Lessons Learned After 200 Episodes (Episode 200)
I can't believe it - we're 200 episodes in with our podcast. That is 1, 400 days of getting a podcast every single week. It's a pretty cool milestone! So in this blog post (and this rockstar episode below), we're going to share with you our greatest lessons learned in the top six areas we focus on in this podcast series.
Get ready to hear some top lessons learned (and tons of ways to dig deeper) in personality styles, marriage, parenting, unschooling, minimalism, and family travel.
When it comes to addressing personality styles, I stress that this isn't about slapping a label or excuse out there; but simply to open the door to self awareness.
My first goal is to debunk any beliefs on what you "should" be/do/feel and, instead, start looking at - and bringing awareness to - what lights you up, keeps you motivated, and helps you grow best. Throw out the agenda and let's get real and open with who we are and what greatness may be simmering below the surface we haven't yet uncovered.
Ultimately, when you are willing to "tell the truth to yourself, the rest will fall in place." [Avett Brothers]. When we are willing to get real with who we are and what are default reactions are, then we are able to pick what serves us well...and learn a different approach for what doesn't. It's a language and toolkit to allow you to wear different hats...without losing the person underneath.
The personality assessments have been such an eye-opener for families - even for those with young children. And, the more you utilize and learn about the way we tick, the less the focus is on the actual profile, and the more it simply opens the door to self-awareness in a whole new way.
I have so much material on this, as it's the foundational element of all my coaching. And the biggest lesson learned over the past 5 years using it? It's simply the tip of the iceberg, and provides a beautiful framework to make sense of a new level of self-actualization.
I love this quote above, because it really epitomizes love. It's not something that can be forced and manipulated. It's the fragrance we all can emit when we are feeling and being love within. And that is a big element of lessons learned. The more we look outward for our happiness - even within a marriage - the more we are depending on external circumstances to dictate our feelings.
Before you can show up for others, are you willing to be present with yourself?
Beyond being present, are you willing to love yourself without the need to prove your worth? Being called "last word Ashley" by my husband wasn't quite the pet name I was looking for. Yet when I had to have a rebuttal for every statement, it started to beg the question, "what is my goal?"
Do you want to be kind or be right?
Are you willing to pick relationships over rebuttals?
On top of being true to myself and knowing love starts within, not having that need to prove my point or get in the last word was a biggie under lessons learned. I've learned that, in many relationships, including my marriage, less can be so, so much more.
A marriage isn't always spoken conversation. It's allowing for the silence and stillness of simply being together, of not having all the answers, but knowing it's about living life together. All elements of it. The stillness, the unknowns, the growth opportunities that stretch us and also push us through discomfort...
Try starting your day out with a meditation. Come to your marriage today with your heart and soul settled within. Starting your morning out with a calm intention sets the tone - like a rudder - for how your day will go.
Set your mind for the way you want to move forward - for yourself and the relationships of those you love most.
I have a whole parenting series on the "10 Essential Lessons For Life" - addressing:
- Fostering Independence
- Natural Consequences
- Abundance Mentality
- No Secrets
- Pick Your Battles
- Quality Time
- Emotional Resilience
- Remember to Play
As I look over dated blog posts that could use a refresher, I can't help but imagine the solid book that could be created with just these core lessons...
Then we've dug deeper into parent struggles on our season of the podcast, where we addressed issues such as food, bedtime and screen-time battles, as well as attitude, boredom, transitions and life skills.
So our lessons learned beyond it? It's recognizing all of these areas of focus...and how little need there is for reading, writing, and arithmetic for the powerful life skills it takes to simply be human.
Before we go to agendas and desires on who and what we want from from our children, we simply need to explore who they are in the present. There are so many external elements and opportunities for gaining book knowledge.
Learning how to be a present, aware, and loving human -
that is the best lesson a parent can give...and is best learned by example.
Our foundational elements we instill in our children are these: explore, respect, listen, connect, learn and love. We use these as our "guidelines for life" as well as our family vision. This keeps our focus of parenting on truly raising the little humans who know their impact on the world.
Yes, my resources for unschooling have grown and grown, as I'm looking back at 14 years of doing this! Beyond my educational resources page and the active Unschooling Families community we have on FaceBook, we have an awesome new download for you below.
What we prioritize in unschooling is honestly the same as what we do for parenting - it's putting the SOUL before SCHOOL.
That's our biggest lesson - that true learning isn't boxed into grades and curriculum, or even learning cool things. It's in learning how we fit in this world - what drives us, motivates us, and how we are going to perceive and approach anything that comes our way. It's looking at our mindset, our awareness, and our impact, and learning how to be human, how to connect with others, and to step into our greatness.
