My Reflections on the Past Decade—As I Begin a New One
A decade ago today, I turned 30 alone. My birthday was on a Wednesday, and I had an Angel City Chorale rehearsal that night. To celebrate, I went for a long run at the beach before rehearsal to reflect on my 20’s and decide what I wanted the next decade to look like.
I knew I had a lot of work to do.
I was very recently divorced—we’d finalized the paperwork about six months prior—so this was a beautiful new chapter of life for me. I had been married for most of my 20’s, and it wasn’t a healthy marriage. We were too young, too different, and I was too out of touch with who I was and what I wanted.
I spent the first four years of my 30’s making mistakes, learning a lot about grace, and healing from my first marriage. Then I met my now-husband, and during the next six years of this decade, he showed me what love is supposed to look like, and how it’s supposed to feel. I discovered how beautiful it can be.
Rediscovering My Faith
Most importantly, God used my husband to help me rediscover my faith. I never lost it, but at some point during my 20’s I decided it wasn’t a priority anymore, and I put God on the backburner of my life. But He never did the same.
Instead, He kept showing up and pursuing me in the most unexpected ways, taking care of me, loving me, never giving up on me. I was completely turned off by Christianity, so God started speaking to me through the guy I was dating at the time, who happened to be a devout Buddhist. I’ll always be grateful for what he taught me.
When I had opened my heart up enough to start listening, God started speaking to me during my runs at the beach. By speaking, I mean that I heard His voice coming from the deepest part of me. There were times when I would have full conversations with God. I would ask Him questions and He would answer them, one after another, until the answers stopped and I knew that He’d told me everything I needed to know in that moment.
I had the first unexplainable connection with my husband after one of those runs.
We were coworkers at the time, and hardly knew each other, but I’d heard he was a Christian. We were both at another coworker’s birthday party that evening, and after grabbing some food, the only open seat was next to him.
We started with small talk, and that quickly progressed into the kind of get-to-know-you conversation that you typically have on a first date. Everyone else in the room slowly faded away—for both of us—and I shared a little about my beach run and the conversation I’d had with God that afternoon. This felt incredibly vulnerable for me because I still wasn’t making my faith a priority. But I had no one else to tell, and he felt safe.
After our first date, my now-husband invited me to church—a church that had been planted for people who had walked away from their faith. I rarely missed a Sunday after that first day, and the pastor’s messages helped me completely rebuild my faith.
Discovering Who I Was Created to Be
Then I discovered life coaching, and that helped me finally work through the issues that contributed to my first marriage falling apart.
I learned how to change my very limiting beliefs and my thoughts so I could change (and choose) the way I feel. I learned how to become more aware of how I was showing up under stress, so I could start responding better instead of being so reactive.
I worked through the layers of hurt from my divorce, along with the insecurities and baggage that had built up over the years. I uncovered so many forgotten dreams and gained the courage to start working toward those again.
I discovered my core values, how important it is to live a life aligned with those values, and how it feels and affects me when I’m in conflict with them. I developed a process for setting values-based goals that I actually achieve, every single year.
And I learned how to identify my inner critic’s messages, which hold me back more than anything else. We all have them.
This is the voice deep inside each one of us that plays some variation of “you’re not good enough” in our most vulnerable and critical moments. For years, it kept me safe and small, trapped inside a cycle of self-doubt, unworthiness, and inadequacy.
Throughout my life, the critical inner messages I’ve heard most often are, “you’re not smart enough,” “you’re not worthy of being loved,” and most recently, “you’re not a good enough coach.” It’s impossible to be confident and go after what you truly want with this soundtrack playing in the background, isn’t it?
Learning how to better manage these damaging messages is a lifelong process, and it’s been life-changing for me. I’ve created an on-demand workshop based on what I’ve learned to help you manage your inner critic’s messages, too.
Lessons From the Past Decade of My Life
I turned 40 today, and let me tell you, it’s been a struggle to accept this. Turning 30 was easy and exciting for me—I was beginning a new and beautiful chapter of my life. I knew I had a lot of healing and recovery to do, but I felt free for the first time in years, and I was so grateful for this second chance at life and love.
During the past decade, I’ve been on a personal development journey that has been incredibly challenging but just as rewarding, every step of the way. A big part of this journey has been figuring out who I am as an introvert, INFJ, and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), understanding how I’m wired and why I’ve felt so different my entire life.
Only 15-20% of the population are HSPs, and less than 1% are INFJs. No wonder I’ve felt so different. And it certainly doesn’t help that we live in a world designed for extroverts to thrive, especially the corporate world.
As I turn 40, I understand so much more about who I am, how I’m wired, and why certain things are so challenging for me. As a life coach, I help introverted leaders build quiet confidence, understand their unique value, and create a career they love, which is incredibly fulfilling.
Most importantly, I’ve discovered that a second marriage to the right person can be the greatest gift. I’m entering this new decade feeling so incredibly loved by, deeply connected to, and grateful for my husband every single day.
When I was in my early 30’s, it seemed like many of my friends who were in their early 40’s were finally enjoying what they’d spent their 30’s building: their own businesses, their careers, their relationships. This is what I’m most excited about experiencing as I enter this new decade, along with these three priorities:
- First and foremost, I want to keep my faith at the center of my life. This is the most important part of my life, and it’s also my number one core value.
- I want to continue learning how to love my husband better and put him first, his needs ahead of mine.
- I want to continue making an impact for other introverts through my writing and my coaching.
If I look back on this decade as I’m about to turn 50 and see that I’ve achieved these three goals, it will have been a successful one.
If you haven’t set goals for 2021 yet, check out my on-demand workshop to create values-based goals that you’ll actually achieve.