The One Painful Lesson I Was Happy to Learn in 2016

I remembered the biggest mistake an entrepreneur and a mother could ever make - one that I kept making over and over in 2016
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A man drawing a heart
A man drawing a heart

Yesterday, I was treated to the mac daddy of all women's fantasies. I was invited by one of the top 25 spas in the nation to indulge in a day of pampering and relaxation - full of champagne, soaking tubs, and sweet treats - completely free of charge.

I was escorted to a private spa room, complete with my own outdoor bubble bath and crystal chandelier made of champagne flutes. I couldn't believe my job involved such decadence, immediately giving myself a mental pat on the back for having earned such a luxurious day.

I disrobed immediately, stepped into the pristine porcelain tub, took one sip of my crisp champagne and as soon as the bubbles hit my throat, I began to panic. I had left my cell phone inside. It was bad enough that I had taken the day away from my laptop in the middle of a workweek, but now I had left my other lifeline, my cell phone, in another room. And my hands were wet. And I was naked.

Now what?

Dare I ask my spa host, the ethereal, gentle woman so dedicated to helping me unwind, to fetch me my cell phone? Dare I be that asshole that chooses to spend her once-in-a-lifetime spa day answering emails and checking voicemails from a champagne-fueled bubble bath?

As soon as I realized how ridiculous this would be, I got a hold of myself.

I remembered what I was even doing at the Eau Spa in Palm Beach in the first place, and remembered how badly I had been waiting for a day to do nothing but indulge in my own needs.

I remembered the biggest mistake an entrepreneur and a mother could ever make - one that I kept making over and over in 2016.

The mistake of not putting enough time into loving myself.

They say the smartest people never stop learning. That the adventure of life is to keep learning all the time. That the best lessons come from our mistakes.

Well, ain't that the truth?

I've made a ton of mistakes throughout the course of my life. Poorly executed career plans, even worse relationship blunders, and day-to-day decisions that still make me cringe. But my biggest mistake? The one responsible for these? The one with the power to affect every single decision I've made and actions I've taken?

My inability to make self-love a priority. My refusal to see myself as worthy.

Couple that with my amazing inability to put myself first, value myself or understand why self-love is the most important kind of love you'll ever know - and you'll have the answer as to why my life pre-2016 was the disaster that it was.

Well, my friends - lesson learned.

I won't get into why it took me so long to learn this lesson, or even why I had spent so much of my adult life giving in to others needs before my own. Why becoming a mother made me feel as if any time taken for myself was guilty and selfish.

It doesn't matter now. Because I've learned. I've learned that self-love is not selfish.
It's essential.

I've learned that as a mother AND entrepreneur, you'll find more success in both these roles when you learn to take time for yourself. How a few moments, hours, or even days per month will give your brain the mental reboot it needs for you to continue building your dreams, becoming stronger and more powerful every day.

But how does one do this? How does one go from broken and completely out of touch with herself to fully in tune with her innermost needs, outermost assets, and everything in between?

I guess it's different for everyone. But for me, someone who was always known for constantly making myself too available, it was learning to put up boundaries. To not answer the email right away. To not take every phone call as it came in. To not drop everything any time someone asked something of me.

Then I focused on rediscovering what made me happy. Shit, as a mom to a toddler, a wife to another entrepreneur, and a woman with a demanding and growing business to run, alone time made me happy. Alone time, the thing I once feared the most, became my new best friend. So, I started scheduling it on my calendar on a weekly basis. Whether it meant time to unwind with my favorite trashy reality television show, or a trip to the mall by myself - I began making it happen. Not only did this allow me to step away from constant grind of my business, it allowed me to focus on nothing having to do with making money or parenting.

Now it's a new year. I've got about 360 days left to somehow make 2017 even more successful than 2016. But I get to take the lessons I've learned with me. And you can bet your ass I will never make the mistake of forgetting to love myself, honor my needs, and give myself the time I need to breathe, ever, ever again.

Here are my top 5 ways to show myself the self-love I so truly deserve:

In bed. Phone off. With a glass of wine, Erika Jayne from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and probably some popcorn if I'm being totally honest. I get the chills just thinking of it.

Grab the person you love most, the one you likely don't get enough time with, and enjoy the hell out of whatever you're doing. Call it a date night, date day, whatever. Give the love hard and make sure to get that love back in return.

You know what's better for your soul than laughing so hard you might cry with a group of friends and a table of cocktails? Nothing. Abso-freakin-lutely nothing.

Want to show your body the ultimate act of love and gratitude? Want to clear your brain of all the worry, anxiety, and stress? Do some cardio. Do it until you're dripping sweat, imagining yourself in the music video of the song you're blasting on your iPod, and work that ass. This is pure magic.

Go for the most luxurious spa day you can imagine - preferably one that basically forces cupcakes on you at every turn like the one I was at yesterday. Get a manicure. Get your hair blown out. Eat a whole damn birthday cake by yourself. But just make sure you do it without your mobile devices. And make sure to enjoy every fucking minute.

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