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Growing Forward: 3 Life Lessons I Learned That Aren’t Taught in School

Recently I was reminded that in order to grow forward, we must embrace our past. It is a part of me that made me into the person I am today, so I cannot ignore it. Yes, we’ve all had our journeys of ups and downs that have gotten us to this point where we are today. It’s up to us every single day to determine the next steps we take. One foot in front of the other…

For the love of social media

Four years ago, I found myself in direct sales and in love with social media. Well my love for social media may have started longer than four years ago. Add my love for learning to the mix and I found my way to an amazing tribe of online women and coaches that have helped me grow in more ways that I’m going to describe now.

With all that growing and learning, I stumbled upon some recurring themes.

1. Communication is key.

As kids, we are taught not to talk to strangers but expected to be polite. I think that means smile and speak when spoken to. As we grow up, we are required to talk to strangers, whether it be in school or making new friends or when you start your first job. What I find even more ironic is that all this is expected of us but no formal social etiquette training is ever given. We have English class to teach us proper grammar and spelling and we have speech class to teach us how to persuade and inform using public speaking. Yet no classes are available on how to hold a conversation with a friend, coworker, boss, client, or partner.

Talking in a can phone

It wasn’t until my early twenties when I got into network marketing that I learned about communication and so many other great lessons. I learned about the simple conversation strategy called F.O.R.M. Family, occupation, recreation, and message, FORM. This is a simple and great tool for communication in any relationship because it builds rapport and creates building blocks of conversation. Learning how to communicate well with your circle is so important. Seek out tools to improve your communication skills and then put them into action. Strengthen those muscles by talking with your spouse, your kids, your coworkers.

2. Personal / professional development is vital.

We’re all taught that education is important. When I got my first (non intern) accounting job at a public accounting firm, I had 2 weeks of on the job training and then it was all (well mostly) up to me to figure the rest out. I also learned that in accounting and a few other professions (teaching and nursing to name a few) require hours of training annually. Continuing to learn and grow is vital both personally and professionally. In this constantly evolving world, I’ve got to stay on tops of trends to stay current with my clients so I can continue to help them in their business journey.

There are many different ways of consuming professional development, including

reading and growing your brain
  • college classes
  • seminars
  • online classes
  • workshops
  • self study programs
  • books
  • audiobooks

I’ve always loved reading and learning but the concept of personal development was first introduced to me through network marketing. I loved soaking in all the books on leadership, self help, motivation, and all cds (side note: would you believe my vehicle doesn’t even have a cd player?! My, how times are changing!) and videos.

3. Gratitude is life giving.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow!

~Melody Beattie

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow! ~Melody Beattie

When I first read this quote, it immediately gave me a sense of peace and calm. I hope you feel that same feeling as you read this quote and look at the beautiful sunrise.

I first learned about gratitude as a daily practice about three years ago. Of course I’m grateful for all the wonderful things in my life, but actually taking the time to sit and write them out regularly was a new concept to me. After a few days of the small things, one of my dear friends (and fellow We Spot blogger) inspired me to keep going deeper.

In her daily practice of gratitude, Trish had written down the name of her biological father, a man that had rejected her at a delicate young age. Not only did this daily practice stretch her, but it also led her on a faith journey of healing from that rejection and a God sized calling to write an amazing book. All while raising 3 babies, being a military wife, and a veteran learning to live with PTSD. A simple practice of gratitude helped her start healing from a lifetime of baggage! How powerful and inspiring is that!?! It made me want to write down gratefulness for days! I’m still growing my gratitude muscle daily and learning from my amazing friends!

I am truly grateful for experiences that stretch me (heck I never thought I’d be a contributing writer for a blog!!!), ones that test my patience, ones that remind me daily that I am loved, ones that allow me to slow down and be present, and ones that require me to forgive. In order to be grateful for those experiences, I must embrace the difficult situations and difficult people that lead me to and through them. Every day is a growth opportunity and we each have the opportunity to grow forward. Yes, it’s still a daily work in progress but that’s ok!

Bonus Lesson: Grace is really as amazing as it sounds.

I hope you can hear the sweet sounds of amazing grace as you read this because grace truly is sweet and amazing.

The type of grace I’m referring to is favoring or honoring someone. Every day I wake up and take a breath, I am filled with a new day’s grace. Sometimes I use it all up before breakfast (Moms, am I right?!) The art of giving grace and receiving grace is humbling and is so rich in love and often feels more difficult than it actually is. Someone set you off at work? Take a breath, and remember we’re all dealing with something. Hit the pause button and give that coworker or boss a moment of grace. Every day we have the opportunity to grow in this area and I challenge you and me to keep you dosing out that grace!

More importantly, are you having a tough day? Did you yell at your husband? Forget your kid’s lunch? Now you’re beating yourself up? Take a breath and give yourself grace! Apologize and give those sweet ones in your life a kiss. I’m betting both of you will feel a lot better once you do.

So in case no one has told you today..


Saved by grace necklace
My daily reminder necklace ~ I am indeed saved by grace!

Dana Andalora

Dana Andalora is a wife, mom of 3, and a numbers girl. She resides in Maryland with her family. Dana is grateful to be in a virtual community with amazing like minded women. She is fascinated with learning and considers herself a personal and professional development junkie. As an expert bookkeeper and financial services provider for the past 15 years, Dana has helped business owners keep their records straight and create more space for profitable business to occur. She cherishes her relationships with clients, and loves helping business owners be more successful. Dana also treasures time in the sun and on the beach and plans to live near the water one day. Dana delights in traveling and has traveled to several states for business and womens retreats. She is excited to be part of the We Spot blog and looks forward to interacting with the readers.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Kristen Beatty

    Love this! Spot on!

    1. Dana Andalora

      Thanks Kristen!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!

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