What I Learned Taking a Year End Inventory of Me

I have so much more to give than I’ve been giving. I’ve been playing small.

When I want to say “shameful” to the above comment or statement of fact, which is not a criticism of myself but a truth, I realize I have work to do on my inner game.

I think I’ll start with naming her.

I mean seriously, if Beyonce can be Sasha Fierce than I can be Jill-o-licious.

Okay, that one needs some more thought, but I think it would be sweet to have a name for the Inner Me I am working on Being AND the Outer Me that is a reflection of who I am Being.

Alter ego here we come.

Besides working on letting go of the need to judge myself - so harshly, here are a few more things I decided to release in 2018.

• Belongings

• Beliefs 

• The Past & The Future (seeing it’s really all about living NOW is huge) 

• People (that no longer served me)

• Stories (I told myself that didn’t support me)

• Blame

• Excuses

• Slights

• Thoughts

• Judgements

• Depression... 

Whew, that list could keep on going but I think you get the gist.

Things that grew for me in 2018.

• Improved health

• Finding more ways to like myself

• A deeper understanding of what matters to me

• Realizing who I am at my core and the impact I am here to make

• Creating a vision for how I wanted to show up in my life

In 2018, four big things happened in my life.

1. A childhood dream came to life (thanks to my Frenchman)

2. I took a year of rest (not willingly at first)

3. I raised a baby goat (and in turn, found myself)

4. I found Jessica (sigh of peaceful relief)

Let’s start with the last and a very important piece, Jessica.

#4 Finding My Support Person

Jessica to me is about finding stability, support, an editor and a cheerleader/ringmaster to my crazy. While cheerleaders carry pom-poms, a ringmaster wields a whip (or a stick). And sometimes a proverbial whip or forceful voice is needed.  

And let’s face it, I can be a bit of a circus or should I say, I can create a good circus. You be the judge of that.

A bit about me.

I am super prolific when it comes to writing, incredibly detailed when it comes to visions, tasks and projects, yet slightly absent-minded, which both hinders and helps. Let me explain.

I have folders within folders inside of Dropbox of...

  • 50+/- articles & blog posts already written and await my read over and edits
(Jessica, my right hand, is laughing and saying “Ah, more, Jill!”)

  • a cool dozen email sequences to share ideas, projects or market something like a course that I sell
[laughter] from the ringmaster

  • 2 fully done courses that I’m not selling

  • a vision for several classes I want to create and teach

  • numerous partially done books - lost count after 12 - 
[laughter] from you know who.

  • several ebooks 
(Ya’ll know what Jessica is screaming at me!) 

  • storylines gallor

  • At least two fully completed manuscripts that simply need a read through, editing and a rewrite (because we all need an editor) 

  • Presentations that just need to be edited but are sitting there DONE

  • Too many ideas for businesses, websites, not to mention website copy, course copy, sales copy and more written copy that you could fill a 10X10 storage unit with if we wasted paper and printed it all out.

And so many repetitive files, folders and locations for things (hence incredibly detailed) that I’m lost.

And that ties in the absentmindedness part of my brain that I am noticing is a real problem.

We begin with the solution to that absent-mindedness that I’ll no longer call a problem.

I have learned that there are no problems, only projects. Or if you prefer challenges.

Love that twist of wording I learned from April Perry, who created an awesome program with her hubby, Eric, that seriously helped me organize my home, mind and life.

Any bets on which was more cluttered?

Jessica is laughing as she’s the one who’s been in my Dropbox organizing and seen all my many, many, many, can I just say M.A.N.Y. repetitive files!

But even so…

My Mind! was way more cluttered.

So, my solution this year, as it was last year, to work on improving this absent-mindedness project, is dedicated focus on my health.

And a deletion of all those duplicate files. Thank you, Jessica.

#3 I raised a baby goat (and in turn, found myself)

As you may or may not know by now, if you’ve spent anytime on this new Education Lady site, I have, as of publication, a 10 month old baby goat.

This crazy goat showed up on my doorstep when he was maybe 2 or 3 days old. May 3rd. I’ll never forget the day or his still-attached umbilical cord or his decision that I was now Baah-Ma-ma.


And Baah-Ma-ma I became.

