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  • Keenan Harrell

The 6 Lessons That 2017 Taught Me

Updated: Sep 29, 2018

At the end of every year, I like to take time and reflect on the meaningful experiences and lessons I learned. I do this to proactively prepare myself to tackle new goals, challenges, and hold myself accountable for making tangible progress in the upcoming new year. In my time reflecting on 2017, I couldn’t help but realize that this year has been one of the best, most momentous years of my life. I traveled, made some amazing new friends, developed more meaningful relationships with my loved ones, advanced in my career, improved upon my health & wellness, and took advantage of numerous opportunities that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. This year has been nothing short of amazing, and for that, I am extremely grateful. Looking back on my 2017, there were a plethora of situations that occurred that enabled me to grow, become a better person, and to learn some very important lessons. In reflecting on these lessons learned, I’d like to share with you some of the most significant ones that I believe helped to make my 2017 quite special.


The 6 Lessons That 2017 Taught Me:


1) PROTECT YOUR ENERGY

I cannot stress enough the importance of protecting your energy. Your energy is what drives you and generates your momentum. Understand that your energy is finite; it is not a limitless element that you have an abundance of. You must protect, preserve, and use it wisely. I learned that the less time I spent on trivial issues, subjects, topics – things that don’t really bring any significant value to my life, the more energy I was able to retain and utilize towards my most important goals. This, in my opinion, is the most valuable and efficient way to use your energy. Although very difficult to do, releasing yourself from draining or toxic friendships, relationships, and situations is also sometimes necessary to preserve your energy. You cannot actively be the best version of yourself if there is negativity weighing you down or surrounding you. Learn to let go, prioritize your happiness and well-being, and put out the same type of energy you would like reciprocated. ­

If you ever need help in deciding how to best make decisions that protect your energy, ask yourself these 3 questions:


· “Is this decision (or situation) good for me?”


· “Will spending energy on this decision (or situation) add value to my life?”


· “Does this decision (or situation) align with my long-term values?”


If you cannot answer “yes” to all 3 questions. Don’t spend your precious energy on it.


2) EMBRACE FEAR

Fear can be one of our biggest enemies in life. On one hand, it’s your brains’ biological protection agent to ensure your safety, comfort, and survival. And on the other hand, fear can be one of the most crippling emotions you’ll ever experience. It is impossible to do away with fear, it’s engrained in us all. But what we must learn is to embrace fear and use it in a way that will benefit us. You must change your relationship with fear and begin to understand that we have to do things that scare us in order to grow. Sometimes you will have to take a leap of faith, even when prospects seem uncertain. Whether you’re on a journey to become a doctor, master the art of professional speaking, or contemplating making a complete career shift, there will be uncomfortable challenges and situations that invoke fear inside of you along the way. When these types of things occur, you need to be brave and view fear as an ally in getting you closer to your goals. On the other side of fear is tremendous opportunity for growth. When you embrace fear, and let go of its negative effects, I promise you that the momentum in your life will accelerate.


3) ALLOW YOURSELF TO LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE

This year I learned to become more aware of the self-inflicted, self-limiting thoughts we sometimes place on ourselves. For some reason, probably stemming from fear and our brains doing everything in its power to keep us feeling safe, we as humans tend to self-sabotage and talk ourselves out of things that we want – essentially blocking ourselves from our own dreams and desires. We sabotage ourselves with comments like “Maybe now isn’t the right time,” “This is going to be a very difficult task, I should probably quit while I’m ahead” or “Am I really able to handle all of this? Maybe I’ll let someone else step up to the plate and take on this project.” Learn to control that little voice in your head and train yourself to be cognizant of these types of habits. Don’t talk yourself out of attaining something that you deserve. When you’re able to overcome such behaviors, you will consequently put an end to the self-imposed roadblocks that delay the manifestation of your own dreams.

You deserve to live your absolute best life, regardless of your circumstances. It is okay to be unapologetically you. You understand your own truths and you know your convictions better than anyone else. When you work hard and momentum manifests itself into your life, embrace it. Don’t shy away from the opportunities and good fortune because you feel as if you’re not worthy or don’t deserve it. Don’t talk yourself out of a blessing. Don’t dim your light because you are afraid of what others may say or think about you. Live your very best life on your very own terms, no one else’s. Don’t live for the expectations and approval of others. Don’t follow a career path because its “safe” or because your parents told you to do so, or because of societal prestige placed on job titles. Your uniqueness should be embraced and celebrated. Make magic with the life you have and the opportunities you have been afforded. Life is entirely too short to live by the conventional standards set by others. Create your own path and pursue your passions relentlessly. You do not need permission to live your best life. Always remain humble and enjoy the excitement and happiness that you work so hard to manifest within your life every day.


4) ACCEPT WHAT YOU CANNOT CONTROL

There are so many situations in life that are simply out of our control. Once you truly accept that, you will learn to better direct your energy and focus on the things that you CAN control. You cannot control the weather, you cannot control traffic flow, nor can you control much of the chaos that is present in our world right now. What you can control is how you respond to any situation or experience you encounter. Instead, focus on your role in any given situation and how you can respond to it. You save an amazing amount of energy when you stop focusing on things outside of your control. This also goes back to protecting your finite energy supply – worrying, stressing, and getting angry at circumstances that you do not have any power over is a tremendous waste and exhaustion of your energy. Focusing on what you do control is ultimately the most efficient and productive way to use your time and energy.


5) TRUST THE PROCESS

Becoming is better than being. All of us have goals, desires, and dreams that we are striving to attain. We all want to be successful and live prosperous, meaningful lives. In pursuing success, it is easy to get fixated on the end goal. We sometimes forget to just slow down and enjoy the process of reaching our goals – focusing on learning each step of the way. This year I’ve realized that the path to success is seldom linear. It is an extremely bumpy road carved with twists, turns, and surprises at every corner. So, when you’re feeling anxious about your future or don’t know what’s next on your journey, remind yourself that you have to be patient, trust the process, and focus on learning something new every single day. These steps will serve to provide a tremendous amount of value as your life goes on. Let the adversity you encounter bring you wisdom and the successes you create bring you momentum. Always strive for progress, never perfection.


6) SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONES, FRIENDS, AND FAMILY

Time is one of the most valuable gifts that life will ever bring to you. As morbid as it sounds, our mortality is also one of the few things that life guarantees us. Never take your loved ones, friends, and family for granted. There will be a day when your loved ones are no longer here, so savor the time you have and enjoy life with them. Make sure that you’re creating meaningful memories with those closest to you while also learning important lessons from each other. Tomorrow is never promised.


For those of you reading this, I encourage you to personally reflect on your 2017 as a means to grow and develop a plan to become the best version of yourself in 2018. This is a practice I hope you adopt for years to come if you haven’t already done so. The new year can represent a blank slate and a fresh start for many of us, but remember, you do not have to wait until 2018 to start embarking on new goals and finding ways to improve; you can start right now! I hope that in sharing my 6 lessons with you, you too, can experience the same excitement, growth, and momentum that comprised my 2017.

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