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Episode 135. A Year in Review: 5 Hard Lessons Kat Learned in 2021

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I wanted to spend the last couple of weeks preparing you to be successful with your new year's resolutions.

But before we launch into the next 12 months of learning and growing together, I wanted to pause and take a look back at 2021, and share with you some of the most important lessons I've learned. 

These are the tools, the realizations, the perspective shifts that were born of a year of therapy, a year of researching, and a year of trying a new approach to a lot of areas of my life.

I hope this saves you some of the time, frustration, and heart ache that I had to go through to share these lessons with you...

1. The only way to heal is to feel your feelings.

The importance of allowing your emotions and feeling your feelings has become a hot topic on social media (at least the social media I follow).

But how do you actually do it?

Step 1: Redirect your mind from thinking your feelings to focusing on your physical sensations. 

Step 2: Mentally name the sensations (for example: my chest is tight, my stomach is churning, etc)

Step 3: Breath into the feeling or sensation and allow it.

Step 4: Your brain will want to go back into thinking/story mode, redirect back to your physical feelings. 

Step 5: Take deep breaths, reassuring yourself that the feeling will pass. 

Step 6: Observe the feelings changing until they dissipate. Recognize that you have survived.

If it feels like the feelings aren't dissipating: Ask your inner child what they need. And give it to them. For example if they need a hug, wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze tight.

Step 7: Calm your central nervous system down with box breathing (inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4).

2. Your worth is not your work.

This was a tough one for me. I have always been an extremely hard worker. I grew up being praised for being a straight A student, keeping my room clean, starting my business, and in general 'achieving'. So my worth has traditionally been deeply tied to doing and accomplishing. 

Here's the moment it truly sunk in for me that I am worthy simply by existing:

My therapist asked, "When your parents pass, are you going to miss their achievements, their accomplishments, their careers, what they did? Or are you simply going to miss their presence, who they are

Mic drop.

3. Sometimes saving money is the dumbest decision.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for being financially responsible. But as an entrepreneur who, for many years, existed in feast or famine, I tend to hold tightly onto my money. 

But this year, I invested a significant amount in a business coach who has helped me improve my product suite (I can largely thank her for the success of Follow Your Gut) and who has helped me achieve my #1 financial goal that I wanted to hit before turning 30. 

I also spent a huge chunk of change doing various forms of gut testing. While I know my gut has experienced massive improvement over the last 10 years, there still were stubborn symptoms that I couldn't figure out. 

As it turns out I have SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), so I invested in a holistic doctor and am excited to embark on this final healing journey to get my body back on track.

And let me tell you, I wish I had done these tests years ago.

4. Investing isn't as scary as it seems.

I always was the person who liked to keep money where I could see it: in my savings account. 

Again it goes back to those years of feast or famine where it felt dangerous to put money in the stock market, or even in a retirement fund where I couldn't access it right away.

But fear is usually born of ignorance. We are afraid of what we don't understand.

So this year I started talking to my dad (a CFO) and my brother who has done exceptionally well with investments and finally took the leap.

I went a more conservative route with it (ie not trying to day trade), that feels good to me.

I put a very small percentage of my income into stocks of companies that seem like a safe bet (knowing that that money may go bye bye). I put a large percentage into an index fund that won't be touched until retirement. And I still put a significant amount towards cash savings, but in a high yield savings account so whatever cash I do save grows faster. 

Again, I wish I would have done this years ago. 

5. Understanding your triggers and learning how to process them is essential to step in to the highest version of yourself. 

I consider myself a fairly self aware person. But until going to therapy, I had no idea how much I was still being triggered from my past toxic relationship. 

Being alone is triggering. Losing a client is triggering. And holy crap, until I went and visited my whole family last year, I didn't realize how incredibly triggering certain family members were. I mean I'm talking full body responses to certain conversations where my neck would tense up, my heart would race, my stomach would twist. 

And whether we are aware of this internal response or not, it keeps us stuck playing small, it keeps us in survival mode, it keeps us operating from a place of scarcity, fear, and insecurity. 

I learned we need to be able to both recognize when we're being triggered and build up our tool box of healthy coping mechanisms if we want to start playing big and operating from a place of worthiness, confidence, and bravery. 

For me that came in the form of deep breathing exercises, creating a dialogue between my 'adult self' and my 'child self' (the one that gets activated when you're triggered), affirmations, the feel-your-feelings exercise above. 

Now it's your turn... share one major lesson you learned in 2021 to social media and remember to tag me @katspanglerunleashed so I can see it!!


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