’ve given myself permission to learn and grow. Through this experience, I’ve learnt that learning and growth can be messy but, to master my art or whatever I am pursuing, it is okay to go through many trial and errors. This quarter I said yes to myself many times but two things stand out for me: I am officially a contributing partner at YouVersion, the Bible App and two of my devotionals are now available on the Platform. If you haven’t completed them, check them out under the resources tab right here. The other highlight was saying yes to an opportunity to deliver a keynote address at a women empowerment event hosted by MM Communications on the theme, “This too shall pass”. After reading Shonda Rhimes’ Say Yes biography, I was inspired to follow suit myself and to date, it’s been at time a nerve-wrecking but worthwhile experience.

5. Flexibility is important in striving to achieve goals

At the start of each year, many of us set intentions for the year with the aspirations to tick things off our lists as a measure of a successful year. However, doing this without taking into consideration the changing landscape of life that we need to adapt to, will be to our detriment. This year, I planned to read a minimum of 20 books to beat my 2022 record of 14. I started well and read 3 books in January alone. However, February and March weren’t so great. In February, I only read one book and I’ve only read less than a quarter of the book I started in March.

The old me would have been so disappointed in myself but I’ve come to realise that life isn’t just merely about ticking boxes and things off our lists. The season I am in has required me to be flexible in the way I do life. As I said, there was too much activity in my life during the first quarter and at some point, I needed to allow myself to just be, and rest.

One other thing about this lesson is that, we should not merely strive to do things to check them off our lists but we should bask ourselves in the experiences we are going through. So in striving to achieve our goals, we should be flexible and easily adaptable to the realities of life we are finding ourselves in. This will not only help us in realising our goals but to also live life fuller without disregarding the progress we’ve made. So if things didn’t go according to the plans you had, revise and adapt. There’s no harm in that and you have not failed.

To be successful in life, we have to take it by the strides it presents to us. An attitude of retaliation normally doesn’t get us any far. As we bid farewell to the first quarter of the year, let us do so gracefully. Take this time out to reflect on your learnings too, so as to set a benchmark for the quarter ahead. If you need support, my virtual and face-to-face coaching services remain available. Click on either of the links below to book your session(s). The first session is free.

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