Friday Thoughts: Growth and Confidence

Happy Friday, loves!

Funny story – I did not have a blog post scheduled for today. I’m writing this on Thursday, scheduling it for Friday morning because it’s currently on my mind and I’m feeling a bit passionate about it.

If you’ve been following along the past few years, you already know my family and I have what we call Wednesday Night Dinners. It’s a looooooong tradition that began before we even had kids. As a matter of fact, it all began in 2008 when I was pregnant with our first child. My husband and I had been married three years and our friends, Corinna and Geremy, were married for two years at the time. They weren’t parents yet, either, but they were working on that.

My husband and I always went out to dinner on Wednesday nights to our favorite local restaurant. It was like our halfway through the week celebration, and we began inviting our friends. They joined us for the better part of two or three years every Wednesday night for dinner. Addison came along in the late summer of 2008 and their first child, Geremy Jr., came along in the spring of 2009. Somewhere in 2010, we made the decision to stop going out to dinner on Wednesday nights and start hosting our dinners at home.

We’d host one Wednesday, they’d host the next. And we’ve been doing that ever since. We’ve also added a total of 5 additional kids for a grand total of 7 little people. Wednesday nights are loud, fun, and something we all look forward to every week. We laugh – a lot.

(Fun Fact: Craig and Corinna are the same person, and Geremy and I are the same person. In fact, we are so much alike in our mannerisms and the way we think and act that we’re POSITIVE that somewhere along the line, we share some familial DNA and we are FOR SURE related in some way, shape, or form.)

These kids have grown up together, but so have the adults.

And that’s where this post actually begins now that you’ll never get the past two minutes of your life back. My bad – but not really.

During our #wednesdaynighttradition this week, Geremy mentioned he read my New Year blog post, and that he just had to tell me that he feels that I’ve changed so much in the past year – for the good. I’ve become more confident in myself and who I am, unapologetic, and very much a badass motherfucker – language situation, y’all (maybe I should mention that the four of us use BAMF regularly in our vocab to describe our current life situations and the things we’ve accomplished in the past few years…).

Anyway, he’s not wrong. I have changed a lot in the past year. I have become so much more self-aware and confident. I know what I bring to the table, and I don’t make apologies for who I am and where I stand.

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And that made me realize something – when the three people you look up to and admire and respect most in the world all think you’ve grown so much in the past year, you take a look at what they’re talking about. I spent some time this morning reflecting on the conversation the four of us had about that, and it makes me want to share some of what I think helped me to grow in my confidence and my success over the course of the past year – their love, support, and sarcastic comments aside.

I’m always learning

At some point, it occurred to me that my failures are just learning curves. Perfection is overrated and unattainable, but perfectly imperfect is pretty darn awesome. I make mistakes, but you won’t hear much about them because they’re nothing more than a notation on the list of “things that taught me to do better,” in the future. If I make a mistake, believe me when I tell you that I’m owning that mistake. I don’t place blame. I don’t pretend that everyone else is wrong and I’m right, and I never assume I know everything. I make the mistake, I own the mistake, and I move on from the mistake with a newfound lesson in life that will help me grow and become better the next time around. And I apologize when I’m wrong.

If I’m happy, I don’t care if anyone else is happy

I recognize the harshness in that statement, but I don’t apologize for it. What I mean by this is being happy with myself is far more important to me than making other people happy. It’s important for me to like myself, but it’s not important for me to have others like me. I live by two mottos in life – the first is that what other people think of me is none of my business, and the second is that I just don’t care what other people think. It’s a waste of time and energy. If I cared what others thought of me, I’d spend my life very sad. Trust me – I’ve written well over 100,000 articles over the past 11 years since I began my business, and they’re posted online on dozens of client websites in which I have millions of monthly views. And with that comes the comments. The emails. The Facebook messages. The Instagram messages. The Pinterest messages. And most people aren’t nice.

In addition to that, I recognize how I look, the things I love, the way I speak and the way I behave – and I know it’s not for everyone. I get it – and I like it. I like me – a lot. If you don’t…that’s okay. You don’t have to. I don’t mind. The caveat here is that you have to stop worrying about other people, too. How other people live their lives is none of my business, and it’s not my concern other than to be happy for them when they’re happy.

I know the kind of person I want to be

I might like myself now, but I’m always looking to evolve, change, and grow as a person. I can always find something about myself I could improve upon. For example, 2018 was one of those years I learned a little bit about how easy it is to backslide into habits I thought I gave up in high school. Gossip, judgment, negativity. They can creep into your life in a quick second, and it took me a little longer than that to realize that I needed to get that in check and reel that in fast. I’m imperfect, but I can fix those things when I realize they’re a problem.

