5 things I learned about myself in 2013

Kripalu Summer 2013

Some of my biggest teachers are the women who attend my retreats (Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health; 6/2013).

There’s something magical about this window of time as one year ends and another is about to begin. It’s a pregnant pause: ripe with possibility and potential. To me, it feels especially so this year.

Yesterday I challenged our 6th grade son to write out five things he learned about himself this fall (his first semester of middle school!). He surprised and inspired me with his level of insight, so following his lead, I reflected on what I discovered about myself in 2013:

1. I’m ok, they’re ok, we’re all ok. 2013 was intense, chaotic and at times, exhausting for many of my clients, colleagues, friends, fellow Americans and for my husband and son who navigated some big fall transitions. But we’re resilient, adaptable and when we remember we’re all in this together (and it’s our job to lean on each other and ask for/receive help), everything works out for our highest good. Even if this looks differently than how we’d imagined.

2. I’m a social activist. I am cause driven and love to serve others. I’ve always known this (my first major was Sociology), but it really became clear in September when in addition to running my business, I spent nights and weekends developing a parent education program for my son’s middle and high school. Over the last several months I’ve been so moved by intimate conversations I’ve had with parents struggling to navigate a wide spectrum of issues with their adolescents, I felt the least I could do was to harness my organizational, visionary and creative gifts to help bring top notch educational programming to my community.

3. The older I get, the less I know (and the more curious I have become). Yes, I have 25+ years experience in the field of coaching/leadership/human potential, but do I know what’s best for someone navigating a big career, relationship/life decision or crisis? No. But there have been times in my past when I thought I might. Now, I try to listen more than talk. Trust more than judge. And release the need to help, save or assist others in distress. A willingness to say, “I don’t know,” and mean it–is beyond liberating!

4. My body is boss. This past year I was fortunate to study with mind-body experts Dr.Richard Miller, Amy Weintraub, Tara Brach, Robert Peng and amazing teachers at Yoga Yoga. Sometimes I still choose fear over love, but when I do, my body lets me know something has gone awry through a tightening in my shoulders or chest, or an unsettled feeling in my  belly. My body is my ultimate business, career and life coach. I just have to slow down enough to hear what it is she’s trying to tell me.

5. My favorite response to big decisions is, “Let me sit with it.”  It’s very rare that I rush decisions. I prefer to reflect, go inward, call on my intuition, and trust in a more fluid timing. In my thirties while navigating my high-pressure corporate job and pushing for quick outcomes, my therapist used to constantly remind me, “Beware of a sense of urgency.” At times, I still create undue stress by trying to do too much too fast (read more), but those days happen less and less frequently.

I’ll be 48 in a week and I continue to surprise myself. Yes, I was happy and incredibly grateful this past year to release Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life and work with the wonderful team at New World Library, receive prestigious work-life balance speaking invitations, train/support women worldwide as part of our personal renewal group program, launch a beautiful new web site, and enjoy many new partnerships with wonderful organizations like Hopeful World, but reflecting on the last 12 months, what I most want to celebrate is how I go with the flow of life. My days feel different. There is less drama, fewer rollercoaster rides, a stronger desire to love than to produce and a growing comfort in just being with what is and living in the now.

It feels like my job description has changed and my most important job is simply to ask moment to moment in each situation, “What is uniquely mine to do?” as I continue to try and show up as real, vulnerable, down to earth and accessible as I can. A work in progress, for sure.

Here’s to letting go and going with the flow as I move into 2014. What is one thing you learned about yourself in 2013?  I invite you to share one of your 2013 “lessons” in the comments section below.

INVITATION: Tired of pushing to make things happen and ready to go with the flow of life in the New Year? Join me for New Way of Being: Learning to Go with the Flow –a powerful *new*advanced level 4-week life balance telecourse for men/women at all life stages via phone on Thursday evenings in January; all classes are recorded. Learn more here and register now.

P.S. You can read more about all the themes I mentioned above on my weekly blog Live Inside Out, where I share my personal journey on how I strive to create balance from the inside out.




  1. Great idea, Renee! Okay, what one thing did I learn about myself in 2014? There were several things, but the biggest ONE thing was that my body is awesome in its intelligence, resilience and healing capacity. I learned that when I love and appreciate my body, it responds exponentially. In May, I made the decision to have major surgery. Starting in July, I began the daily practice of sending the energy of love to my body. I had the surgery in August and have continued that practice now well after the surgery. I’ve not only had a smooth recovery – no complications, no infections (unlike the last time I had a similar major surgery more than a decade ago) – I needed far less pain medication than expected and have healed very rapidly.

    • YES! Angela–you are so wise. Thank you for sharing and here is to a New Year filled with grace, ease and gratitude for our amazing bodies!