My Thoughts as I Reflect on Turning a Year Older: Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday and it had me think about what I have learned this past year. To give you some sense of how I have matured, until my early thirties, my birthday would extend into a weekend celebration filled with festivities, shopping sprees that I could not afford, and blurry memories of a Kortneypalooza. With a kid on my arm and a business to run, those days are far behind me. Don't get me wrong, I still fantasize of a "ME" day; however, I can barely have a sane day these days. So I want to capture some of the learnings as I reflect on what this next year will bring.

Kortney's mid-thirties revelations:

  1. The baby weight does not just come off if you breastfeed. Granted I would indulge in pizza, carbs, and wine. However, in my defense, a skinny nurse at the hospital said she ate all that she wanted and lost the baby weight. LIAR! Well, we also need to take into consideration that my appetite might be different than hers.
  2. Pulling all nighters for work or school is nothing like being sleep deprived from a child. I would say that I work a lot. I am not a workaholic, but I pull crazy hours as a professor and building my business. With my Doctorate, I used to pull all nighters finishing my dissertation. Running a small business, I would stay up all night designing a new program, but as a new mom not sleeping because of a screaming infant brought me to my knees crying and acting mildly insane.
  3. Hangovers suck when you past thirty. I love wine, but if I indulge too much the next day I am a walking disaster. Try being hungover with an 11month old that can't stop moving for a second. The results: you discover she likes to play with toilet water, she loves to eat dog food, and she can lick your husband work boots faster than you can say: "Hell NO". Yep, lesson learned!
  4. Failure is going to happen...accept it and move on. With the birth of my daughter, defending my dissertation, and expanding my business, I had a lot on my plate. Overwhelmed was just part of my day. I made some rush decisions as a business leader and it nearly cost me my company. Instead of giving up, I cried it out and got back up. We will all fail, but it is what you do when it happens that sets you up for your next move.
  5. Everyone needs a Diana. So I have this one employee of mine that has changed my life and the way I do business. She is hard working, honest, authentic, smart, loyal, eager to learn, and funny. She is not only an employee at Bulldog but also a great friend. I learned that having the right people at your side really sets you up for success.
  6. I am smarter this year because I forced myself to get through so many books. Each of these books has helped me design better team building programs, stronger anti-bullying trainings, and have given me insights on how to apply my learnings to my work. I have this toolbox filled with strategies and resources to help people. It is all because I read at least an hour a day. I read articles, research, and typically a book from my Kindle. I made it a habit, and regardless of how busy I am throughout the day, I read for at least an hour.
  7. Kindness is the key to happiness. It is a value deeply ingrained in me. I believe that being kind over defensive or mean can really help you feel better about yourself. I was convinced that my Mail lady hated my guts. I did not know why. She would return my mail and barely acknowledge me when I asked her questions. It was bad and hurting my business. She returned clients checks right before Christmas...needless to say my staff didn't get paid on time. So in February, it was freezing cold and I felt bad for her on these days. So I slipped hand warmers in my mailbox and left her a note. I came home after a bad day of anti-bullying programs to find she left me a note. She was so grateful and from then on we became friends. So last week when my daughter hid my keys in the recycling bag, she opened my mailbox for me. It came back full circle. It was a great feeling.
  8. Marry your best friend. I always had a flair for the dramatic until I turned 28 and life was harder than I could imagine. I never thought I would settle until I met my husband. From our first date we instantly hit it off. From that day on we have been pretty much inseparable. He is an incredible father, a good listener, and my biggest fan. He believes in me sometimes more than I believe in myself. That's what happens when you marry your best friend.
  9. Get a mentor. I spent my twenties in lala land when it came to my career goals and personal growth. I was struggling to figure out who I was and what I was going to do. With the challenges my family faced, it gave me some time to look inward. I also had a lot of mentoring from one of the most brilliant women I have ever met. She has pushed me to excel as a facilitator and taught me how to develop my skill set to be a strong professional. I aspire to be like her one day. She paved the road for my growth.
  10. Take time to get grounded. This year I’m trying something new: I’m taking my birthday for myself. I’m spending the day away from answering work emails, answering texts, and writing training programs. I practice the concept of belly breathing with the teens I work with in my anti-bullying programs. To reduce anxiety and get grounded, I ask them to take three deep breaths in and out before making a big decision or reacting to a situation. I really care about my company and the work that I do. Because of this, I often run around and “exhale” all my energy. This birthday, I’m taking the time to “inhale” and rejuvenate.

I could go on about what I learned in the past year, but this is just a post to plant a seed. Think about what you have gained over the years. I still have a far road ahead of me, but I am proud of my successes as well as my failures. They make me who I am and I would not change that for the world.

Thanks for reading my Birthday Blog.

Until Next Time...

Be Strong* Be Brave* Be a Bulldog

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