31 Lessons in August

Okay, August is almost done, but my new chapter is just beginning. I’m celebrating my birthday this week. I celebrated the whole month in various ways, publicly and privately. It’s been a great month, and I’m looking forward to this new chapter. One of the ways I’ve celebrated is by sharing 31 Lessons in August. 

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Let’s break down the 31 Lessons. 

August 1, Lesson of the Day: Stop treating others better than you treat yourself: You will give yourself the same grace that you give others. You will no longer break promises you’ve made to yourself. You will love yourself better.

August 2, Lesson of the Day: There are people who love and support you. Stop focusing on the ones who don’t: It is so easy to get caught up in what we don’t have that we miss what we do have. When I first started my business, I noticed people avoided my business post like the plague. I could tell they were seeing them, and I’d get ‘likes’ on other things. Yet, numerous people had shared my business, bought my products/services, and referred people to me. Why was I more concerned about those who didn’t? I literally had to check myself. I still don’t get very many likes. Heck, I have a Business Facebook page that barely gets any attention. LOL! I had to shift my mindset to its business, not personal.  I’ve also learned ‘likes’ have nothing to do with people buying your products/services. That was a game-changer. 

I truly appreciate those who have supported my business and those who have found value in my products/services. 

Whether people notice or not will not stop me from showing up for my business, and if you are an entrepreneur, don’t let it stop you either!

August 3, Lesson of the Day: Stop feeling guilty WHILE taking a break. I used to take breaks and think about all the other things I could be doing. I could be folding the laundry that has now taken the shape of a mountain. I could be washing dishes, working on a project, checking my email, organizing my closet, etc. I could be spending more time with my husband and my kids. I realized that taking a break while thinking about all the things you could be doing is not taking a break at all. It’s mental torture, and your body is not truly resting. So, it has taken practice, and I’m still practicing how to take a break without feeling guilty. It’s been liberating. 

August 4, Lesson of the Day::Living your best life looks different for everyone. I say this a lot, and I’ve heard others say it too. We all have a version of what ‘living your best life’ looks like. The world has a version; your family and upbringing have their version. Your cultural background has a specific version. However, it’s important to know what ‘living your best life’ looks like for you outside of those versions. Oftentimes, it means going against the expectations of your family, culture, and societal beliefs. Knowing what you truly want will take work and deep self-reflection, especially if you’re a former people-pleasure like me. Yet, there is beauty in figuring out the type of life you want and doing what it takes to make it happen. It’s not too late. 

August 5, Lesson of the Day: Try it before assuming it won’t work. We bought a house this year. It’s been ten years since we went through the home buying process, and a lot has changed. I didn’t think it was possible with the market being so crazy. A simple conversation with a friend changed everything. “Have you tried?” The truth was, I hadn’t. I just assumed this whole time it was impossible. How often do you put things off, believing it won’t work when you haven’t tried it yet? So, I pose the question….whatever it is that you think you aren’t ready for or that it is not time yet, have you tried it yet? Have you prayed for it to happen now? 

August 6, Lesson of the Day: Give Without Expectation: I’m so thankful for the conversation I had with one of my accountability partners. It has helped me not be disappointed when someone doesn’t give me the same energy I give them. It doesn’t mean a lack of boundaries. It means posing the question, does this bring me joy? I will help this person with something unconcerned about whether or not they will give it back because it brings me joy at this moment. I will reach out to them today, even if they rarely respond, simply because reaching out gave me joy at that moment. Thank you, Katalina! 

August 7, Lesson of the Day: Self-awareness is a superpower.  You need to know your strengths and celebrate them. It is good to know what comes easy for you and what requires work. You also need to be aware of your weaknesses and flaws: your idiosyncrasy and ugly truths. When you are aware of both, no one can use them against you. And, that is power! 

August 8, Lesson of the Day:  No is a complete sentence. That’s it. No need to explain. That’s the lesson. The more you use it, the easier it will get.

August 9, Lesson of the Day: Let people be who they are. People don’t have the same thought process as you or the same healing as you. You can’t expect them to respond the way you would, feel how you feel, or do what you do. Take your expectations out and meet people where they are without thinking about how they need to change. This also means removing yourself if their behavior is toxic or interrupts your peace. You can meet people where they are from across the street too.

August 10, Lesson of the Day: I don’t have to be good at something to be called to do it. We live in a time where people have high expectations about everything from talent down to our appearance. Too often, you’ve talked yourself out of doing something because you didn’t think you were good enough by societal standards. You’ve made up in your mind that you aren’t talented because you’re not good at it. Just because your gift or talent needs work doesn’t mean you’re not supposed to use it, especially if it’s something you can’t stop thinking about. How many times did Jesus use less than qualified individuals? I love the quote, “practice makes improvement,” by Les Brown. You may not be good at it now, but with practice, you will. So, do what you need to do. 

August 11, Lesson of the Day: Do more of the things that bring you joy;  Pay attention to how you feel after you do certain things, talk to certain people, go to certain places, and eat certain foods. Be mindful of your daily habits. Do they produce joy? It can be as simple as opening the blinds every morning to let the sun in. It doesn’t matter how small it is, do more of what brings you joy and less of the things that bring about the opposite feeling. 