I know who I want to be, and that’s a good person. I love giving back. I love doing for others. I love people who do the same. I surround myself with the best of the best. Kind, humble, hardworking, successful, generous, hilarious, wonderful people who I’m so fortunate to call my own – because you become like the people you spend the most time with.

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And, you guys, I don’t want to be a petty, reactive, overdramatic, loud 4-year-old. Cute as they are, I spend most of my time with tiny humans who suck the soul right out of me when they’re not being sweet and cute and reminding me to let my inner child out (does she come with that inner child metabolism if I let her out? Because my kids have been doing nothing but snacking every 2.4 second this Christmas break and I could use some of their never-gain-a-pound situation).

I choose people who mimic the traits and qualities I love and admire the most, and then I learn from them every single day. I want to be more like them because they are the best of the best – and anyone who knows them will tell you the same. From my husband to our friends – I can honestly say that I have the best people in the world, and I know who I want to be is more like the kind of amazing people they are.

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I embrace whatever

My confidence is growing daily, and it’s because I embrace myself. I don’t mind being overdressed. I don’t mind being materialistic in many aspects of my life. I’m good because I embrace my situation. I don’t mind being a bitch, because I get stuff done. I don’t mind that I’m not ‘traditional’ in many aspects of my life. I don’t really cook or do laundry, but my husband is so good at it that it doesn’t matter. I embrace that. I embrace that my life doesn’t look a lot like everyone else’s. I embrace that my husband and I don’t have traditional careers or that I’m not much of a housewife.

I embrace that I have OCD tendencies that might make people raise their eyebrows. I embrace that I like things my way, all the time, and I’m not all that lenient about wanting it my way. I embrace that I like certain things, certain places, and certain creature comforts, and I’m okay with that. I embrace whatever I am, whoever I am, and whatever makes me happy. I have high expectations, and I don’t view that as a problem.

I choose to be happy

Life is not perfect, y’all. But it’s pretty damn great. While we sat at Wednesday night dinner this week, we were discussing our goals for the new year. None of us make resolutions, but we always have new goals – though we don’t just make goals in the new year. We make them all year, work on meeting them, exceeding them, and then working on new goals. It’s a thing (BAMF, anyone?). When my sweet friend, Corinna, made a comment about seeing all these people on social media making new year resolutions this week, she said she has a long list of goals to meet this year, but she doesn’t have resolutions because she likes how she looks, she likes how she feels, she likes her marriage, she likes her life, and she’s really happy where she is and she’s not looking to change any of that.

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It’s like she took the words right out of my mouth – probably why we are so close. But she’s right. When you choose to be happy where you are and with what you’re doing, it’s okay to not want to change your life. It’s okay to say, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’m good where I am. I like me. I like who I am,” and then make some goals and let it go. I like that.

In a nutshell, if you’re not surrounding yourself with people who are just so badass and awesome and you don’t respect them or admire them and they don’t respect and admire you in return, you might want to make it your goal this year to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you every single day. It’s like I tell my kids – a friend is a person who will never utter a negative word about you when you get up and walk away from the table…they’ll walk with you.

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It’s not hard. 

Growth is not optional – it’s a requirement. If you’re not changing every single day to embrace a stronger, more confident, better you by auditing your life and spending less time with those things that don’t bring out the good in you and more time with the things and people who do, now is as good a time as any to get started. If you aren’t good with yourself right now, make a change. The most difficult part is getting started – once you realize the kind of freedom you have when you don’t worry about how other people feel about you and you stop focusing on other people instead of focusing on yourself, life is much sweeter.

5 Things I Let Go Of That Changed My Life

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I love the New Year. I love looking back on where we were a year ago and how far we’ve come since, and I love seeing how much we’ve grown and accomplished. This year is no different. We’ve set our goals, we’ve made our peace with the most wonderful time of the year being over for another year, and we’ve welcomed the New Year with excitement. We have big plans for 2018, and we’re excited.

But we’re also excited about what’s changed in the past year. One of my favorite things to do is look back and take note of some of the positive changes that occurred during the year, and most of the time those changes go along with giving something up. 2017 was a year for the books, and it’s been eye-opening seeing how many things we gave up/changed/altered about our lives in the past year that have made life a lot sweeter.

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  1. Excessive Drinking

We have always been social drinkers, but 2017 was a bit eye-opening for us in terms of just how much we were really consuming. There wasn’t any specific instance or time when we thought we needed to tone it down a bit, but we did. I think it was a culmination of different things. It was a lack of energy, a desire to be more present and feel better, and it was the stage the twins were in.

