33 Pearls of Wisdom for My 33rd Birthday

An amazing journey of self-discovery, love, life, and dreams has brought me to my 33rd birthday today! My actual birth date rarely makes me feel any older than the previous day; however, this year has me feeling a little bit older and a little bit wiser. My crazy-busy last 3-5 years has brought me to a mini life plateau...that moment where you can see just over the horizon and appreciate a bit of the past while leaning into the future. Coming out of my 20s, getting married, having my first child Chloe Kristyn, and launching my dream business in my daughter’s namesake have brought me to a profound place of personal reflection. This is the perfect time to focus on how far I’ve come and truly take note of what’s incredibly important to me right now. Here are the 33 lessons I’ve learned on my journey to age 33.

Life:

1. Be you…UNAPOLOGETICALLY you. Let your light shine; the world needs it.

2. I believe passion and purpose lie in our differences. Embrace your differences and challenge yourself to embrace and understand the differences of others.

3. Find your tribe, and if you can’t find one, build one. Find the people who challenge you to do and be better, people that support you with words and actions, and people who “pour water on your fears and gasoline on your dreams.”

4. Find a therapist. Find someone who you connect with. Many of us were raised to think that Christians should solely rely on prayer. The power of our Creator is within us and in many cases He's waiting for us to use it. You can pray AND go to therapy! You don’t need a diagnosed mental condition to benefit from therapy. You just have to want to be the best person you can be. You need to crave self-awareness and accountability. We’ve all expended energy and effort trying to cover up unaddressed issues, yet and still, they are very apparent. There’s nothing more liberating than being completely and fully self-aware and accountable. There’s nothing more liberating than getting to know yourself on the deepest levels. There’s nothing more liberating than feeling comfortable communicating your feelings (still working on this) and sometimes saying “no”. Setting limitations without guilt means following the motto, “I will not pour into anything that’s not pouring into me.” Lastly, there’s nothing more liberating than being able to recognize when people are dumping their sh*t on you.

5. Buy quality...not quantity. This will save you money in the long run. See #7

6. It's OK to indulge every once and a while. Stop fretting over having the perfect body. Focus on being healthy.

7. Spend money on things that make your life easier. Forgo the Starbucks, get the cleaning lady…and ask if she’ll wash and fold your clothes for an extra $20-$30.

8. If you have more than 6-8 months’ worth of living expenses in a checking account or money market, that's too much. Hire a financial advisor; the fees for their services are minimal in comparison to their value. Invest in mutual funds or ETFs. Compound interest is a magical unicorn.

9. In many cases, traveling outside of the US is cheaper than traveling within the US. Get out of the country. Explore. Hire a photographer to document your experience while you're there.

10. Personal growth sometimes means leaving others behind; that's OK.

11. You can’t have it all at once. It’s true that you can only do about three things really well. Be intentional in prioritizing those three things; the priority may change week to week. Enjoy the journey!

Business:

12. In the world of social media, where anyone can be who they choose to be, it’s easy to feel like we belong to a circle of friends or that we are familiar/connected to someone. In reality, there’s no connection at all. Don’t hide behind the computer/phone screen. Invite people out for coffee or a drink; seek to make genuine connections. This is also a great test…people make time for what and who they truly value.

13. Look for ways to support and collaborate with others. In the long run, there’s no fun in a “What’s in it for me?’ existence. Try not to get shortsighted in this day to day trap.

14. Control your time, schedule, and agenda. If you don’t, someone or something else will.

15. Life experience + GRIT > degree.

16. Charge what you are worth, not a penny less.

17. The best way to learn is to “figure it out.” The world holds a wealth of knowledge...free knowledge! Besides the good ole Google Machine and books, there are podcasts and YouTube videos on just about any topic you can imagine. Take advantage of these resources. If you can’t find what you're looking for, after you've turned over every rock, just ask someone!

18. You don't have to have it all figured out before you start.

19. Everyone should know how to sell.

20. Have backups for your backups. Never put your future, yourself, or your business at the mercy of someone else.

21. Once people show you who they are, believe them the first time. Everyone has a motive. Some will use their passion or purpose to help you discover and fulfill your purpose and others will use you for their personal gain....either way, figure it out. This can simply be achieved by asking someone to "put some skin in the game” or be accountable. Run like hell from people with impure motives.

22. Learn to delegate. Hire contractors or interns. Craigslist, Indeed, Upwork, and Fivver are your friend!

23. If you're the smartest person in the group/room, you need to find a new group/room quickly.

24. Slow growth = sustainability. There are several years of hard work, late nights, and sacrifice behind every overnight success story.

25. Failure is part of success.

Motherhood:

26. Follow your instincts. If everyone else says your child has a cold, but your first instinct is that it's an allergy, 99.9% chance it's an allergy.

27. Children have their own personalities. Get to know them, cater to their strengths, nurture their personalities (even if it’s the polar opposite of yours), and allow them to explore their curiosities. They are not yours to police. Live your life to the fullest so you won’t fall into the trap of trying to live vicariously through your children.

28. If your child is happy, safe, clothed, fed, has a roof over her head, and is given love and affection, you're doing a great job.

29. Being a mother does not mean you have to put your life on hold. You can chase dreams and achieve goals while raising a child. Little boys and girls need to see their mothers working hard to achieve their dreams and goals. They also need to see their fathers supporting their mothers in doing so. See #16…and learn about Cathy Hughes (Radio One), Alli Webb (Drybar), Kendra Scott (Kendra Scott), and Miko Branch (Miss Jessie’s). These are all women, three of whom are/were single moms, who built multi-million and billion dollar businesses while raising children.

30. Know that it’s ok to ask for help. Everyone gets tired and overwhelmed.

31. Self-care, alone time, and rest are high priorities. Coming last does not make you a hero.

32. Take a little time to look “put together” so you can feel “put together.” The best way to achieve this is “the uniform.” Find a pair of jeans you like; buy two or three pairs. Find a shirt you like; buy it in multiple colors. Find a dress that fits well; buy it in multiple colors. A solid tee and bold accessories are your friends. Mix and match! Mission accomplished!

Marriage:

33. Partnership is “this AND” not “this OR.” Love and partnership does not require or demand the sacrificing of self and goals. A husband and wife can support one another while simultaneously working towards their individual goals. It may look a little unorthodox at times, but sometimes you have to “live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else.”

Bettina Benson

Bettina Benson is the visionary and designer of Chloe Kristyn. This empowerment brand creates original dresses and limited edition designs - for women and the girls they inspire™. The Chloe Kristyn brand is inspired by her young daughter Chloe. They share the middle name Kristyn to show their unity and love for one another. Chloe Kristyn boasts flattering, fun and functional silhouettes in unapologetically bright and bold colors and prints. The brand proudly caters to all women and girls. Its signature, coordinating collections enable impressionable daughters to flaunt the special bond they have with their adoring mothers.

Shop for mother/daughter dresses here: http://chloekristyn.com/shop

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