And Moo Baah, he was appropriately named due to his cowish color and cute noises, became my little Goat Yoda, teaching me lesson after lesson after lesson that I didn’t even realize I needed to learn.

But looking back now, am so grateful for.

The first lesson he taught me was during a feeding after having him a week or two, where the newness had worn off a bit and the impatience I harbored came rushing back in the form of a thought while feeding Moo Baah is bottle.

Gosh, hurry up, little dude, how long does it take you to finish a bottle?

And the answer is a good 20 minutes at that time, for half the 9 ounces.

But here’s the thing.

I had nowhere to go, nothing to do. I was simply in a place of being, a time of rest and healing and yet I couldn’t stop myself, even when there was no reason, from rushing.

And I realized what I was thinking about doing was checking my email.

As if email was more important than this little dude’s bottle time.

The bottle I was responsible for providing this little guy as his new human Baah-Ma-ma, every two to three hours.

It was a hard, shocking lesson for me to learn.

To first, be present in this moment for this moment is all I have. Whatever this moment is.

And two, nothing is more important that what is in front of me. Certainly not my email inbox.

#2 I took a year of rest (not willingly at first)

My Frenchman is famous for telling me to “go back to sleep” or “take a nap” and like a little kid I fight him on this or scoff at him often. Yet, he has a point.

We don’t respect rest enough as a society. At least in the west.

And I’m not just talking an eight-hour a night rest. That’s easy for me and needed. But, a restful vacation, a period of not doing something, not learning something, not… ahhh, it was anxiety making to me.

I remember a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to go to Mexico for two weeks. A beach-side spot, gorgeous water views, healthy food options and tons of relaxation.

As I’m not a partier nor a drinker, the-only-thing-to-do-was-chill and I about lost it.

Vacations for me had always been about seminars, conferences, and learning something.

To go somewhere and do nothing just did not compute.

But over the course of this last year, and thanks in part to my time with Moo Baah, and the amount of time I had - nearly twelve entire months - I could not escape the inevitable.

And the point.

A quieting of my mind.

My mind was so cluttered, so busy, so active, so entrenched with stories and worries and thoughts - constant thoughts - that it was no wonder I was depressed for much of 2018.

When I had time to sit, to do nothing (to clarify, I still had work to do but it was minimal and doable remotely), I had to get more and more comfortable with myself.

And man, I was not comfortable with me.

I was not happy with me.

I was not healthy.

I was exhausted.

I was hiding.

And I’d been pretending for so long that everything was okay that to finally have the quiet to stop putting up that front, it all crashed down.

And I had to deal with me.

Who I was.

Who I was not.

What I wanted.

What I didn’t want.

How I’d gotten to this place.

And how to get to the other side.

Of depression, of self sabotage, of self judgement, of no longer hiding who I was and instead, step out to be who I was created to be.

Okay, that took a turn into woo woo but if you’ve never taken time to quiet your mind, to rest your mind, to love yourself enough to gift yourself that, consider it.

It doesn't have to be a year.

It can be five minutes a day.

But on the other side, having found and become comfortable with that quiet, I have found peace.

And I’m just starting to understand the blessing that is.

#1 A childhood dream came to life (thanks to my Frenchman)

Years ago, I told my Fabulous Frenchman a childhood dream I had of a cottage on a hill, overlooking the sea, with secret gardens where I would sit and write.

Thanks to my research-awesome man, he found the spot and a few years ago, I found the cottage. Well, when I found it I felt that this was the cottage.

Too woo woo for you? Just ignore that last line!

In 2018, I got to experience the possibility of my childhood dream and now, almost a year later, I am just beginning to live that dream.

A place where I sit (well, stand at my walk-desk, so-much-healthier) and write while overlooking the sea. And enjoying the “secret” gardens I am planting while working to keep my crazy goat from eating the rewards of my labor.

What I learned is that dreams are just dreams until they are spoken.

That with the formation of words, whether said out loud, as I shared with my Frenchman or written on paper, any dream you care to or dare to dream has the power to become your reality.

I am living proof of this.

Most of us have completely forgotten how to dream. And that is sad.

So, what are your dreams? Write them down. You don’t have to share them with me or a person but physically write them out in your journal and here’s a key.

