Life is not easy a lot of the time. Sometimes things are amazing, and you’re so thankful for all you have, and then there are times where it’s hard to even see the silver lining or find hope.

I’ve learned that these moments are transformative.

They help to shape you into a more grateful and thankful person, and help you become a stronger and better version of yourself.

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years – especially over the past two years, which have been life-changing in every way personally and professionally – that I hope help you along your own journey to becoming the best version of yourself.

  • Don’t let other people decide who you are. You get to decide who you are, and you can change who you want to be or what you want to do at any point in your career.
  • Don’t let other people’s opinions of you affect you – opinions are just that – opinions.
  • Do things that scare you – whether it’s public speaking or a job you’re not quite ready for – just do it. You’ll figure it out.
  • Trust your intuition and listen to red flags. I cannot stress this enough – I have incredible intuition but when I don’t listen to it, everything goes haywire.
  • Do what feels right to you despite what loved ones tell you (I wouldn’t have two dogs right now if I had listened to my concerned family – only I knew what I was capable of and what was right for me).
  • Block out the noise.
  • The more successful you are, the more haters you will have. Pay them no mind.
  • The more you put yourself out there, the more criticism you will get and the haters will follow (usually because of jealousy).
  • Focus on your strengths, not your perceived faults.
  • Nurture your own happiness – life gets better when you treat yourself like you matter as much as anyone else in your life.
  • If something is too good to be true, that usually means that it is. I can’t tell you how many jobs or partners I’ve had that promised me certain things and did not deliver on them for one reason or another. It’s so important to do your due diligence before you enter into a serious relationship, get married or take a job. And even then you won’t know if it will really work out until you’re in the situation every day.
  • Heal old wounds instead trying to live your life around them or trying to avoid them.
  • Do not allow yourself to be gaslit or have your name smeared.
  • Remove all narcissists from your life – this one is hard as there are many people who exhibit narcissistic traits around us. I worked for one and seriously dated two. My life exponentially improved when they were no longer part of my life. These people are toxic and dangerous. Thankfully I can now recognize the signs of one. Make sure you can as well.
  • Build a loving relationship with yourself. Are any of us perfect? No. But we need to each like ourselves enough to be our own best friend and advocate. Choose love, kindness and compassion toward yourself. You won’t have healthy relationships in any aspect of your life if you don’t have one with yourself first.
  • Welcome new lessons, changes and adventures into your life. I used to be so scared of change. Now I welcome it. I used to stay in jobs I had outgrown and relationships in which I was unhappy because I didn’t want to start over again.

Now I see the importance of listening to my intuition, signs and to be open to new possibilities. I thank my lucky stars every day that I did not settle for the life I thought I wanted not long ago. I was in an unhappy relationship and in a job that no longer challenged me. Today I am exactly where I am supposed to be even if it was a painful journey to get here.

  • Endings are hard, period. What will help you get through it is how you frame it. Try to see everything that happens to you as a learning experience and know that you will be okay no matter what.

Remember that new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.

The grief that comes with something not working out – whether professionally or personally – can feel like too much to handle at times.

Sometimes it’s more about losing the life we thought we were going to have and being jolted to reality.

I want to remind you that while a chapter may be over, the story certainly is not.

All of those closed doors – especially slammed doors – will help lead you to the doors that are wide open waiting for you to walk in and live the life you were supposed to live.