Reflecting on 2018

Instead of writing my goals down, I adopted the concept of a vision board for 2018 and I still really love the idea!

Samantha Vision Board 2018I’m laughing looking at a few of the things I didn’t think would be quite as ambitious as they were at the time I included them here – notably reading books, sleeping and meditation – they all tend to fall under the “time to myself” category – which as most mothers would know is few and far between with a little one!

In hindsight, 2018 was very much a year of adjusting to our new normal with an energetic toddler. And I didn’t anticipate how often she would be ill from being in daycare once I returned to work a few more days a week. At times I questioned whether trying to mother/wife/work all at the same time was worth it, but towards the end of the year, although exhausted and in desperate need of this break, we had both adjusted and I’m glad we stuck it out.

As a result of all of the above, not as much time was made for date night, and friends and family as I would have liked but I love that this year I have rekindled friendships with old friends, made new mum friends and have had the opportunity to bond with some of my closest pals as we both navigate this parenting thing. For my yet-to-be-parent besties, thanks for being patient with me this year. I’ve loved living vicariously through you as you embrace life as the one big adventure that it is!

I was stoked beyond measure to sneak my first triathlon since having Everly in before 2018 was up. I tried not to get too hung up on how unfit and how much slower I was than I used to be and just go out and enjoy it. It was great to reconnect and was just the right amount of challenge and the boost I needed to kickstart my training for some more ambitious 2019 event goals.

One of the highlights of my year, albeit with the childcare challenges, was returning to Storbie in a more senior position. I’m fortunate to love where I work and the people I work with, and taking on a role that opened my eyes to alot of the “behind the scenes” activities that keep a business ticking along has been huge for my personal growth and my career development. Very excited about what’s on the horizon in 2019 on that front!

I’m still figuring out the uni-tasking thing – as I sit here with my phone beside me making plans with a friend for tomorrow, my diary with a half scrawled weekly training plan, and a cup of tea. Sigh. But maybe it doesn’t matter if all of the things I am trying to do at once, are things that I really enjoy! I kept a gratitude diary for about the first month of 2018 and it’s a habit I shouldn’t have let slip. Although, I feel that my morning coffee-to-go during my peaceful half hour commute to work was an opportunity I often used for daily reflection.

When it comes to waste-free, I’m glad to be on the reusable cup and reusable bag bandwagon, as well as donating a lot of pre-loved items to the opportunity shops over the course of the year. I’m keen to give a capsule wardrobe a go this year, as well as try my hardest to waste less food. Seems a big task with a little one whose dinner ends up on the floor most nights but small changes can have a big impact – like not letting food go past it’s use by in the fridge!

We didn’t get to Rarotonga this year like I dreamed about, but we did book a trip to head to Fiji in the next couple of months so I’ll take that as a win!

A couple of things that I didn’t plan for this year was rekindling my love for the High Tea Honeys, giving the brand a bit of a facelift and injecting some new energy into it. Looking forward to giving that some more attention over the course of the new year. I also got involved in My Kids Village, a social enterprise that helps parents discover their local childcare options – after finding the process a nightmare myself, I figured there must be a better way and teamed up with the wonderful Gillian who had the same idea a couple of years ago. We have experienced some growth over the course of the last few months and looking forward to keeping up that momentum in 2019.

One of the biggest things I have learned about myself this year is how much I value and therefore need to prioritise time for creativity. Creative freedom ignites my passion and my energy and it’s how I am able to pour all of myself into things over and over. Whether it’s strategy and planning or designing solutions and preparing presentations at work, mucking around with branding, collaborations and event planning for the High Tea Honeys, writing speeches for Toastmasters or posts for my blog – it all exercises my creative muscle that brings me a lot of satisfaction and joy and I’m planning on doing more of it next year!

I am immensely grateful for the life that I am blessed to lead. Of course, like any couple, we have our moments but more often than not, I still pinch myself that I am married to such a doting and loving man that I adore. Seeing him embrace, and grow into his role as a father to Everly has fostered my love for him to a level that I struggle to put into words. Our daughter is just the right mix of sassy and hilarious to balance out the relentlessness that tests us as parents. Most of all, my little family is surrounded by a network of supportive, loving, caring, positive and genuine people. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Let’s go 2019!

 

 

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My new standard of success

Timing and coincidence are funny things. I wonder if I had taken an alternative summer school paper, or left that book behind at the library, how my mindset going into 2018 would be different.

The teamwork and leadership paper I recently completed explores this idea of “critical reflexivity”, the action of reflecting on and coming to an understanding of your reflex responses to situations. I liken it to a small child, full of curiosity and wonder, asking “why, why, why” until finally you reach the root answer.

For me, this experience led to understanding my dependence on external recognition to validate my self-worth (I know, deep). Therefore, my self-confidence is shaken in absence of praise or a pat on the back. Worse still, I actively avoid criticism with what can be perceived as perfectionist tendencies.

The answers I needed were found in Arianna Huffington’s “Thrive”. I picked this up last minute when perusing the library for Ivanka Trump’s “Women who Work”. I had heard of Arianna Huffington as a successful business woman, the founder of Huffington Post, and thought it would be interesting to skim through over the holiday break.

Arianna is wealthy, and powerful, the two metrics that our modern culture define success by. In her book Arianna discusses, through her experiences, the third metric of success critical to happiness, the things less recognised by the success scrutineers.

She talks about the power of well-being, our physical and mental health. She talks about wisdom and wonder, the creativity and gratitude inspired by marvelling at art, nature and the activity going on around us. She talks about giving, not just money, but time, and how deeply satisfying it is to do something for someone else by simply being kind, generous with our time and reserving judgement.

I recorded a quote from the book that struck a chord with me.

“If we are unduly absorbed in improving our lives, we may forget altogether to live them”.

For so long, I have been chasing the next thing, when we were engaged, it was marriage. When we were married, it was a child. Bigger fitness challenges and levelling up in my career.

Arianna’s words and the self-discovery process of practising critical reflexivity were a timely reminder to disconnect from the things that no longer serve my soul.

I was inspired to create a vision board for 2018. A significant theme on this is unplugging, taking time to notice more and being OK with not being on the go all the time. To give up the title of “active relaxer” that I have worn as a badge of honour since the time Dad pointed out I was never able to sit still!

As a start, for the last week I have resisted sleeping with my phone by the bed and made a commitment to only check it in the morning after I have completed the morning home maker routine, settled Everly, had my breakfast followed by a cup of tea and spent some time recording 3 things I am grateful for.

I have experienced a sense of calm and clarity in this process, my day doesn’t begin with reacting to whatever I read on Facebook or responding to messages received late at night. My brain switches off more easily between tending to Everly overnight as my mind isn’t hijacked by social media apps.

I am redefining success by my own standards and it feels bloody good.

Want to learn more about the Third Metric of Success? Check out www.thriveglobal.com or have a listen to the Thrive Global podcast. I most recently enjoyed Arianna’s interview with Brandon Stanton, the guy who could be any one of us behind the deeply moving sensation that is Humans of New York.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash