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2015: The Lessons

December 6, 2015
Wherever you find yourself, pray. God is with you. He hears you. He cares for you. He wants you to bless you.

As another years draws to an end, it’s important that we reflect on the year gone past, and take inventory of the time spent, evaluate lessons learnt and decipher what to take with us in the new year and what to leave behind. It would be careless of us to move blindly into 2016 without first reviewing how we utilized the last twelve months. If we get into the habit of setting new goals every year and not take the time to reflect and appreciate where we’ve been, what we’ve learnt and how far we’ve come, our goals can become empty pursuits of achievement that not only add little to our experience of joy, but can actually reduce it.

2015 was my year of “almost” (refer to my October blog post titled Almost), and in-spite of my greatest efforts, there were plans that didn’t pan out. At my lowest, I discovered that sometimes the worst things happen to us to birth a part of ourselves we haven’t been introduced to yet. When I least expected it, I met a part of myself that no longer panics when disaster strikes, a part of myself that understands that God doesn’t just open good doors, He also closes the ones I no longer need.
In no particular order, these are my 28 lessons I learnt in 2015, at age 28:
1. Invest in yourself, you are all the business you need and seek. What are your dreams, what are your talents, what are your gifts? Tap into all those areas and you will find that you are the goldmine you’ve been searching for. Be team you!

2. Prioritize your family (can’t emphasize this enough). Staying in touch is easier than ever but families are splitting at an alarming rate. Keep in contact with people who love you, and feed those bonds with quality time and constant communication. Working away from home is strenuous on my relationship with my family but we talk every second day and I’ve found that this helps me to feel loved, cared for and supported. I’m not quite sure where I would be without my family. But I’m glad I’ll never have to find out.

3. Let go and grow. Sometimes we hold on to things and people so firmly that our grip causes us to be dependent on them. This year, I learnt let go of relationships/ friendships that I once defined myself by, and what a lovely surprise to find that there is so much more to life than what I thought!

4. Trust that love will find you. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve messed up, it doesn’t matter how dark the past, love does not discriminate, it will find you. Just wait.

5. It’s okay to not be where you want to be yet as long as you are still on the path to your dream. Getting there quickly is not as important as being the best version of yourself when you arrive.

6. Don’t anchor your dreams on anyone; it is not their responsibility to make your dreams come true, but yours!

7. Remember to be a good role model and mentor to those you are leading. Be responsible with your power.

8. Forgive yourself. Please forgive yourself for not being perfect. Really. We are taught to be firm with ourselves, and I agree with that philosophy but to a certain extent, we must also be balanced enough to be gentle with ourselves. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, let go of the situation that didn’t pan out right, or a relationship that didn’t work out. As long as you’re unkind to yourself, it will always feel as though life is unkind to you.

9. There’s no point in worrying. Worry is burdensome; it is emotionally taxing and mentally draining, let go. Worry is the enemy of your peace.

10. Don’t ask God bless you with anything you haven’t first allowed Him to prepare you for. You are better off without the things you think you need because anything you get prematurely has potential to wreck you.

11. Let your money do more than just buy things, use it to bless, help and spoil others. Money used to help others isn’t lost, it’s seed sown.

12. Progress loves opposition, toughen up.

13. The lesson of self-love continued. I learnt to be kinder to myself. When I’m not good at something, I don’t feel useless, I don’t talk down on myself, I don’t compare myself to others, I just understand that there’s something else I’m good at.

14. 2015 also taught me to validate myself at work. If you work so that others can compliment you or give you credit, you rob yourself of the joy of being proud of yourself and knowing that you gave something your best shot. Work even when no one is watching and the compliments will come from the most unlikely sources. Don’t work to be seen or given credit~ work for yourself [because you are passionate].

15. A lot of folk talk about how they will make a difference one day, don’t be one of those. Continue to play your part in society by visiting schools and assisting where possible. Don’t stop reaching out to our youth, the school project is a good initiative! These young people need a big sister, a mentor, and a friend and you are it. Never get tired of planting seeds in their lives.

16. Invest in your craft. In his 2008 book, “Outliers” Malcolm Gladwell explains that practicing any skill for 10,000 hours is sufficient to make you an expert. What stood out for me from that statement is that any skill can be learnt, no matter what our background or shortcomings.

17. Overcome the enemy in your mind. Drive out the voices that keep telling you you aren’t good enough, not smart enough, not enough… Anchor yourself on the Gospel of Truth.

18. Be confident enough to accept your faults. There is no greater sign of confidence than self-acceptance.

19. Measure your success via your influence and impact versus only by your income and net worth.

20. Learn from the past but don’t make a mess of today by bringing yesterday’s dirt into today. Allow the lesson to make you better, not bitter.

21. Slow down and be present in this moment so you can enjoy it. If you are always in a rush, you will miss it all; the joy, the fun; the life.

22. It’s not all about money. There are people I know who have a lot going on in terms of business but they are unhappy, unhealthy and incredibly dissatisfied. There’s more to life than just making money. Beyond financial gain, you need to have a real passion for what you are doing and the work will be worth it.

23. Eat right. No need to starve yourself but it’s important that you feed your body (and soul) with the right things. When you eat right, you give your body the elements it needs to perform for you. Never underestimate the importance of your health.

24. It is impossible to find fulfillment, wholeness and true (lasting) joy outside of God. A few weeks ago I actually wrote about how the Israelites left Egypt with the Egyptians’ wealth but still died in the wilderness because they had turned their hearts from God. They had the freedom and wealth that they had longed for but it still didn’t end well for them because they neglected the ultimate rule: God first.

25. Know when to log off social media. It is so easy to get lost on social media and keep up with the Kardashians, but remember that social media is not real life. Log off.
26. “I love you” isn’t always proven by getting married. And marriage cannot fix what is broken within you.

27. Travel. See new places, meet new people, and learn something new. Traveling gives us the opportunity to disconnect from our regular life. It opens our minds about life and increases our knowledge and widens our perspective. I’ve had such an amazing time on the road this year, and in the process, I met so many interesting people, some of whom have helped me in making smarter decisions about life. Some of my highlights of my 2015 include spending a week in Netherlands, a road trip to Mpumalanga towards the end of November, and taking time off to enjoy Stellenbosch (I still can’t believe that I’ve been visiting Cape Town for years but never considered taking a “shot left” to one of the most beautiful towns in South Africa. PS: Don’t underestimate your own surroundings, take a shot left in your own area).

28. It honestly doesn’t matter what “they” think or what “they” say (PS: Who are “they” anyway?). Run in the direction of those who bring out the best in you. Don’t let go of those who challenge you to be a better version of yourself.

As the year draws to an end, I feel grateful, content and inspired by my own life because I’m no longer trying to be anyone but myself. I have found my peace. I have learnt to focus on my strengths and I stopped dwelling on my weaknesses. Finally, I have accepted that I am enough. I am enough…for my calling, for my purpose and most importantly, enough for myself. I no longer need status, social acceptance, possessions (or marriage) to validate me.
I trust that these lessons were helpful to you and inspire you to be all you can be.


My 28th year on earth was nothing short of magical; I feel fulfilled, healed and whole… 2015, thank you for the lessons.
Love Always,
Nono Cele
Keep in touch via Twitter: @Nono_Cele

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