They turned 3 last year, and they became so much easier. We began taking them more places with us and really enjoying our time with them, but that comes with being that much more exhausted at the end of the day. There came a point when we took the kids to Disney one Saturday night, came home, went to bed, and woke up feeling energized and amazing. Not drinking on Saturday meant waking up Sunday filled with energy – and really good moods.

That feeling was addicting. It wasn’t long before we were going weeks without a drink. During the Fourth of July, I drank sparkling water in my Yeti all night – and I woke up the next day feeling amazing. I loved it. We both loved it. We definitely still drink – there’s no stopping us from ordering a bottle of wine with dinner and enjoying a glass of red each night or drinking when we have a party or attend one. But it’s changed – a lot. It’s one or two drinks instead of 5 or 6. Sometimes it’s just water in the Yeti and no drinks.

We didn’t set out to make this change, but it just naturally occurred. The benefits have been being more energized, healthier, more present, in a better mood, not nearly as tired, and waking up every morning feeling really good has been a plus. It’s also allowed us to be better role models for our kids, and that’s a really good feeling.

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  1. Letting the Little Things Get to Us

Okay….so….it turns out I’m a little bit of a control freak. A lot neat freak. A major “my way or the highway,” kind of gal. But sometime during the year I managed to stop letting the little things get to me. Let’s not panic, though. I’m still a neat freak. I still can’t leave the house unless it’s perfectly clean or go to bed without it being perfectly clean, or allow anything unused to spend even a second out of place during the day. But…I made great strides letting the little things go.

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  1. Responding Immediately

I wear an Apple watch, so I get all my messages and my alerts and my calls immediately. I don’t miss a text because my phone is on vibrate on the counter or a call because I can’t hear the phone over the kids. I get everything immediately, and I always felt this overwhelming need to respond the second I got a message or text.

I’m getting better about not doing that. Not that there is anything wrong with being a quick responder – I like that about people. But it was to the point I was interrupting myself, my work, my thought processes to respond to messages in the middle of completing a deadline, and it was slowing me down and making me more productive. I still see the message – though sometimes I don’t read it if I’m really into what I’m doing and don’t want to take a chance of disrupting the flow. I just respond later if I’m super busy, and it’s made it so much easier for me to finish what I started.

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  1. Letting Go of Guilt

You know, I still feel a little guilty when I’m away from the kids or when I’m out having fun with my girlfriends while Craig is home with the babies, but I let a lot of that go over the course of 2017. Craig and I spend every minute of every day caring for our four kids, my business, his career, and our home. We don’t want to feel guilty when we take off for a weekend in New York twice a few times a year or dating regularly. We want to enjoy the moment and really stop feeling guilty about being away, about asking our parents to babysit, about the kids missing us…our marriage needs our focus and attention, and we realized that we can’t feel guilty about that.

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  1. Fear of Going Outside my Comfort Zone

I spent the past decade building my business, acquiring a long list of amazing clients, and working hard to earn my reputation in this industry, and I’m very proud of that. I’ve had some amazing opportunities, but I’ve missed out on just as many because I’m very comfortable in my comfort zone and not an inch outside of it.

When I had the opportunity to attend an event in South Florida in January last year, I decided I was not going to let my fear of attending events alone without knowing anyone bother me. I booked a flight before I could talk myself out of it, and I went. I struggled, of course. I hate being in situations where I don’t know people and everyone else already has a friend or a group with them, but I stuck my hand out, smiled, and said, “Hi, I’m Tiffany. What’s you’re name?” and went from there. I made a few new business connections, networked, and really stepped outside my zone of comfort.

And you know what? I hated every second of it, but I was super grateful I did it. I spent my flight home taking notes, making lists, and reveling in the fact I did something that makes me so uncomfortable and made it through. I had no regrets, and decided at that point I was going to push myself to get outside my comfort zone so I could build my personal brand and blog in addition to my professional business. It was liberating, and it’s the thing I’m most proud of letting go.

The New Year is all about embracing new goals and making positive changes in your life, but it’s also about reflecting on what you’ve learned, how much you’ve evolved, and how you can continue to grow in the new year. Looking back on my year in 2017 and getting to see just how much I grew and how much I changed has been amazing. I’m proud of myself, and I’m proud of how I continue to change, grow, learn, and evolve. I feel like I matured a bit in 2017, and I like that (but don’t worry…I don’t plan on maturing too much or ever growing up. I hear it’s a trap, anyway!).

How have you changed in the past year? Where were you a year ago, how were you feeling, and what changed in your life and about you over the course of 2017?