Life Lessons

Five Life Lessons I Learned From My Retired Parents

A little less than a year ago I confronted one of my biggest fears… speaking in front of a group of my professional peers. For years I had confronted the fear of public speaking by facilitating programs for students with audiences that ranged from 5 – 300 but this was really the first time I would be speaking directly to professionals peers (beyond a conference educational session). As an added bonus it was with a time limit and slides that progressed on their own. My typical way of managing nerves (going on a tangent) could not be utilized. The presentation had to be scripted, right down to the pauses and jokes (that I was hopeful would land).

I was visibly shaking while on stage, so much that I thought for sure that I would drop the mic, and not in a good way. I made it through the presentation, people laughed and cheered and ultimately I felt nothing but support from my peers. I have long since been wanting to share the main points from my presentation here in my blog. The presentation highlights lessons that I learned while living with my retired parents. This was a time of soul searching for me, I had just graduate with my Ph.D. and was looking for my next step. I have since included these lessons in my continued professional/life journey.

Lesson One: We Need People in Our Lives

Humans are not meant to live in isolation. We need person to person contact. We function better in a collective society, interacting with each other, supporting each other. Find your people try to connect with them live as often as possible.

Lesson Two: Who You Are is Not What You Do

After I graduated I was job searching for most of the spring semester. I really struggled with how to introduce myself because I did not have a job title. For the my adult life up to that point the introduction of my name was most often followed up with explaining what I did for work. Who you are is not solely attached to a your job title.

Lesson Three: A Lateral Step is Still a Step Forward

I had a hard lesson in not discounting my career history and ultimately realized that applying for positions that were similar in title and rank as the position I had before returning to school full-time was in my best interest. I have found that a lateral step is still a step forward, but you do have to turn into that new direction and embrace it fully.

Lesson Four: You are on Your Own Path

It can be hard to stay out of the comparison game. With the world of social media you can so easily get caught in the cycle of comparing your life to the highlights of everyone else’s. We are all on our own paths, life is not a competition. Our paths may cross, intersect, or run parallel to each other, but at the end of our lives there is no winner, only a life lived that was best for you. The lesson that I am meant to learn on my pathway are not the same as the lessons found on yours.

Lesson Five: You are the Most Important Person on your Calendar

I am the most important person on my calendar. We are resistant to cancelling a meeting with others but so often do not extend the same to ourselves. Honor the time that you slate for yourself.

Work can give us many rewards but at the end of the day it is only a piece of who we are. We all could do a better job of keeping that small piece in check.

You can see the video of my Ignite Program here:


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