1. You are on time. You aren’t early and you aren’t late. Look down. Do you see where your feet are? That is where you are meant to be.
2. Speaking of where your feet are, be there. Be present. Focus your thoughts on the present moment and all it has to offer. Stop thinking five years ahead, five months back, or putting yourself into the life of that person you follow on social media. The present moment is beautiful in its very own messy and complicated way, and if you don’t look up, you might miss it.
3. People will say a lot about what you “should” be doing. They will say a lot about who you should be with, where you should be focusing your attention and spending your time, and what you should be pursuing. Those people, while they may have your best interests at heart, are not you. They can’t hear the song that God has planted in your heart. Listen to that over them every single time, no matter how loudly they may be or how hard they push you.
4. Give out more “yeses.”Yes to the coffee dates. Yes to the last minute trips. Yes to the new opportunities that may not be it for you. Yes to the people and the places that you aren’t totally sure about. You will laugh and learn and grow from these yesess. People may surprise you. Places may excite you more than they seem to at first, and you’ll never know until you try.
5. Reserve your “nos” and stand by them. It’s important to try new things and say “yes” every once and awhile, but if your gut is urging you to say “no,” follow it. Your instincts are there for a reason; trust them. Set firm boundaries. Take time for yourself. People will push you and take advantage of you if you let them. Don’t.
6. Ask for help. Admit when you aren’t okay. You don’t have to have it all figured out, and you certainly don’t have to have it all together all the time. Be like a good taco: fall apart and be messy. Let people, the right people, in to help clean up the mess. There is nothing wrong with letting people see your messy. People can’t help you if you don’t let them in. It takes bravery to say “I am broken, I am not all together, but I am trying” and to show up anyway. Be brave. Show up anyway.
7. Listen to people who have different opinions with kindness, curiosity, and empathy. There are too many opinions and not enough empathy out there. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but if you listen to understand, rather than listen to respond, you may learn a new perspective. Give more understanding and less judgement. The world needs more kind hearts.
8. Let people go if they want. You never need to beg anyone to stay in your life. People, your people, will want to stay. Those are gems. Keep them close and you can handle any storm. Show them, don’t just tell them, that you appreciate them often.
9. Make your gratitude list longer than your prayers list. God wants to hear what you need. God is there for you when you are on your knees on the kitchen floor, only able to get out the simplest of “help” prayers. Yet don’t forget to notice all the good in this life. Even if it’s just running water, iced coffee, or the sun coming up. Keep that list close to your heart and remind yourself of it daily.
10. You don’t need to stay if you are unhappy. This goes for places, jobs, relationships, and situations. I am a firm believer that you can’t escape your problems by running, but there are times when change is necessary. If you are unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsupported, you have the power to leave. Never stay in a situation that breaks your heart daily just because you are comfortable. Your fear of leaving is real and valid, but it is never greater than prolonged suffering in a situation that is no longer for you.
11. Work hard and invest in learning. No one owes you anything. It’s up to you to go for it. Learn. Read. Listen. Get better. make to-do lists and buy books. Attend seminars, listen to podcasts, and read some more. Invest in your craft and believe in your endless potential to grow.
12. Use your phone and social media for what it’s meant for: connection. Call your people and ask them about their days. Post on social media to keep people updated with what you are doing, not to show off. Remember, social media does not paint the entire picture of a person’s life. People are not posting their failures on social media. Judge the success of your life by your happiness with it, not by comparing it to filtered Instagram squares or someone’s perfectly crafted 140 characters on Twitter. That will always leave you empty and inadequate. Live in your life fully and completely, and let that fill you up.
13. Take it all. Take the lessons, the failures, the wins, and the heartbreaks. Feel every emotion and process it instead of ignoring it until you can’t handle it all anymore. Let every experience be a learning lesson. That is what this life is all about: learning. You don’t need to master everything. Sometimes, failure can teach you things that victories never will.
14. Learn to rest. Going and going and going is only going to end in one place, and that’s burnout. Learn to stop and reflect. Know that rest will help you be more productive and a better human. Take time to do absolutely nothing but stop and smell the roses.
15. Practice self-care, and not the kind of self-care you see on Instagram that involves face masks, bubble baths, and candles. Practice the kind of self-care that helps you fill your cup and know yourself better. Journal. Meditate. Ask yourself the hard questions that get into the nitty gritty of who you are and what you want your life to be. Inner work is some of the most important work you can do at this time.
16. Remind yourself just how capable you are. Your current situation does not define who you are. It doesn’t reflect all that you are capable of or all you have for this world. You have something this world needs; God planted a seed in your heart, and he never fails to grow His people into all they can be. You have a calling; you didn’t miss it and you weren’t forgotten. It matters that you are here. It’s okay if you don’t know your purpose. You have one. You are stepping into it every day, even on the days it doesn’t feel like it. Trust yourself. Trust the process. You are exactly where you are meant to be.