30 Day Challenge Finale
Last week, I posted about the first 15 days of a 30-day challenge I had done several months ago, inspired by Alex Banayan. You can read about the first 15 days of the challenge here:
In brief, the challenge involved me writing in a notebook for 30 days consecutively, answering three questions each day: 1) what excited me today? 2) what depleted me of energy today? 3) What did I learn about myself? There is more to it, but those are the basics.
In that article, I promised to post Part 2 — the end of the challenge, which I ultimately completed. I journaled every day for 30 days.
It was one of the most insightful and beneficial things I have ever done to gain clarity and direction in my life.
In my last post, I shared some of my insights and experiences, and here I’m going to do the same. My hope is that by sharing with you what I learned about myself, you might be inspired to try this challenge for yourself. It isn’t easy, and sometimes it’s not much fun, but the rewards have been worth it.
I believe I have become a stronger person over all after completing this challenge. When I first started the 30 days, I was afraid to tell anyone about my dreams. I was afraid to dream big, or even admit to myself that I have big dreams. Fear was consuming. In my life, though, I just keep taking action, and putting one foot in front of the other.
The heightened sense of awareness that this challenge inspired allowed me to be more conscious of the fact that I don’t need to be fearful. Why? Because I’m DOING it! I’m learning things about myself, and I’m accomplishing goals that I’m setting for myself. And I am enough, and I deserve it.
Not only that, but because of the new strength of my convictions, and my go-getter attitude, I have started to inspire others to follow their dreams and find what inspires them to creative action. For example, my husband, who, I am lucky to report, has been so incredibly supportive of my creative ambitions, has started looking into hobbies and possible side-hustles too. I’m also talking to my mom about helping her open an etsy shop. She is a talented knitter and makes beautiful blankets, scarves and more.
It feels fantastic to be an inspiration to those closest to me, but most importantly, it feels amazing to inspire others to follow their creative passions.
Focus on Service
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. I struggled almost daily with finding meaning, purpose, or happiness at work. On day 17, I confided in my acupuncturist about this struggle. She gave me the wisdom to focus on service, and I recorded that in my journal.
More specifically, my acupuncturist told me that when I feel detached and uninspired, I should instead focus on all of the things the small non-profit I help to run does to help others. Because I have become a people manager, I have become detached from those moments. I don’t get to hold someone’s hand who is fearful and walk them through what is likely one of the most scary times in their life anymore. But, there are people I work with that do that, and I can think of them when I feel detached. Remembering service often helped me get through the day.
I Have Grit
I have also learned that I have more grit than I gave myself credit for before. By “grit,” I am referring to Angela Duckworth’s book that she titled with the same name — Grit. Duckworth defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” In other words, sticking it out because you know that perseverance is better for your future. It takes lots of mental fortitude.
During the last part of this challenge, an employee I hired to help me with my responsibilities at work left his position effective immediately, without notice. It felt devastating. Working through all of my emotions, I realized something important: I haven’t given up, and I won’t ever just give up. I haven’t quit and left everyone hanging. I continue to show up every day and help people sort out their problems even though I am overwhelmed myself. I continue to help manage, help our organization run and even help it grow. I make big decisions no one else wants to make, and deal with the consequences. But the difference is that I take care of myself, too.
Author’s note: As of this post, I have given notice at my job. However, I gave 7 weeks notice, and am doing what I can to help in the succession of leadership from me to someone else. I don’t consider that giving up, but I do consider it taking care of myself.
Hearing my Intuition
Another difference in me as a result of this challenge is that by learning more about myself, I learned to trust myself and my intuition more. The little voice in my head grew louder and stronger, and I became more decisive. I felt stronger in my convictions, and more confident in myself. I looked to other people for answers less than I did before. The transformation was palpable, and still is — when I have a hunch, I act on it as often as possible.
On day 18 I heard Jeff Goins say on a re-run of Cathy Heller’s podcast that the biggest failure is succeeding at the wrong thing. This hit home. I recognized that I have done just that — succeeded at the wrong thing. I have climbed my way up a ladder that I don’t belong climbing.
Luckily, I’m aware now — awareness and awakening is key. Without it, you just feel lost and irritable. I know all about that — I have been living that way for years. Now that I know, though, I can use my strength to pivot. You can always pivot. I realize I must be brave and trust myself and this instinct to create a plan to move forward.
Insight into my Why
One more specific insight I’ll share is from Day 21. I spent the day working with clay and listening to podcasts. The reason I started working with polymer clay and creating jewelry is because at some point when I was feeling lost, I was inspired to think about things that others have told me I’m good at in my past — something with which I have been recognized at excelling. I’m sure that the inspiration came from Cathy Heller’s podcast, as most of my inspiration has.
I remember all through out my childhood playing with clay and making little figurines. Memories returned to me that day of my mom helping me make clay figurines — I must have only been four or five years old. From one of the bleakest times in my life, these are fond memories of good times, and of love. Crafting helped me and my mom cope then. Now, even though times aren’t quite so dark, things aren’t easy. But feeling compelled to ground myself in something that has helped me cope, and that I developed a talent for in the past, makes a lot more sense.
I craft for comfort, and always have.
Opening my mind to reflection allowed me to connect these dots.
If I could reach out to you from the computer right now, I would first give you a hug. If you’ve read this far it’s likely because you either support me deeply, or you’re feeling lost and confused yourself. Either way, you deserve a hug.
If you are seeking and confused yourself, and are somehow still not fully convinced that you should do this challenge, I would then take you by the shoulders, shake you and say “YOU NEED TO DO IT!” Every. Single. Day. For. 30. Days. I know it will change your life. You WILL learn new things about yourself. What’s holding you back?
I would love to hear from you if you decide to complete this challenge. Or even if you just decide to try it and see how it goes, day-by-day. If you need support or want to talk about it, please reach out to me. I know it’s not easy, and I would love to be there to support you. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Thank you for reading!