We are about a third of the way through with 2019—incredibly hard to believe—and I can already tell this year is going to be profoundly different than 2018. Specifically, I am operating as a better version of myself.
Sometimes it’s the small moments that pop up that reinforce this belief. This past week, for example, as I boarded the eight-hour flight home from Lisbon after an incredible week exploring a truly majestic city, I found myself asking, “How would someone who is not deathly afraid of flying approach this flight?” My answer—and associated behaviors—was to sit back, enjoy eight hours of uninterrupted TV and reflect on an amazing trip. Moreover, when the pilot announced that our descent into Newark would be extremely choppy, I closed my eyes and pictured Future Carrie who was already safely on the ground, proud of herself for doing so well during the turbulence.
Sometimes it’s the bigger moments that reinforce this belief. I am saying “no” to things, activities and relationships that overwhelm me. I am consciously finding ways to spend more time with my family who lives two states away. I am considering other components of the legacy I wish to leave behind, beyond just professional impact. I am moving slower... but in the best way possible.
Though some days I still feel like the 2018 version of myself, there are more days this year that I am operating as a better version of myself, and that is something for which I am extremely proud.
Time to Shift
Everyone reaches a critical point in time in which they don’t just wish to operate differently, but rather they need to start operating differently for their mind, body and spirit. For some, that point arrives after a profound professional moment: the loss of a job, launch of a business, career change, company switch, etc. For others, it can happen after an important personal moment: the death of a loved one, marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, a family fight, etc. Sometimes, it’s a combination of everything. Other times, you can’t pinpoint a single reason that is making you want to channel a better version of yourself.
For me, it was a combination of everything.
2018 was an incredibly powerful year for me, with energizing highs and depleting lows. At the end of last year, I reflected on all the moments, recognizing that I wanted this year to feel completely different. Sure I wanted all the highs again—and more!—but I also wanted to make some big changes in service of me and the life I wish to lead. I did three really important things that I believe have allowed me to start operating differently and better:
To begin, I acknowledged the “what’s” that had caused my gas gauge to reach empty. A few majors topped the list: scheduling up to five coffee meetings on a single Friday to grow Nexus; working every single Saturday and Sunday to keep up with commitments; going to the gym almost every morning at 5:30, despite chronic pain in my wrist and neck. In acknowledging the “what’s,” I was able to create an action plan to manage and balance these triggers—e.g. no more than two coffee meetings ever in a single day.
I spent a lot of time trying to gain perspective. I looked at everything I had “accomplished” in 2018. There were a few areas where I fell short, a few where I excelled and everything in between. I asked myself a simple question: “If you experience the same type of success and shortcomings again in 2019 will you be happy?” The answer, which I could not believe, was “No.” Instead, what I wished for at the end of 2019 was balance, levity, ease and calm. It didn’t mean I didn’t want success; it just meant I wanted other things more. This perspective was a strong wake-up call that a different and better version of me was waiting.
If we are so lucky, we spend our time on this Earth surrounded by incredible people—those who love us unconditionally, nourish our souls and stimulate our minds and hearts. From friends to family to colleagues, it’s important to spend our time with these people—learning from them, growing alongside each other, and sharing together. This year, I have been prioritizing friendship, creating more time to spend with these amazing individuals. The better version of me knows that this time is invaluable.
Learning how to operate as a better version of yourself is one of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself. It is a superpower you can wield to successfully launch our own business; say “no” to a promotion that you don’t believe serves you; change your relationships with your colleagues, or shift your mindset from fixed to growth-oriented. It’s a superpower you can utilize when you want to feel differently—more centered, happy, fulfilled, stimulated and nourished. It’s a superpower you can pull out when you feel compelled to rock your personal and professional worlds to inch closer to something greater.
But learning how to operate better is hard and takes time. Though I can tell I feel different, there are likely friends, family and colleagues who feel I am the same Type-A, fast-moving, emotional Carrie. And they are right! But there are signs of evolution. There are small and big moments that only I can notice.
So for all of you out there who feel compelled to operate as a better version of yourself—or are in the process of doing so already—my hat goes off to you. You are giving yourself the gift of reinvestment, self-discovery and growth. You are embarking on a beautiful journey of self-love and introspection. And you are doing it in service to YOU.
Carrie Majewski is committed to affecting change. As Founder of the Women in Leadership Nexus, Carrie is fueled by a desire to create safe space for female luminaries to convene to redefine the notion of leadership. She has forged a career around strategic writing and storytelling, having led a digital marketing agency for almost three years and today working as VP of Marketing for Trilix. Carrie is a 2017 Rhode Island “40 Under 40” honoree and a 2016 Rhode Island Tech10 Winner. In her spare time you'll find her trying out a local hip-hop class, exploring parks with her rescue dog Tori, and sipping coffee with other powerhouse women.