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Turning Lemon into Lemonade

How I turned Lemon into Lemonade in 2022.

From shocking events like cinematic floods to dramatic political episodes, 2022 was ‘a lot’ for most South Africans.  It’s common knowledge that orange juice or coffee are ideal beverages to kick-start mornings but for the most part, 2022 decided to bring me raw lemons on a regular basis.  It left me no choice but to learn how to turn every situation into lemonade.  Here’s how…

  • Choosing Simplicity over Complexity

When things became overwhelming with intense levels of inflation and highest stages of load-shedding – I asked one question.  How can I simplify my life?  I focused on needs and not so much on wants.  Adjustments had to be made and fast.  For each challenge, big or small – the point was to find solutions and approaches that were as simple as possible.  Complexity is expensive.  As a result, I used less petrol but still had more meetings and online-coffee-connects, outings became about being in nature hiking and picnics as opposed to expensive restaurants.   At some point, I deactivated my UberEats app.  I was surprised at how creative I became with my cooking with so much less.  Not only was I saving, but I was – and still am – eating much healthier and having more fun with foods!

  • Fewer goals

Hear me out.  I’m not discouraging you from dreaming big.  Of course, dream big but what good is it when it’s not supported by goals that fit squarely into making the big dream a reality.

When the year started, I’d been writing my book for a year (with intermittent pauses in between) and I was determined that this was one project I would finish in 2022 no matter what.  When curve balls were thrown at me – it was easy to decide to direct my resources (time, money and energy) to this specific goal.  Whether it was paying for my writing coach or a lawyer for advice around the publishing contract or deciding on time allocation on each day.  It was obvious what to focus on precisely because I had fewer goals.

  • Trusted the Universe to be Working with and for me.

No matter how challenging things got, I held on to the belief that things were happening in may favour.  It may sound like a self-gaslight but it certainly helped to just trust that even the delay or a rejection was for my highest good.  This level of trust meant no forcing matters.  It became easier to walk away from things that didn’t align with me or serve me.  Looking back, I realise how rejection from somethings that may have seemed good for me was a redirection to even better.

  • I learnt to ask for help.

I feel like I graduated at this long-time struggle of choking up at the idea of asking for help.  2022 ‘mgowo’ pushed me to let go of subconscious judgements I’d attached to asking for help.  You know, assuming it’s burdensome or even judging it as a sign of incompetence.  When challenges came, I was cornered to release the negative narrative and started seeing it as an organic part of life.  Eventually, I learnt that, done in a healthy balance – asking for help is necessary for relationships to grow.  Help equals support and support equals love.

  • Searched for a lesson every step of the way

Finding a lesson in every circumstance doesn’t take away the hurt or the frustrations of a challenging journey.  But seeing the lesson is some sort of reward or benefit for having gone through that hardship.  I suppose all years bring along a list of lessons for all of us… I guess I finally figured that I have to super intentional about taking notes and using the lessons as a guide the next steps.  In a mastermind program I was part of, ran by Donna MacCallum, I was challenged to reflect on lessons on a weekly basis throughout 2022.  The result was a heightened self-awareness, being inspired by my own journey as opposed to wallowing in complaining about challenges.

  • Stopped fearing the truth

Facing one’s reality – as in to acknowledge and accept it for what it is – can be difficult.  It requires courage and vulnerability to do so.  Having spent much time researching and writing about boundaries since 2020 – it became apparent that the sooner I gathered courage to face the truth of any and every situation the more in flow and at ease I would be.

If my budget was limited, I acknowledge it and either didn’t buy something or saved up for it.  If a person treated me in a way that didn’t feel right or just – I raised the issue or cut their access to me and my time-money-energy.  The truth included staying close to how I felt at any given moment.  I listened and heard my feelings, processed them and soothed myself accordingly.  It worked wonders for my mental and emotional fitness.

Life is a constant juggling act – even worse so in 2022 where factors outside of our control were so many.

Having decided to keep things simple and have fewer goals, boundary practice was the guiding track that kept it all together.  When things got complicated and confusing, I checked in with my personal truth – based on my needs, wants, feelings and thoughts.  It meant saying NO to a lot of things so that I could say YES to myself – including deciding not to go home for Christmas for the first time ever.  I needed and wanted rest.

Learning how to make lemonade has given me a greater sense of appreciation for lemons and the value they bring to my journey.  All is well.  Here’s to being open to 2023 and its lessons!

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Ndumi Hadebe is the author of Handle Black Tax Like – Setting Boundaries, Improving Relationships and Achieving freedom. 

With more than a decade of corporate experience and another as an entrepreneur, she lives her passion through her coaching business, Kwande Consulting – where she and a team of specialist- coaches support corporate teams and executives with coaching programs that are geared towards bridging efficiency and productivity gaps. 

She’s also a facilitator and speaker on topics such as Boundaries = Self-Love, Boundaries for Productivity, Boundaries for Goals and Handling Black Tax Like a Pro.