Lessons Learned: 5 Critical Insights I've Gained Over the Last Decade

career advice mindset purpose vision Dec 23, 2019

Here we are.

Eight days away from not only a new year, but a new decade!

Can you believe it? It's both surreal and exciting to be on the precipice of 2020. 

However, while I'm excited to see what the future holds, as I always tell my clients, it's important to take a moment to reflect on your past to glean the lessons learned that can be applied for your future.

So as I reviewed the significant events of my life and business over the last 10 years, five critical lessons emerged. 

But before I share my key take-aways, take a quick walk with me down memory lane.

2010: Working as an Associate Dean for a graduate university and received a promotion becoming a Director of one the graduate programs.

2011: Fell in love with sterling silver jewelry and joined a little company called Silpada Designs Jewelry. Promoted to leadership and earned my first free trip to Puerto Rico within six months of joining the company.

2012: Lost my father and decided to embrace his entrepreneurial dream for me by turning my jewelry business hobby into a sustainable business. Won national awards, trip to Hawaii and teaching women how to build their businesses.

2013: Walked away from my career in academia and focused on become a full-time entrepreneur. Promoted to a higher level in leadership, coached members of my team to get promoted to leadership, earned a $20,000 bonus, trip to Panama, spoke on the national stage, and won national awards.

2014: Now coaching and leading 150+ women and men on my team, reached #1 status in Silpada for developing new business owners, earned trips to Dominican Republic and Paris, featured in the company catalog, and designated as a brand ambassador for their new line of jewelry.  Then walked away to establish Evolve Image Consulting. My oldest started college and I turned 50! Whoohoo!!

2015: Built my new business slowly from scratch. Hired my first business coach (which was a big mental and financial investment for me).

2016: 3x my business revenue from the previous year. Became President of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) West Region. Hired my next business coach. Started my monthly appearances on AM Northwest Morning Show and speaking regularly around the country.

2017: Almost 2x my business revenue from the previous year. Became the Editor-in-Chief of the AICI Global Magazine and VP for Global Branding & Marketing. My youngest started college. Hired my next business coach. Keynoting at national conferences and events.

2018: Expanded my business and rebranded to Carol Parker Walsh Consulting, LLC. Hired my first VA and social media manager. Joined my first year-long mastermind for both coaching and collaboration with other entrepreneurs. Built a 6-figure practice. Appeared on the cover of Emerge Women Magazine and in an ad for Chico's.

2019: Delivered my first TEDx Talk and Dent The Conference Talk. Appeared in my first infomercial for Madison Reed. Hired my next business coach and joined another year-long mastermind. Paid keynote status. Added more corporate consulting. Continue to increase my revenue. Became a global brand, reaching and coaching women worldwide in five different countries.

Over the years I've been blessed to directly impact the lives of hundreds of women through coaching and indirectly (thought talks, free resources, articles and blogs, and media appearances) the lives of several thousands. 

Of course there have been some challenges, set backs, health issues, moments of doubt, and frankly, times I just wanted to give up! But that's just the way life works. The key is, how you decide to move forward.

Now it's your turn!

Use the same appreciative lens and do a quick review of your last decade before you set your goals and intentions for the new year. 

Spend time celebrating how powerful, brave, creative, wise, and productive you were so you can embrace your inner badass and step boldly into 2020.

Now, as promised, here are the five critical insights as I look back over the last 10 years:

1. Toot Your Horn and Celebrate Your Successes:

Many of us have a tendency to focus on the negatives, what went wrong, or how we failed at something, while completely ignoring our successes. I know this because until I did some real work around this, I struggled with this myself. Doing that, however, only reinforces the bad stuff you don't want and creates a negative loop of self-doubt and stagnation. 

You have to boldly claim and name your achievements. This is hard for women to do because we've been taught that it's arrogance or bragging. But it's not. It fuels me, encourages me and motivates me to not only push on, but to reach new heights.

