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2019 Reflection: 6 Powerful Lessons That Will Transform Your Life

December 04, 2019

Saint Belford founder Alex holding Curation diary

This post was written by Alex Phillips, Co Founder of Saint Belford.


What a year it has been. We spent five months overseas. Moved to Geelong. Launched our 2020 collection. Celebrated our 2nd birthday. In between all those highlights, there were many moments of learning and re-learning what we had forgotten. With 2020 around the corner, I thought it was time to share six recurring lessons from 2019. 


Be willing to be a beginner

Trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zone isn’t always easy. It brings with it a whole host of emotions—anxiety, fear of failure, overwhelm. 

What often stands in the way of me and whatever I’m trying for the first time is this desire to be really good at it immediately (despite my logical brain telling me that it takes years to “master”). I guess it stems from my fear of “looking bad” and “not doing a good enough job.”

The thing is, we can’t become masters at something overnight. It takes time and practice and commitment. If, like me, you experience the same fears, remember that everyone starts off as a beginner. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last.

Go in with the intention of learning instead of trying to impress. Be willing to be a beginner. Be willing to be “bad” at something you’ve never done before. If you’re bad at it, own it and laugh it off instead of trying to hide it. This kind of attitude takes the pressure off. It alleviates the anxiety that often surfaces from the expectations you place on yourself. It also allows you to view the initial speed bumps and setbacks as learning curves. 



Let go—attachment is the root of all suffering 

Being attached to specific outcomes is a recipe for unnecessary suffering, particularly when things don't go to plan. The reality is, we can’t predict the future—there will always be variables that are outside our control, so regardless of how much planning we do, not every outcome is going to be favourable. 

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bother planning. It just means we need to detach from the outcomes we desire and acknowledge that there are certain things we can’t control.

When we remain attached to certain outcomes, we form a narrow, close-minded view of how things should be instead of fully experiencing life as it happens. It limits our ability to be present and it limits our ability to experience joy and gratitude. 

When things don’t go to plan, accept the circumstances (assuming there’s nothing you can do about it) and trust that you are exactly where you need to be right now. Fighting your reality is a losing battle—it’ll just leave you in a state of suffering. Remember that you have the ability to end this suffering by letting go of “how thingsshould be” and accepting the moment for what it is. 


Use jealousy as a cue for self-reflection 

Scrolling through our Instagram feeds and watching the highlight reel of the people we follow on Instagram can definitely ignite some jealousy when wewant what they have orwant to do what they’re doing. 

When this happens, we have two options. 

We can respond with jealousy or we can respond with admiration and turn that into inspiration.

Being jealous and bitter doesn’t accomplish anything. It encourages spitefulness and also fires up our own insecurities. 

You’re more likely to feel empowered if you use what you see as inspiration AND a cue for self-reflection. It’s an opportunity to check in with yourself and reassess your goals. Are you doing what you truly want to do? Are your goals aligned with your values? 


Accept that everyone has their own version of the truth 

We see the world differently. We have different beliefs and values and this can often create tension in our relationships and the people we interact with. 

We have two options. We can fight it out every single time we disagree on something (knowing that the people we’re fighting with has beliefs that are just as strong as ours) or we can accept that everyone has their own version of the truth.

What I’ve come to realise is that accepting does not equal believing. You can accept the people in your life who share different beliefs/values without believing what they believe.

It just means you are willing to prioritise peace over the needs of your ego and the ego’s desire to be right and have everyone believe what you believe in. 

Put simply, acceptance = peace. 




Be grateful for the little things

You know thathigh on lifefeeling? It stems from gratitude and appreciation for the little things. 

Practising gratitude turns everything you have into enough. 

We all want to be happy, right? Well, happiness is simply wanting what you have.


Approaching conversations with honesty and empathy is the key to meaningful relationships

It’s one thing to be open and honest with the people in your life. It’s another thing to be empathetic when communicating with your loved ones. 

I’ve had blatantly honest conversations with my parents in the past that I thought would rid me of the pain I was carrying, but it always left me feeling worse off when I realised that my words had left emotional bullet wounds. 

Recognise that your words have impact. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment and consider how your words might be received. Listen and acknowledge their feelings. Avoid having prepared rebuttals for every imagined scenario. Really listen to what they’re saying. 

Approaching conversations with honesty and empathy has transformed my relationships beyond what I thought was possible, so I hope it can do the same for you. 


Now, it’s your turn. Search for the lessons in your life. What will you take with you and what will you leave behind as you prepare for 2020?

Download our 2019 Reflection worksheet to kickstart your end of year reflection and help you establish priorities for 2020.