Our children's success has more to do with their passion and desire to move forward with learning than it does with certifications, degrees and accomplishments.
If you have children who have a bad attitude around learning (or maybe you do!), check out this PDF download to reset your family focus.
One of my biggest lessons learned here had to do with me reframing this as "decluttering" versus "minimalism." It's not about just reducing everything down to less than five things. In my interview with decluttering expert Tracy McCubbin, she eloquently narrowed it down to this:
It's not about how much stuff you own; it's about when your stuff starts to own YOU.
I focus on clearing the clutter not only from your home, but also your head and your heart. When you feel more overwhelmed by the stuff in your home, your heard, or your heart, it pulls you away from the present moment. You can get trapped in the shoulds and need tos and 'why can't I get this right' and so many negative spirals. If clutter is simply a delayed decision on what is truly important to you, how many are causing distractions in your life?
Here is a PDF that will directly download with some easy steps and before/after examples I did in my mother's home. She is definitely not a minimalist. However, she understands how important decluttering is for the space it allows for her to create.
Yes, creativity thrives in big, open spaces. Quite literally, being outside in the big open space of the sky is refreshing. Coming into a room with blank areas allows your eyes to rest. Clearing your heart from the clutter of resentment and obligation, for example, allows for more openness to create. Not having a ton of things on your mind gives more freedom for creative thought to come in.
Clear your space - in your home, your head, and your heart - and you'll find more opportunity for creativity to flow.
And finally, that awesome family adventure. Yes, we've been traveling in our own adventures really since 2015 - hitting the road full-time in our RV in October of 2016. We've been to Canada, Costa Rica for a full month, and to all of the lower 48 States in America. We've found that home, to us, is more about the relationships we've built, and that we love to add "unhurried spaciousness" to create serendipity in our lives.
Instead of planning out your perfect scenario with every moment accounted for, look for your "anchors." What are those essential things you want to ensure happen? anchors work better than full schedules - allow for serendipity in your life - leave room for living
With RV travel, we "anchor" the big hard-to-book campsites in advance. Some places, like Yellowstone, the Keys, and Glacier, tend to book up almost a year in advance. So it's important to plan ahead. But blocking off every minute doesn't allow for serendipity. It also doesn't allow for if someone gets sick, we have car repairs, or we find new friends and want switch our route!
So we started doing anchors, with big places booked, and going a bit more randomly with our bookings in between. And we found a lot of fun in our flexibility! We also do the same thing with our daily life - we look for our big anchor - a big thing we need to accomplish that day, an event we are doing, etc. We don't lump five into one day - but what is one thing we have as our focus?
If you are considering travel of any kind...or even if you are just thinking about tiny living or any shift with your family like this, check out the PDF download here - you'll open the door to all kinds of podcasts and posts specifically about our RV adventures, and some powerful questions to ask yourself and your family before you move forward and create a plan.
What areas above are you most interested in? Where are you thriving, and where do you feel stuck?
Check out the resources above - each will unlock more insights to dig deeper, and help you assess what one next step is.
Because that's what it's about - taking a step at a time. We can get overwhelmed approaching all things in these areas - yet when we can break it down to one tiny chunk, it allows us to get one step closer.
With every step, we have the beautiful opportunity to re-assess, based on the new insights we may gain or lessons learned along the way. Don't get trapped in your stuck-ness; just look for that next step. I'm here for you along the way, and ready to celebrate with you how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste
Dig Deeper with These Posts and Episodes:
- Get the Free Family Vision Email Series Here
- Why look at personality tests for kids?
- 7 Seconds Will Change Your Life (Episode 62)
- What Is Your Goal?
- Who Is Your Home?
- Why I believe in Functional Education...and why You Should, Too
- 13 Minimalist Tips for Families
- What Is Your Goal?
- Will Our Marriage Last? (Episode 113)
- Has Your Marriage Taken A BackSeat? (Episode 114)
- The Top Qualities for a Successful Marriage (Episode 123)
- 6 Traits Destined For Divorce (Episode 134)
- Life Skills and Dealing with the Critics (Episode 107)
- Unhurried Spaciousness: Five Steps for Your New Year (Episode 85)
- Can your soul breathe? Engage the senses (Episode 20)
- Clutter Is Simply A Postponed Decision (Episode 19)
- Is “Home” In Your House…or Your Heart? (Episode 17)
- It’s More Than Just A “Joy Spark” (Episode 18)
- Minimalist Gifts For Maximum Impact (Episode 177)