Happy happy 47th trip around the sun to me!

I’ve been really blessed by another happy birth-day and happy year. I thought I’d take today to reflect on why it’s been so happy. I am not going to attempt to share everything – I’d probably need about 47 bullet points 😊 – but I will share the essence of why I think I’ve had such a happy year (and have such a happy LIFE). I’ve put my thoughts into a couple categories to make sense of them and to get you thinking of your Key Steps to…

‘be the difference that makes the difference.’

  1. Physical. I’ve been exercising consistently for three decades and, although I had to take six weeks off in Dec / Jan for a procedure, this year is no different. Being physically fit is a top priority for me. No matter what, I exercise. I don’t wait until I feel like it, I just do it. People often assume I love exercising – far from it. I just do it because I know it is good for me. Lately, I’ve found it useful to go back to all the Instagram exercises posts I’ve saved and rotate them to create weight bearing workouts. I enjoy running. Weights? Not so much but we are slowly making friends.
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    Two years ago, I started drinking 500 ml of boiling water every morning, followed by a 500 ml of celery juice. Then I wait 30-minutes and have a green smoothy with spinach, coriander, apple and banana. I started this routine (amongst other things) to try and clear-up constant sinus infections I was getting post Covid. It didn’t help, but I did see a very positive difference in my skin and how my body feels in general, so I still hold fast to this morning routine. Regarding the infections, I kept digging until I got to the bottom of the problem. Turns out that I had extremely low glutathione and l-carnitine. I’ve been supplementing and haven’t had an infection since last July (touch wood 😉).
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    Lastly, I regularly invest in my skin and wear sunblock religiously – I wish I hadn’t waited until my 30s to do this!
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    Lesson: Take care of your body. Invest in physical wellbeing. And if something in your body doesn’t feel right, listen to your intuition and keep digging until you find out what is going on. Your future self will thank you.
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  2. Mental. I love aging because of what I notice about my mental self. I am just so much happier with myself, much surer of what serves and doesn’t serve me. I love learning and the access I have to knowledge that challenges and stretches me. It is so awesome, and mind boggling and can be really overwhelming at times too. I have had to be very diligent about bringing my “comparison trap” into consciousness. My internal critical is quick to say I should be learning more, doing more, being more and so on. I love surrounding myself with highly talented and brilliant people, so I have to really watch that I don’t continually compare and come up wanting.
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    I practise being grateful. I am so glad this one comes easy. I do work I love, I am married to the best man, I have the most amazing family and I live an extremely blessed life. I heard once that if you put your problems into a bowl and could choose any, you end up taking yours back. I feel this way. There have been so so many hard things the past few years, but I choose to see the good in the hard and focus on what I am grateful for. I haven’t quite gotten there with wrinkles yet… people say that we should be grateful for them because it’s a sign of the privilege of aging. And while I do feel extremely privileged to age, I am not quite there yet. Maybe one day 😊.

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    Lesson: Weed the garden of your mind as diligently as you would a physical garden. Tend to it, nurture it, feed it. While Netflix can be great for recreation, what have you read lately? Who do you surround yourself with.
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  3. Spiritual. I am not religious but am very spiritual. I do guided spiritual soul sessions with an amazing light worker once a month. I do body talk – while that might sound like it is for my body, it is mostly for my mental and spiritual well-being. I’ve long since realised that going to Church does not necessarily make you spiritual. My spirit was put on this earth to serve, to teach and to heal. It’s a calling more than a career. Deeply connecting to others and walking alongside them in their journey and seeing them grow and make different choices makes my soul sing.
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    Lately, some of my most spiritual moments happen in MS Teams meetings or even through client voice notes – I had one this week that moved me tears because I was touched so deeply. The older I’ve gotten, the more I find spiritual fulfilment in the most ordinary yet extraordinary moments. Like Mila’s smile. And connections with special soul friends.

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    Lesson: Nurture the ‘God’ essence of you and dare to walk your own spiritual journey.
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  4. Emotions. I’ve long since made peace with the fact that I am acutely sensitive. I feel things very deeply. It’s what brings about the deep joy, immense sense of fulfilment and enormous gratitude I feel. Of course, it also causes me lots of pain as I feel others’ emotions and the hurt in the world, which is so immense. I don’t watch the news; I limit my social media intake and I put myself into a metaphoric bubble regularly. I need to do this to stay sane and protect my energy. Accepting my acute sensitivity and connecting deeply to my feelings (and remembering that they will pass – maybe just not as quickly as they do for others) has been quite a journey. I used to try and “mute” my feelings and saw being sensitive as a weakness (lots of societal conditioning at play here) and it was hard as I had not grown up with any skills to manage intense emotions. Now I recognise my acute sensitivity as the strength it is and am able to harness its power.
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    Lesson: Learn to live in peace with your feelings. See them as information (i.e. a piece of important data) and harness their power while knowing that they will pass. You are not your feelings!
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  5. Fun. Okay, so this has been a really sore point for me for the past few years. Being a working mom and ensuring my business still thrived through Covid – all while raising a non-sleeper toddler, really took its toll on my fun meter. I’ve been slowly but surely turning the dial and enjoying the results I’ve noticed this year. A few specific things are working for me… Having dinner with friends. Entertaining more at our home again. Going out dancing – I’ve started booking party nights out into the diary once every 8 weeks or so. Not sure where we will go through winter (suggestions welcome please 😊) as Katy Palace closes over the South African winter. I love house music – so it is that type of dancing. No ballroom dancing suggestions please 😉.
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    Lesson: The things you prioritise, get done! I consistently see other professionals struggling with the same problem I had. In fact, when I get clients to do life audits, fun is ALWAYS the lowest score. ALWAYS!! How sad is that? Please make FUN a priority. We can’t really have a happy birthday and happy year without the fun! And we are more productive at work when we are happy – the science says so again and again!

Thank you for reading this and for being a special part of my journey. Happiness is a discipline, and it is totally up to you to make yourself have a happy birthday. Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be. All the science shows that happiness is only 10% dependent on our external circumstances!

 

I wish you a happy birthday when yours comes around and hope your next trip around the sun sees you taking many Key Steps to…

‘be the difference that makes the difference.’

 

NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.


Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.
 

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to hold the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’