Life Lessons Learned


Why do I do what I do. Why do you do what you do?

These past two weeks -- actually these past two months -- have been some of the hardest, yet some of the most rewarding times of my life. It’s really come into focus that there isn’t a time when you get to check the box for “Life: Mastered.” 

Hitting the wall, hard

For the past two months I’ve been trying to put all of my products onto the ONLY by Nina Fitzgerald Facebook page and create a shop, but I keep getting declined by a third-party because they think I don’t own my website. Something that I thought was an absolutely mindless task, I’ve now spent a grand total of about 23 hours on. 

On top of that, Facebook can’t regulate what this third-party is looking for, nor can they help. I got frustrated -- I’m still frustrated! I was angry for about 30 minutes, and then the epiphany happened: I’m working against my own process.

I’m trying to force an issue that I have on Facebook by repeating the exact same steps I did the other 15 times I tried to input my information. It’s easy to say that Facebook is to blame because it’s their system. Obviously it’s not me; it’s always the other person or system. 

But I’m not one to give my power away, that’s not what I do. I didn’t realize that I am my own lesson, I’m always my own lesson. Facebook isn’t the big boss I’m supposed to beat at Level 35 of life in order to get to Level 36. It was my own self.

The obvious answer to this great dilemma wasn’t that I inputted all of my information correctly and that I was just misunderstood. (I probably inputted it just fine, but what should’ve knocked me back was that I forgot a very vital piece of the puzzle.)

 I did it wrong. I made a huge mistake. 

Lesson No. 1: Trust your process

I was forcing what I wanted and trying to make the system see it my way without seeing the bigger picture. Life doesn’t give you the big caption bubble in your face that tells you when you should make a left turn instead of a right, or when you need to go back and double-check something you think you might’ve accidentally forgot. I was frustrated that it wasn’t as easy as it should’ve been. If I had listened to my heart, it always guides me in the correct direction. Instead, I was listening to my head and doing this fast-and-furious style. 

Now comes the funny part: I was inputting the wrong number this whole time into the program, so it was always going to come back wrong.

Lesson No. 2: Learn From Challenges 

Have you ever felt like the whole world was just coming to get you? The “Why is everything happening to me, and why can’t this be easy”? (We should all be nodding on this one, save for the 2 percent that have really done the tough work and have undeniable self control.) 

Here is what I’ve learned -- what I’ve really learned over the past two months: It is all about the impact of what you do and why you do it above anything else.

Now when a frustration arises, my new mantra is, “What am I going to learn from this, how will this teach me in some way?” Every single person and entity has the sole right and discretion to do all of the things they do and more. That is what free will is all about. I don’t have to agree with what they do or understand why they do it, but I can learn from it and make sure that I don’t have to learn the same lesson twice. 

If nothing ever bothered me I wouldn’t learn, I wouldn’t grow, and I wouldn’t have much of an impact. The opposite is also true: There will be some people that will never understand me, will never see things the way I see it, or understand why I do what I do. Facebook doesn’t have time for every single person. They’re a huge conglomeration that gets so many requests all day, every day that some things just need to be automated. 

Lesson No. 3: Recharge to Refocus

Once I sat back and let life take the wheel (and the whole process), I forgot about pushing this timeline I so desperately wanted to hit. (It was for the 1st of June, so we are long overdue on that one.) But thanks to my frustration, I became lazy as a lizard sunning itself on a rock. I was Googling random things that served no immediate purpose for a week -- here’s looking at you June 5-12. I didn’t work much at home, but I did allow myself to breathe and have time to recover and start anew. 

My lesson for that chapter? I needed more self care and self impact.

More times than I would like to hear, but I will hear it a 1,000 times more, is “Nina you look tired, you’re overworking yourself, you need to get more sleep.” Have I pushed myself to some limits that I didn’t think were possible? Yes, totally. Would I take it back if I could? Absolutely not. 

Sometimes I don’t start working on ONLY things until 8:30 at night, and most times I don’t get done until 1:30 in the morning. On the weekends, I spend as much of the day with the boys, watching them grow up and learn what life is all about. I’ll never forget the first time that my oldest son (he was about 2.5) saw that I left my phone in a room and said, “Mama your phone!” and ran up to give it to me. That plucked all of my heartstrings at once. 

How many times had I thought, “Please just go to sleep, I have some things I need to finish”? Not anymore though. Holding down a dream full-time job that never ends at 5, styling wedding hair and makeup, mothering two boys under the age of 4, and starting a product business, I solidly know that it will require grit. I will choose to be tired to live my passions while still having an impact on the boys. 

Business will always have its own timeline, life will not. 

Lesson No. 4: Be True to Your Purpose

If I didn’t push myself to limits then I wouldn’t be asking people to help and to come and join me on this journey. (Tyler, Nancy, Ashely, Amber, Monti, Chelle, I’m looking at you!) I’ve learned that in order to make an impact, you have to push yourself and work through some pretty grueling times. I’ve wanted to quit several times, I’ve lost my drive several times, but then I’ll get an email detailing how what I’ve created has so drastically changed someone’s life  -- and I melt into tears because that is why I do what I do. 

I’ve impacted someone’s life; I have helped. 

It finally came full circle when I was talking to Robin Emmerich last week, one of my Austin gurus, and she asked me, “What is your purpose?” 

This summer was a summer of intense learning, because I needed to fully understand what my impact would be. I needed to be present in my family's life, and in order to do that I needed to be present in my own. 

I needed to understand when life challenges were meant to be discovered that day, and when they just needed time to play out because I wasn’t supposed to learn them in that moment. By fully being present, I could create products that above all were about impacting others’ lives and being present to what they needed, too.

Being present doesn’t mean being right. It means being able to see both sides of the coin and taking ownership of situations, even when it creates goosebumps on my arms and makes my palms sweat. Ultimately, ONLY is about the lasting impact I want to have by creating products with a purpose and a meaning. 

What impact do you want to leave on this world? What will your legacy be?