August 12, Lesson of the Day: Success doesn’t define you: If you allow success to define you, then you have to allow failure to define you too. Neither one determines who you are or your self-worth. After all, life is a journey that is meant to be enjoyed in the stages in between, not the ending. 

August 13, Lesson of the Day: You don’t have to announce your departure. Be okay with leaving the room when it no longer serves you without needing to explain yourself, especially if you don’t want to. I will log off a zoom call with the quickness. I will leave a party, a conversation, or a church service. I will even leave a friendship. I’ve had people call me rude. I’d rather be seen as rude than neglect my mental health.

August 14, Lesson of the Day: Don’t allow how others treat you to determine how you treat them. I’ve heard people say to treat people the way they treat you. I used to follow the rule of giving the same the energy they give you. After going through years of therapy, I’ve changed on this. We are all battling something. You don’t know what headspace a person is in at that moment. Some people need grace. Life will get the best of us sometimes. Also, you don’t want to give that much power to people. This doesn’t mean allowing people to treat you any kind of way. I’m all about setting boundaries and showing people how you want to be treated. It means you can revoke access if need be without changing yourself but also be able to meet people where they are without taking their actions personally.  

August 15, Lesson of the Day: Trust your intuition and the red flags: Too often, you’ve given people the benefit of the doubt when your first impression of them wasn’t good. You also ignored their red flags to see the best in them. More times than not, your original feeling was true. 

 I recently watched a video from Jerry Flowers Jr, where he says, “I don’t have to stick around and wait to discover why the red flag was there.” And, that’s a word!

Thank you, Alontay, for sharing the video. 

August 16 Lesson of the Day: ‘Healed’ you is going to make some people uncomfortable. People will say you’ve changed as if it’s a bad thing. You can agree with them because you have changed. It’s okay if they haven’t caught up to the new you. It’s also not your job to make them comfortable at your expense. Remember, everyone can’t walk into your new season with you. 

August 17, Lesson of the Day: Your biggest flex is being a better version of yourself than you were yesterday. That means doing the work to heal from trauma, breaking unhealthy habits, and forgiving others. It means spending more time feeding your spiritual being and less time feeding into your fear.

August 18, Lesson of the Day: Silence is a powerful tool. Your thoughts do not always need to be spoken, your opinion doesn’t always need to be known, and your plans most definitely should be guarded.

August 19, Lesson of the Day: Fall in love with the process, not the destination. Whew, this is huge. I have spent most of my life being a planner and living in the future.  (I will be happy when I get this…. I will be satisfied when I finally have a baby…I will love my body when I finally lose weight.) God is showing me how to fall in love with my now, love my body now, and love my life NOW. Sure, I still have dreams and long-term goals, but if I don’t learn to enjoy my RIGHT now, I won’t enjoy it when I get those things either. I will always be looking for the next thing. 

August 20, Lesson of the Day:  Stop breaking promises to yourself. This has been a hard one and is a daily practice. I’m reading a book called “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachael Hollis. It was a life-changing moment when she said she had to learn to stop breaking promises to herself. I realized that was something I did a lot. I would say I’m going to eat healthier, and I wouldn’t stay committed. I’m going to exercise more, and I will stop after the first week. I’m good at holding myself accountable for someone else or my career. Yet, when I say I’m going to write every day, it’s easy to find reasons not to. When I say I will read every day, I will do everything else. Keeping promises to myself has helped me to feel more in control of my day and to reach my personal goals. 

August 21, Lesson of the Day: Boundaries will reveal a person’s intentions toward you: Someone who wants the best for you will respect your boundaries. A toxic person will always find ways to challenge them or make you think you are doing too much. Set your boundaries and don’t wavier for anyone, not even your family. 

August 22, Lesson of the Day: Perfectionism is robbery 

Perfectionism leads to taking fewer chances in hopes of preventing mistakes or, worse, failure. Truth is, you believe your mistakes are connected to your self-worth and identity. Shift your perspective and start seeing mistakes and failures as what they truly are, an opportunity to learn and a mechanism for growth. 

TRIGGER WARNING! 

August 23, Lesson of the Day: Be Okay With Not Being Okay. I’m the person who wants to be in control of every aspect of me, especially my emotions. I don’t like to cry because I don’t feel in control when I do. I don’t like to be angry because I don’t feel in control when I am. Yet, the last few years, I’ve felt both heavily.  I was holding my baby when she took her last breath. Nobody truly expects me to be okay after something that traumatic. So, why should I place that expectation on myself? Grieving is something that changes daily. Some days, I can say her name and swallow the lump in my throat. And, other days, the mere thought of her and I can’t contain my screams.

I’m learning that feeling in control and being in control are different. One is real, and the other is an illusion to band-aid our discomfort. It is the comfort we seek when we try to control our emotions. And, the comfort we seek can only be found in God. I’m reminded of the scripture in 2 Corinthians 12:10 “… when I am weak then I am strong.” So, it is okay not to be okay. 