Just of few of my 2018 journals…

Just of few of my 2018 journals…

Write your dream as though it already is your reality.

Each morning I write, “I am a New York Times Bestselling Author of multiple books that impact people’s lives.”

And guess what I am… but I wasn’t always. But putting it into present tense holds power.

Feeling what that feels like, to live that dream - your dream, whatever it is - and expressing that as well… now that’s where magic happens in your life.

I wrote a Life Lessons post on this type of journal writing and to say it’s powerful would be an understatement. If you want to change your life, one word at a time, read this article and take action.

Quick Rewind On 2018

So before we shift into 2019 and what the coming year looks like in my world (minus January already), let’s hit rewind on 2018.

Recap On What I Learned Last Year

I learned dreams come true when you take action.

I also learned that depression is real.

I renovated a 100+ year old cottage. Okay, overseer of said renovations.

I left my home of 17 years, OMG - 17 years! and traveled.

I stopped tutoring students except for an occasional online conversation from a former student.

I took a year “off” to figure myself out, find myself in a way and learn the art of chillin’. Wow, was that a hard lesson for a type-A go-go-go-getter personality to learn.

I discovered baby goats are the cutest thing ever and have so many lessons to teach about patience, enjoying each moment, respecting the present moment, laughing for no reason and being true to yourself.

I raised a baby goat and managed to keep him alive. (Found out later, thankfully, that they don’t always survive away from their mother when that young.)

I rekindled a love affair with closeup, depth-of-field photography that I had a deep relationship with in high school, then let go of because of stories. (Thanks, Moo Baah!)

I discovered that I made excuses too often, didn’t always show up as who I wanted to show up as in the world, and was a complainer. (When the bleep did that happen?!)

I decided to write but then spent 8 months pondering what to write, what I even have to say and how to say it. Then why anyone would even want to. (Ah, hello, Xanax. Kidding, I’m as drug-free as you can get.)

I hired my right-hand, kick-ass virtual assistant-cheerleader-ringmaster-editor and appreciate her more than mere words can say.

I also learned that systems and procedures are needed if I am to accomplish anything worthy of my dreams.

I cleaned house physically, metaphorically, mentally and virtually. And found so much clutter, crap and things to toss it was no wonder I felt so overloaded with things and thoughts. (I have so much more to give away, toss, donate and a newfound appreciation for less is more. Thought I got that message 7 years ago at DJC but nope, not fully.)

I learned I have the power to be healthy or stay sick. My health has been a stresser of mine since I was a teen with low iron, an up-down weight battle and a painful reaction to cold weather, but now it has become a joyful focus geared toward balancing the best lifestyle choices to fit me. Again, it’s shifting my focus from having a problem to simply having a challenging to solve or project to work on. Brilliant. Great lesson learned!

I read a lot. And collected a pile nearly as tall as me at 5’2.5” of the reads I want to enjoy next (and none are fiction, sorry). Plus, the virtual ones on my Kindle! I’ll post a top reads list one of these days if interested.

I watched some crappy series on Netflix and a few decent ones and some kick-ass documentaries. I really liked this crazy British series called Killing Eve that is now a Golden Globe Winner. It’s all about great characters and as a writer, I’m a sucker for well-developed characters.

I discovered a few great podcasts and interesting voices. More to share on that later.

I slowly started to forgive myself.

I started to dream again.

I started to discovered my voice - in life and on paper (or my MacBook Pro screen)!

I did some (okay, a lot) of inner work. Alone and with the help of a-now-friend and remarkably talented healer.

I revamped Education Lady and decided to relaunch this brand that once brought me joy and helped so many.

I wrapped up the year understanding that I am the root of all my problems. That I have more power than I could imagine. And that I could decide on different thoughts and tell myself different stories - stories that supported me instead or kept me trapped.  

I ended 2018 determined to enter into a coaching program that resonated with me, whatever the cost, and be taught by a mentor who I’d been introduced to in November (not personally but through the art of technology and podcasts)by an online super cool, slightly woo woo Digital CEO I was learning from.

The last thing I learned at the end of 2018 that I’m now really excited to dive into in 2019 and already have started to get into the weeds about is

Any and all problems, in my life, I have created.

