Written by Courtney N. Shale // 11.25.19
Last Few Weeks – Reflecting on 2019
I don’t know about you, but I am honestly SHOCKED that I as I started writing this and hit save, the date populated and said 11.25.19. WHERE DID NOVEMBER GO? Better yet, WHERE DID 2019 GO???
Time flies when you’re having fun… but I have to tell you, 2019 wasn’t all fun. It was probably THE most wholesome year of my life, which means it was equally parts difficult as it was fun.
This week’s episode is going to dive into 2019 as a whole.
I am going to share who I was and what my mindset was coming into 2019, the lows, the highs and what life looks like going into 2020.
This is the perfect time to start this conversation because in the next few weeks, we are going to do some deep-dive, soul-searching on all things personal development to get you ready for the new year!
I hope you all are excited for weekly episodes, I know I am.
Each week I will be breaking down one topic, day by day on here, and getting raw and real with you all about the journey along the way. Then on Friday’s, I will be publishing the full episode. Pretty cool right?!
After all, you know I love telling stories, so what better way to do so then in chapters?
That’s exactly what you should be expecting from me- the question is, are YOU ready??
Overview Coming Into 2019
I remember ringing in the New Year the same way Brandon and I always have… asleep!
I always joke and tell people I might as well be a grandma, and this is exactly what I mean.
Brandon and I started dating in 2015 and every New Year has been spent half asleep or fully asleep by the time midnight comes around.
Lame right?… it’s fine. Everything is fine!
Something was different about this year though. There were so many uncertainties in addition to the unnecessary weight of expectations I was placing upon myself that I felt anything but excited for a fresh start.
I should probably start out by reminding you all that being an entrepreneur is hard work. Like insanely difficult and a constant rollercoaster of emotions.
I just recently read a blog from Natalie Franke of Rising Tide Society about ways to support small businesses and one part stood out to me the most- that entrepreneurs do the work of about 3-4 people. I laughed because I was like “AT LEAST!!!”.
And it’s so true.
For me, 2019 was my first full year in business since going full-time in June of 2018. That alone felt like a ton of pressure. Pressure to prove. Pressure to succeed. Pressure to have it all together.
But let’s be real- this type of thing doesn’t happen over-night and the process certainty doesn’t go as you’d hope if your mindset isn’t where it needs to be.
Coming into 2019, my mindset was anything other than what it needed to be to get me off to a strong start.
After about a month and a half of fumbling around and feeling like I had no sense of direction for what I was doing in my life + business, I decided to do something that scared me.
I made a post in Goal Digger Podcast Insiders by Jenna Kutcher, one of the many Facebook groups I am a part of and asked about people’s experiences with business coaches because I felt that I was at the point where I needed the help.
Even though I was deathly afraid to ask, I still did it. When the hundreds of comments came rolling in, I instantly felt sick to my stomach. Looking back, that was a good thing. It meant I was onto something.
A few days went by and I found a coach I knew I wanted to work with, but I had NO idea how I was going to afford it.
Investing in yourself is not an easy decision to make, mostly because you will stop and find yourself asking over and over “am I WORTH it?”. Sister, if you’re considering investing in your mental + emotional + entrepreneurial health with a coach, I am going to tell you right now to snap yourself out of it because you TOTALLY ARE WORTH IT.
It will likely be the best decision you ever make. Truth be told.
But, working with a coach doesn’t mean all of your problems go away or that they will all be solved. Girl, you get out of it what you put into it.
Hiring a coach was just the beginning.
I’m not kidding, simply hiring someone to help you with a problem you have does not mean the problem will go away or be instantaneously solved.
With that said, let’s get into some of the lows of this year.
I started working with my coach in February. I was already in a very vulnerable chapter in my life- I was overweight and feeling awful about how I looked. I could hardly look at myself in the mirror and feel confident. I was battling my usual seasonal depression, but it was extremely heightened with my lack of confidence in how I looked in addition to my high-functioning anxiety wreaking havoc on my mindset.