August 24, Lesson of the Day: I don’t have to be included. I used to get sad when I saw that family and friends had a party or outing without me. I used to wonder if something about me made them not want to include my family, especially my children. Were we not fun enough? Were we not (fill in the blank). I’ve gotten to a place where my household is the only place I need to be included. Everything outside of that is extra. Besides, no one owes me anything. And, if I’m honest, there is a good chance I won’t show up anyway. So, why waste that energy? 

August 25, Lesson of the Day: You decide the life you want. I used to leave so much up to chance, especially when it came to my income. I would wait for the promotion instead of asking for it. I would wait for an opportunity instead of chasing it. When I started studying the habits of millionaires, I realized that I had a poverty mindset. I was thinking in survival mode, which was passed down for generations. Breaking generational curses includes mindset too. Once your mindset shifts, your goals become actions. 

August 26, Lesson of the Day:  Friendships have seasons and levels. 

I had this long, thorough explanation about this. I realized that it should probably be a blog post. For now, to sum it up… this has been one of the most challenging lessons. My life has changed drastically in the last few years, and so have the people around me. There are friends that I thought would be there long-term that I don’t even speak to anymore. There are also friends who I’ve known since I was a child that has more of a friend now than they were back then. Friendships not only have seasons, but they can have levels. In one season, you may find that you are inseparable, and in another season, you barely talk. There is nothing wrong with either one. It is just life. I’ve learned to appreciate the now even more because it is constantly changing. I’m also so thankful for the friends I have in this season. 

August 27, Lesson of the Day: You have more control than you think. There is no reason to be bored or disappointed with your life when you focus on the things you can control. You can be healthier by making better daily choices. You can elevate your finances by starting a business and creating multiple passive income streams. We have the power to create the life we truly want starting today. No more settling. 

August 28, Lesson of the Day: You weren’t made to fit in.  I loved when Colin Kaepernick talked about ‘trusting your power’ in his Netflix series “Collin in Black and White. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a watch. You are not ordinary. You’ve always known that and downplayed it your entire life. When you’ve silenced the noise and expectations of others, you know what you truly want. You know who you are despite the opinions and perceptions others have placed on you that you’ve quietly accepted over the years. You’re different, but you’ve suppressed it because you feared standing out. You were afraid people would get you wrong. So, you agree with them, laugh when they laugh, and try to be more like them. It wasn’t until you were honest with yourself that a shift took place. You started to speak up for yourself even when it went against the grain. You started wearing the clothes you liked even if they weren’t in style etc. You started being okay with people getting you wrong because you are living your truth. Most importantly, life became so much sweeter and more enjoyable. 

August 29, Lesson of the Day: Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Did you know I can hold a note? I sang in the Acappella choir, All-City Honor Choir, and UIL competitions in high school. I even got a voice scholarship to college. I’ve gotten paid to sing the National Anthem at retirement parties. I’ve sung in church for years. Yet, something happened about ten years ago. I stopped singing, and when I tried to start singing again, I didn’t have a voice anymore. I opened my mouth, and it sounded like I could never sing. I had given up on it and believed that singing was something in the past for me. Despite this, my husband would always encourage me to start singing again. I kept it in my mind that I would take lessons one day. Then, I had a prophetic word spoken over me. I expected them to talk about writing and motherhood, but they kept saying music. At first, I was like, God, can you please let them know that that is in the past? However, they wouldn’t shake it until I finally revealed that I used to be a singer. Of course, the words “used to” stood out to them.

Fast forward, I started taking singing lessons. In the first lesson, I did a vocal assessment, and my coach set me free with this. He said something along the lines of, “you’ve lost your voice because you haven’t given yourself permission to make mistakes. You’re so scared of what you will sound like that you’ve literally locked up your vocals in fear; once you get to a place where it’s not about whether or not you hit the right or wrong note, that’s when things will change.” I feel like that was a life lesson. Once I gave myself permission to make mistakes, it unlocked so much more in me that I didn’t know was there. My voice is different now, and I’m still learning how to use it. However, I’ve fallen in love with this new sound and can’t wait to see what more practice will do. Stay tuned. 

August 30, Lesson of the Day::I don’t need permission…. I spent my whole life downplaying how amazing I am. I don’t know if it’s a mix of society’s false notion of humility or believing the lies people have spoken over me. Perhaps, it’s a bit of both. Yet, the last few years have been an awakening for me. They forced me to reintroduce myself to the ‘real’ me and not the one I thought I was supposed to be. The old me would never celebrate her birthday during the whole month of August. The old me would never tell anyone how awesome I am and would downplay a compliment. The new ‘me’ doesn’t need permission to be who God called me to be. I am powerful. My talents are incredible. I’m walking in my truth, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store in this next chapter. 

August 31, Lesson of the Day: Minding my business Learn the beauty of being okay if nobody likes you. One of my favorite things to remind myself of is how people feel about me is none of my business. My business is myself, my husband, my children, and my businesses. Everything else is extra. 

I hope each lesson was helpful.

See you at the top!

Ebby

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