Be kind. That’s it. We could all stand to be kinder, myself included. This includes being kind to yourself, as well.
Work ahead. Life is unexpected, and stuff happens. If you know you need to do something, do it as soon as possible. The thought of doing the work is generally worse than the actual work, and we generally incorrectly estimate the time it takes to do the work. Work ahead and thank yourself later.
Go to therapy. I had heard it over and over before, but you do not have to have a reason to go to therapy. You do not have to have experienced some major trauma or life event to benefit from therapy. Improving and maintaining your mental health is exactly the same as going to the dentist and seeing the eye doctor. Take care of yourself and go to therapy.
Take care of yourself to make the world a better place. We’ve all seen how this works when you enter a room in a good mood. It tends to be infectious. It works the same way when you feel someone enter a room in a foul mood. You can affect the same kind of change by taking care of yourself. When you feel healthy and aligned with yourself, you are helping the world be healthier and more aligned. Imagine the ripple effects.
Don’t let people tell you who you are. People want to categorize and label you. I’ve learned that I am rarely what people say I am and that you have to be careful not to internalize other people’s opinions of you. You do not fit into a box, label or description, and you don’t have to, no matter what people say. As RuPaul says, “Unless they’re paying your bills, pay them no mind.”
Build your emotional intelligence. Knowing how to perceive, understand and manage emotions is a skill that can not only help you directly, but can greatly impact those around you in a big way. Both personally and professionally, I can attribute success to understanding emotions and choosing to feel my feelings when needed.
Own up to your mistakes. We all make them, and it usually sucks. No one likes to make mistakes. Yet, I am always comforted by how much grace I am shown when I own up to my mistakes, especially because it is another opportunity to learn and grow.
Understand that when things are hard, the universe is working to help you grow. When you encounter a hard situation, it is not just for the sake of it being hard. You are supposed to learn and grow. Is it always fun? No. Do I sometimes tell the universe that I am as grown as I need to be? Yes. Yet, I know it is all for a good reason, and trying to reflect on previous hard situations helped me grow into the person I am today.
Trust your gut. Your gut, intuition, knowing – whatever you want to call it – is usually right. Listen to what you are feeling or hearing from yourself and do what you need to do. Take the leap of faith. Double check that you locked the car. Your gut is there to help.
Help make a pie. No, not a literal pie. The figurative pie that we all want a slice of. I’m talking about beginning to understand that we can have a slice of pie and that others can have a slice of pie and that, if needed, we can make more pie as well as help others make more pie. Many of us are lucky to have a good slice of pie, but what is even better is that our pie allows us to help others make a pie. Even if all you can give is a cup of flour or just the filling, help make a pie.
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.