Oh boy, I know. Huge. Moment. Take. A. Breath.

Problems are the result of the stories we tell ourselves in our minds. And I learned that my mind is chock full of stories. Overflowing even. And most of those stories and thoughts are on a continuous loop being replayed, rehashed and re-lived over and over and over again.

If you don’t want a life filled with problems, you have the power to change your story.

Oh, I hope you didn’t just read that but actually caught it like the flu. Because that one tidbit will change your life like it did mine.

That was my 2018 take away.

If I don’t want a life of problems, I can have it.

I have the power.

Change my story.

Or, in my case, stories.

Now, this nicely ties into where I want to go in 2019 and my goals for the year.

A Quick Look at 2019

There is a lot to be said for writing goals down. Kinda.

Let’s Chat on Goals For a Second

But I’m also learning the goals are not enough.

Goals are not possible to achieve without habits and a way of being that supports those goals.

Oh boy, that right there is gold that I have learned from my coach and mentor and it’s still sinking in.

So, it it feels like it just went flying over your head, simply hit rewind, back that thang up like Ludicrous, and re-read a few lines.

Goals are nothing without habits that support those goals.

And guess what, habits are things we do without thought.

Where I’m Going For 2019

In my professional life

  • Revamped Education Lady and posting useful, actionable, inspiring content weekly

  • Daily engaging of impact-driven posts on social media with the intention to change lives, one mind at a time

  • Write, finish, launch and sell a book written under my name this year

  • Launch my signature program to an amazing group of students who want to learn how to start a 5 to 6-figure tutoring business on a part-time schedule

  • Delegate like a boss-lady

  • Hire and learn from the best coach I know (in process)

In my personal life

  • I am being an extraordinary partner.

  • I am a clear, focused, fun communicator of words, thoughts, stories. 

  • I am a wonderful, supportive, loyal friend to a close-knit few.

  • I am coachable and 100% committed to what I chose to do. 

  • I am aware of boundaries and separate my work life and professional life so that focus is not lost, my health is not sacrificed, and I am present in each one in turn.

  • I am taking time off to travel, explore and create memories. 

  • I am resting one day of each week.

  • I am putting my health first even though it’s written here last. :) 

(My personal life path of what I’m going in 2019 is written in the I AM framework mentioned earlier and in this article.)

Summing It Up

2018 was rough. But really that’s just a story. 2018 simply was.

It was a year of dreams realized and a year of painfully shedding layers of me through what felt like a bottomless pit of despair.

But now, I realize it was to set me up for what’s to come. For what is today.  

I now have a deeper understanding of the older-than-time mythological story of the phoenix rising from the ashes.

I’m all about having me some transformation, ya’ll!

So, watch out. Come along for the ride. Join me in shedding some of what’s holding you back and feel free to hold me accountable should I step out of commitments you see written here.

Because now, with my rocking-awesome-supportive-editor-cheerleader and ringmaster of an assistant, Jessica, to keep me on track, I can accomplish what I desire in my work.

And with a supportive Frenchman by my side and the proof that dreams are there for us to experience if we simply dare to believe, I can be who I need to be to do the things I say I want to do - like create impact and change lives, one mind at a time.

Plus, with the hiring of my flipping awesome mentor and coach, I can keep learning material that I wish was taught in school, that will totally influence how I show up, who I am being and how much impact I can have in this world. Plus, as it’s a dream of mine, I’ll be bringing him on a call soon to do an interview. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be my first guest on The Education Lady After Dark - yet to be created podcast and only a vague dream of an idea... show!

(Mark those words…Jessica, in a Trello card with a date/time stamp!)

There’s nothing like putting it out there... and when you know and believe the world’s got your back, instead of it’s out to get you or against you, well, anything is possible, 100% of the time.

And on that note, remember to learn something today you can share with someone tomorrow.

If this article helped you in some way, share it with a friend or drop a comment below and tell me how. I love reading from you, seeing how I can be of impact, service and support to each pair of eyes that grace my words.

Education Lady | Jill Stevens

Educator. Writer. Life Long Learner. Jill has a passion to help the next generation and improve learning across the board. She’s here to change the world, one mind at a time. Right now she does that through words with purpose and by training up remarkable, rockstar tutors.