These last two years of my life have, at once, been the most difficult and the most important of my life. One day, I will tell that story or at least the bits & pieces waiting patiently in my heart to be shared. But today, as the final hours of this precious & painful year slip away, I want to talk about what happened next, and mostly about what I learned in 2017 and what I hope for in 2018.

Toward the end of 2016, I wrote about The Gift of No, in other words, having the strength and confidence to courageously say no when you want to. For some, it’s an unnecessary thought, they’ve never struggled with saying no, but for a people-pleaser like me, the idea of saying no was terrifying. But I knew that in order to live the rest of my life to its fullest potential, it was something that I had to learn how to do. And I did.

Over these last few years, I learned how to say no to things that made me uncomfortable. I learned to value my own time and energy enough to say no when I knew that something would be too much for me to handle. I learned how to trust my gut and to walk away from people and situations that were not serving me well.

I have always internalized other peoples’ emotions. I am sensitive to a fault and my heart is open and absorbent like a sponge. Rather than to see someone else in discomfort, I would always sacrifice my own heart, emotions, and even my time. It took me many years (and a good therapist!) to learn that putting myself last did not serve me or anyone else. As I wrote in much more detail here, you cannot serve from an empty vessel.

Last year, my word for the year was STRENGTH. I made a promise to myself to be the strongest person that I know — what a tremendous undertaking that was. Surely there were moments when I failed. I was weak. I was afraid. But on the whole, when I look at this past year; I WAS STRONG. I had a spine like a sequoia. There were trials and pain and suffering that would have brought a lesser person to her knees. But I put my head down and I pressed through every storm.

I took risks that I never thought I could handle, and I pulled through them. I saw success that I never knew I could attain, and I strived for greatness. I fell down a lot, but I always got back up and I got stronger every time I did.

In addition to saying no, I learned to do three other things that have changed my life and made me stronger.

1. I learned the intense power of manifestation. I have known for a long time that we move in the direction of our most dominant thoughts. I knew about the power of positive thinking and gratitude, and I lived by those things. What I didn’t know, however, is that with intense focus and the power of manifestation we can accomplish things that would be considered impossible. I plan to write more about manifestation, and how it has specifically worked for me in the near future, but for now suffice to say that we possess an incredible power to manifest into our lives, the power is greater than you can possibly imagine; unless of course you have already tapped into it, then you already know.

2. If you want to be successful, you have to work hard as fuck. Over this past year, I have worked harder than I ever have in my life. There have been so many times where I felt a deep exhaustion in my bones. I felt so tired, drained, and overwhelmed that I honestly didn’t think that I could go on. But I always dug deep and got the important stuff done. I’ve learned that there isn’t really such a thing as a work/life balance. Especially when you are a mother and an entrepreneur. There will be a lot of days when you work until you drop, but you do it. People will often ask you how you do it, and there is no answer. You just do it because you have to.

3. It’s okay to ask the universe for exactly what you want and to take it when it comes. I have learned that sometimes you have to be so gutsy in what you ask the universe for. You have to think so far outside of the box and reach into the depths of your deepest most audacious dreams. It is terrifying to ask the universe for the things that you wish for so desperately in the far corners of your heart — but you have to! You have to jump and dive and run fearlessly and head first. And when you do it and then you suddenly find your dreams within arms reach you have to grab them as fast and as hard as you can and despite whatever obstacles that come in your way, you keep grabbing until it is yours.

My 2018 word for the year is BUILD. In 2015, my word was Survive and I survived. In 2016, my word was Bravery and I was brave. In 2017, my word was Strength, and I was strong. In 2018, my word will be Build, and I will build.

This year, I plan to watch so many of my dreams unfurl and I will put in the hard work to build strong foundations around them so that they can grow big, strong, and fruitful. I am going to build my home to be my sanctuary and haven. I am going to grow my businesses so that I may live out my passions and provide for myself and my family. I am going to build my health and my strength and my wellness so that I can be the very best version of myself — for me, for my children, and for the world. I am going build the experiences that I have long-dreamed for. I will build adventures and see the places and do the things that have been calling to my heart for so long.

This year I am going to build and build and build. One brick at a time. One step at a time. One goal at a time. One dream at a time. I am going to build it all. ♥

Happy New Year, friends! Wishing you lots of love, happiness, and success in 2018.

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