In order to move forward, we must make changes. If nothing changes, nothing changes; and many of the changes I was going to have to make meant I had to let go, forgive and forget a lot of baggage that I was holding onto.
There were points in this process that I felt worthless and that there was no point to anything.
I remember a few days where I literally felt that there was no point to anything. You could say overthinking got the best of me.
There were points in this process where I felt like giving up because digging deep to clear the past meant bringing up things I tried so hard to bury away- things I didn’t know I was holding onto until I would be talking with my coach and start crying uncontrollably.
There were days I told her we had to stop. There were days I was frustrated and felt like nothing got accomplished during our time together.
It’s a process, y’all.
In the midst of battling my self-esteem and confidence issues, I continued to face some health problems that never seemed to really go away. I was constantly sick.
I battled many “less than” mindsets that make things much harder than they needed to be.
I engaged in self-sabotaging habits that gave temporary relief, only to dig the hole deeper and make me feel worse (over eating, spending money I didn’t have, sleeping in when I didn’t want to get out of bed).
You could say I hit an all-time low. And I will be the first to admit, I did.
It took me awhile to pull myself out of it and realize a cycle was repeating itself and ultimately, I was the problem- I was getting in my own way.
That’s when I decided to start the movement #BelieveInTheBreakthrough to help others learn to tell their story and know they are not alone wherever they are at in their story and journey to personal development.
I remember sitting down to write more of my book earlier this year when I got so into whatever I was writing that I started crying uncontrollably, slamming away at my keyboard getting it all out.
When I finally stopped, I had written close to 30 pages in like an hour and a half or something crazy. I just stopped thinking and let it all come out.
And after that, my whole world changed.
For those of you who are curious, no. No, I have not gone back to read what I wrote. And I don’t plan on it.
That day, I released, forgave and forgot anything and everything negative that I was holding onto and I literally felt myself begin to change instantly.
Let’s transition into a more positive note.
During my time with my coach and on after our time together came to an end, the most amazing things started to happen!
Looking back, I think 2019 was my highest-achieving year ever and it’s not quite over yet!
I think the best way to break this down is with my favorite categories.
Note: try this yourself! Use this question to help guide you: “Am I the same person I was at the beginning of the year? Why or why not? (aka for better or for worse?).
This is probably one of the top transformations I went through this year and I couldn’t be happier with the woman I have become when it comes to my mindset. I went from thinking there was no point to anything, to seeking the lesson in everything and using it as a challenge to keep myself motivated.
I went from stating mindset quotes and affirmations to actually believing them- to then watching the power of belief come to life.
Similarly, here, I went from stating positivity quotes to actually believing them and telling myself to seek the plus side in everything (even if my brain wanted to be more realistic and logical).
I went from feeling like vulnerability was my biggest weakness to feeling like vulnerability was my biggest strength.
I went from lacking confidence and feeling unworthy, to finally learning to love who I am and embrace it. I no longer felt like I had to hide who I really am, and let me tell you, there is no sense of freedom like simply being who you are and who God made you to be.
While I still battle anxiety and depression, I truly feel that I handle things better than I did, and when I am feeling stuck, I turn to prayer, journaling or blogging my thoughts to help get me out of my head.
While I am still not at my “dream” weight/physique, I am certainly healthier than I was! I have learned that setting goals for myself has been helpful. Balancing short-term goals in-between the long-term ones keeps me motivated and excited to keep going.
I can look in the mirror and smile now, loving the woman who is staring back at me.
I feel better, more awake, happier. It is so refreshing.
This is the category I am most proud of, hands down. I am listening to worship music as I type this right now, and I won’t lie- it took me longer than I would have liked to even feel comfortable to listen to, what I used to refer to as, “Jesus music”.
Y’all, hear me out. My faith was weak coming into 2019. While it was more existent than it had been in a LONG time, it was weak. Weak isn’t even a good word for it. You could say it was hanging on by a thread. A microscopically thin thread. Nearly invisible.