In these reflective moments you'll reinforce your confidence, strength and resilience, to make things happen and get things done. Try it! 

2. Never Accept the Status Quo:

I believe one of the worst things we can do is to give up hope and resign ourselves to life "as is." If you're feeling that you're meant to do more, that something's missing, or that it's time to do something new or different, trust it and allow yourself to break free from the status quo.

As I look back over the last 10 years of life, I'm really proud of the fact that I didn't ignore that feeling in my gut and voice in my head that kept screaming at me, "You're in the wrong place and heading in the wrong direction. Figure it out and make a change." I'm proud that I broke out of the safety and security of my comfort zone and took a risk to discover my purpose and my path.

Was I scared? Hell yes! Our egos have a way of rearing it's ugly head to remind us that we're crazy or being foolish or that "it" will never work. So with each move I had to up level my mindset and work through those negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. This is why so many women will opt for the familiar and safe never reaching their full potential.

Every year I committed to stop playing small,  living in fear and suffering under the weight of dreams deferred. If you're feeling a nudge or push to step out of the box you currently find yourself in, do something about it. What you'll find will be bigger and better than you ever imagined. I did.

3. Always Raise the Bar on Your Dreams:

Now that you've stepped into your calling, commit to being the best! I mean, why wouldn't you??

When you raise the bar and strive to be even better than you currently are, you will achieve more.  As you test your limits, your deserve level will expand and a whole new world of opportunity and potential will open up to you. With every achievement you create the space in your heart and mind to achieve even more!

Every year I set a goal to BE - DO - HAVE, meaning I made a decision to BE better and DO better so I could HAVE more of what I wanted. For me that meant raising the bar and setting some big hairy audacious goals. I've always thought of it this way, if you go for the absolute best and fall short, you'll still end up way ahead of the game.

4. The World Needs What You Have to Offer:

When I started my business I remember hearing Marie Forleo saying, "The world needs that special gift that only you have."  Well, I took that personally believing that the women I support need not just what I have to share, but in the way that only I can share it.

I realize that the success I've achieved has been due to my focus on how I can best serve, inspire, motivate and deliver results for the women in my tribe. Whether through jewelry sales, image branding or career development, my goal has always been to help women be the best versions of themselves in order to achieve their goals and dreams. After all, that's what fueled me to launch my business in the first place.

The fact that my clients continue to work me year after year or will come back to me after previous working together is a testament to the results I am able to provide for them. It also reinforces that the fact that what I have to offer the world is not only wanted, but needed. 

5. You Can't Achieve Success in Isolation:

One of the most powerful lessons I've learned over this past decade is success can never be achieved in isolation. I'm not just talking about networking or having family and friends, I'm talking about aligning yourself with the right people you need at the right time to help you advance to your next best level. 

That's why every year I've hired a business coach and surrounded myself with powerful, confident, high-achieving women. Rising tides do indeed lift all boats.

Every year I've hired a coach my business grew. When I started joining masterminds and leveraging the power of the "collective," my business, along with my personal and professional development, has grown exponentially.

As the African proverb says, "If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together!"


So there you have it.

Why am I sharing all of this with you?

First, I believe in being authentic and transparent. It helps to keep me honest and real.

Second, if you want to know where you're going, you have to take a sober look at and remember where you came from.

Finally, my hope for you as you wrap up this year and this decade, is that you enter the new year not by being worried, upset or sad about all the things that didn't work, didn't go right, or even that you weren't able to achieve. But instead to allow yourself to focus on what you've accomplished, what did go right, and what really matters in your life.

Here's to facing your fears, breaking out of the status quo, raising the bar, giving the world all you have to offer, finding your squad and celebrating every step of the way in 2020 and beyond!

You've got this!

Do you want support for living your best life? I highly recommend my mindset mastery course Dare to Be Authentically You! You can choose to take your time or commit to getting through it all before we usher in the new year.

Live, laugh and unapologetically shine,


Photo credit: Kate Singh Photography


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