In our world of social media, we (myself included) often see the highlight reel of people’s lives. We see the victories, the successes, the smiling happy faces of a wonderful life. We see the view from the mountaintop, without noticing the long climb that it took to get there. We often don’t see the struggles, frustrations or wall kicking moments that were all part of the journey.

For example, you may have seen my contribution to the article The hidden sleep epidemic that’s ruining women’s lives (NY POST) or my interview in Syracuse Woman Magazine but what you didn’t see were the hundreds of queries and emails that I’ve sent over the months that continue to be rejected or perhaps worse, ignored and unanswered.

You may have also seen the FB posts from Jim and I about our trip to NYC for an amazing photoshoot with Michael Keel Photography for First for Women magazine (due out around November 23). What you didn’t see is three weeks before we had come into contact with poison ivy. Jim and I experienced uncontrollable itching for several weeks. Added to my dilemma was a three YEAR history with chronic hives. My high histamine levels added insult to injury. I was trying anything and everything and then a reaction to a new antihistamine led me to the emergency room with chest pains. It was still another week before I felt relief from the itching. I even had to cancel two book events during that time. I don’t say this for sympathy or pity, but for you to understand that we all get to CHOOSE what we focus on and promote.

To provide one more example, I’m in an industry where we get to share “before and after” photos. We share glimpses of people’s journeys. But I’ve also been privileged to hear the inside scoop and behind-the-scenes stories. Do you realize that every transformation you see starts with a before photo, where someone got sick and tired of being sick and tired? Every transformation or success story that we see or hear about starts with a person who one day decided to change. And then every day, every hour, sometimes every MINUTE they had to decide again. Whether it’s 43 pounds like my friend Tina released or 100 pounds like my friend Rachel released (and went on to be a fitness competitor). They all have wall-kicking moments and days where they don’t feel like making the healthier choice, but they do it anyway.

My point is this: we all have highs AND lows. Here are five things we can learn from them.

  1. Perspective.
    Perspective is EVERYTHING. Earlier this year, my husband taught me that we are either succeeding or learning. This came at a key time in my life. I had just invested heavily in myself to participate in a women’s wellness expo halfway across the country. I bought 1,000 of my own books for a two-day conference where 18,000 people were promised. I fully believed I would sell out. Needless to say, I shipped about 994 books home. Ouch! I was really struggling mentally and emotionally over this, but where I started to see failure, Jim encouraged me to see lessons and stay positive. He reminded me that I would have always second-guessed myself if I hadn’t tried it. Yes, I have a large inventory, but as you’ll see below in the paragraph about choices, I get to choose my perspective. I’m still learning about events and the number in attendance (they typically fall short of what is promised in my experience). While I actually had to learn this lesson several times this year, it has challenged me to change my focus and be efficient with my time and energy so I can reach more people with my message.

    (And if anyone wants to buy a book, or two, or 200, let me know. LOL)
  2. Resiliency.
    My friend Lisa Sears did a Facebook Live this week, and she said that we are built resilient. We just need to learn how to boost that resiliency but we are all naturally resilient. As a Bounce Back Better Resilience Certified Trainer, she helps people learn to bounce back quicker and better! I love this! We are born resilient. It’s been my lifelong belief and a big part of my book Come Back Strong was about bouncing back from surgical menopause. My next book is already in the brainstorming process and it’s going to center around the idea of turning setbacks into comebacks and knowing when it’s time to rise!

    We will all have struggles in this life, but we also were all born with the resiliency trait. Use it to help you bounce back better and #comebackstrong

    And, if you are looking for more positive vibes in your life then I highly recommend Lisa and Colleen’s FB group called Positive Psychology…Daily Dose. They are doing some really great work.
  3. Compassion.
    We never truly know what someone is going through. I recently reached out to a friend from high school and she shared with me that she recently experienced a betrayal and is at the beginning of a separation. I know my friend has been blindsided and this is a time in her life she is really struggling through. I’m proud of her for sharing such a vulnerable and devastating moment. So often, we keep things like this to ourselves, trying to push through and appear strong. I’m all about being strong but life is a balance between helping yourself and knowing when to ask for help. At the very least, let’s all be more compassionate toward one another; we never truly know what someone is going through unless we ask and/or they choose to tell us.
  4. Choice.
    By now you may be recognizing a common theme… we CHOOSE our perspective, we CHOOSE to #comebackstrong with resilience and we CHOOSE to have compassion. We may be surrounded by negativity and hardship, but we have a choice. A few years ago I spent a week observing kindness. I tracked every time I was kind to someone or I observed kindness. You know what? The more kindness I looked for, the more I found. I believe the same is true about happiness or negativity. If we focus on happiness or positivity, it shows up strong. And, if we choose to focus on the negative, we are likely to find more things to complain and be cynical about.
  5. Celebrate.
    Please, continue to celebrate and share the victories, the smiles, the beautiful moments with the world. We need them. It inspires us and gives us hope and a break from the negativity and devastation in the world today. It gives us permission to smile and laugh and celebrate our own victories.

    And remember, joy gets multiplied when we share it.

    Your homework: call a friend and say “tell me something good.” Then, please share your experience or one of your own victories in the comments below. I’d love to celebrate with you!