My spiritual journey has been an ongoing process, but 2019 saw the most amazing transformation and I couldn’t be more excited to see where my faith continues to go.
When I made the decision to go all in, to trust Him in everything and to shout my faith from the rooftops (while still completely being respectful of others’ beliefs, of course), I felt a new sense of freedom, of peace and of purpose. It was magical.
I now pray at least once a day, starting my morning with a very specific prayer + affirmation routine. I incorporate my faith into my business, my podcast, my coaching. I incorporate my faith wherever and whenever I see fit.
I even made new friendships this year centered around Christ. I never would have done that. I have also never really had friends who openly talk about their faith.
The first half of this year Courtney would have NEVER seen any of that coming.
Aside from everything listed above, I overcame a lot and let go of a lot. I feel stronger than ever before and I can now clearly see the purpose all of my obstacles and adversities held. I am not ashamed of anything, instead I am able to fully embrace all that I am, all that I was and all that I am yet to be.
I forgave a lot, even when I didn’t want to.
I faced my fears head-on and learned a lot in the process, despite me feeling like I couldn’t do it.
I strengthened some relationships, cut off others… I made decisions based on what was best for me for once, despite how it would make others feel.
I never would have done that.
This category is something else y’all… truly. 2019 has been that of pure magic on a professional level, and I am working hard behind the scenes to continue to manifest a few more things before the end of the year. I feel them coming. I believe they are coming! You have to believe it before you see it.
Now, I will admit that I do not like being the center of attention because I fear coming off as arrogant, but let a girl be proud of her accomplishments, hard work and ambition for a second.
In 2019, I completely my first full wedding season with 10 gorgeous weddings, including one destination wedding with several being outside of where I am based out of.
I was awarded The Knot’s Best of Weddings for the second year in a row, making that 2/2 for the amount of time I have been in business (despite only being full-time for one year).
I was nominated for Toledo City Paper’s Best of Toledo 2019 and was chosen as a finalist! Voting is open through December 18, so please consider placing a vote DAILY for LCN Events under the “Services and Places” category.
I traveled to Las Vegas for my first Wedding MBA conference (and fingers crossed- I am PRAYING I will be extended the opportunity to speak next year!!!).
I started speaking + educating on stage and I am looking forward to many more opportunities into 2020 and beyond.
And one of the things I am most proud of… moving into 2020 (and even as I book into 2021 already), LCN Events has up-leveled into the luxury wedding arena and is only offering full-service planning and design to 10 exclusive couples per year, giving them the invaluable gift of time. A real long-term goal turned dream come true!
There’s more, but I will keep it to the above because those all were so much bigger than myself and I didn’t make it happen on my own.
Truly, all of this and more I own to my couples, my amazing community and God.
Summary into 2020 – Takeaways + Lessons Learned
If you made it this far, I want you to know that this year taught me a lot- and the number one thing is that, no matter what, what’s worse than giving up is wishing you never did. You have to keep going, keep fighting. Decide what you want your life to look like, commit to it in every way imaginable and watch yourself succeed as you take inspired action every single day to see it through.
It is an endless cycle.
Some days will be harder than others, but you shouldn’t give up. Don’t throw in the towel.
Instead, give yourself some grace to rest and get back to it when you’re ready.
Going into 2020, I am feeling refreshed, renewed and damn excited for all of the possibilities that await me.
I feel confident that I am right where I need to be and that what is for me will not pass by me, and I know damn well that I am too stubborn and ambitious to let silly things like self-doubt stand in my way.
Friend, I want you to know it can be like this for you too, but you have to give it the good fight.
Only you can make the change. You CAN do it. I know you can.
And I am never too far away if you need a little help to get you there.
Be sure to check back next week as I dive into the topic of getting your heart ready for the changes of a new year! Click here for the audio file of this blog.