A Year of Wins, Losses & Lessons

I love Steve Jobs. His mindset and attitude — even at the end of his life — was so inspiring. No matter what he lost, including control over the company he founded and eventually his health, he managed to articulate sheer inspiration on a constant basis. To this day, his quotes about the crazy ones changing the world and the importance of continuing the search for what’s most important to us continue to resonate with me.

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s impossible to ignore a bit of reflection on the year gone past. This same time last year, I recall reflecting that 2014 couldn’t be referred to as a “great” year as it was the year I lost my mom after her 18-year breast cancer battle. I went into 2015 with so much hope as it was the first time in a dozen years both of my parents were resting in peace, and I could focus fully on things like my business, my relationships (a romantic long-distance one as well as important friendships), and finding ways to honor my mom’s memory in the form of major fundraising. I took a walk along the Kapalua (Maui) coast last year on December and made mental notes to self about my 2015 goals.

Looking back, I actually not only achieved but exceeded most of my goals this year. Top of the list was continuing to process the grief in a healthy way, which I did in partnership with a phenomenal team of medical doctors and healers who worked with me to cure the mono I contracted last fall (!), identify serious food allergies and reprogram old patterns of fear that were preventing me from full entry into a life of joy and absence of sadness over the loss of my mom. It was really rough getting through the first full year of all the seasons + holidays as a parent-less (adult) child. The no parent thing really takes it toll on your psyche no matter how old and evolved and “healed” you think you are.

As the months went on this year, I focused tons of energy on raising money (to the tune of a quarter million dollars) in my mom’s honor for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. This was probably my biggest “WIN” of 2015, although I also put getting healthy (as noted above) high up on that list. Finding a doctor who specializes in intergrative/holistic/preventative health and committing to monthly visits for high-dose vitamin drips was a major change that benefitted me and will continue to do so long term.

On a more business-y note, not being afraid to let natural attrition come into play as we worked hard to create a very talented, unique and hard-working team of people to represent my company was another notch in the W column. It’s not always easy to make the right business decisions as they are rarely the easiest, but with the right support and the right team it becomes crystal clear when things are moving in the right direction. In fact, revenue was up 20% this year over last which is definitely a great sign that we are doing something right. I also made a huge decision to change banks to First Republic (which has the tagline “It’s a privilege to serve you”) after being a disgruntled CitiBank customer for nearly 20 years, and this has been a huge improvement in how I can efficiently run my small business on a daily basis no matter where I am in the world. The WINS were definitely big ones this year.

Fantastic travels (to places like Japan, Hong Kong & Italy) again played a fun and positive role in my life this year, but I also enjoyed a bit more quality time in LA, Vancouver and Maui . I lost my beautiful golden cocker spaniel in June at 15…this was super sad and left a void bigger than I realized until 9-year old Holly (a golden-colored cocker spaniel) popped up in my social media feed as a sign that she needed me to come rescue her. Which I did. Another win.

I attended a Deepak Chopra weeklong retreat in November, which had long been a dream of mine. I chose to attend that over my birthday with 250 strangers from 30 different countries rather than fly to Italy for a business trip with people I already knew quite well. This eye-opening week in the company of enlightened evolved company really hammered home the point that my own world is expanding on a bigger level than I had even anticipated…and it’s not something I can even try to control but need to embrace on all levels.

I need to make 2016 a Year of YES and try things new and different and out of my comfort zone (I started today by attending a 90-minute SoulCycle class which is twice as long as I am used to!). I also need to make it a year of NO and not feel obligated to participate in anything that does not make me happy or serve my true purpose, which is finding inspiration and growth at every corner. If there is no lesson to be learned, then it’s not of interest to me. I love learning, and I love the mystery of deciphering the messages and life lessons that constantly cross my path. It’s painful at times to try to understand why certain events are unfolding in a certain way…but with the confidence that there is always a reason and a bigger, better outcome it makes it all seem reasonable.

It’s hard to call 2015 one of my “favorite” years, when it included the attendance of my mom’s one-year unveiling (highlighted in a great way by reconciling with my mom’s sister after 10+ years ); the loss of my beloved pup and a near-death experience for another one; as well as the ending of a special relationship which came about more abruptly than expected. But despite these challenges, this has been a very productive, fun and fulfilling year on so many levels. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am a permanent student in the course titled “Lessons in Life.” I have a pretty clear picture of what I DO want to experience, achieve and aspire to in the year ahead, as there is always more to do and more to learn. As Steve Jobs said, “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.” I wish us all a very peaceful & joy-filled 2016. No matter where you are or where you are going, you can always choose to make happiness the ultimate goal.

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