Ten lessons I Learned in 2022

Ten lessons I Learned in 2022

2022 was a wild year from closing the boutique to personal ups and downs to, most importantly, taking time to discover a new path for myself. On that journey, I learned so many lessons, and I want to share some of them with you today. 

Some of them are revelations about myself, like how I’ve learned to become my own best friend, trust my intuition, and slow down so I can appreciate the life I have before trying to jump into something new. 

Others have informed the way I interact with the world around me, like how I’ve stopped explaining myself, continued to take the high road (even when it’s tempting not to), and prioritized my family time above all else.

And a few more just seem to be universal truths that I’ve uncovered, like how social media is an amazing connector – even though it has its drawbacks – and the push and pull between life's difficult moments and its simpler ones.

So without further ado, here are my top ten lessons from 2022! Thank you so much for letting me share them with you, and I hope you find something here that resonates with you too.


In this episode, you’ll learn...

  • [03:02] Why you don’t owe anyone an explanation for prioritizing your happiness
  • [04:33] Why you should trust your intuition always
  • [05:46] What you gain when you always take the high road
  • [08:11] How success is just a feeling (and it doesn’t have anything to do with how your life looks)
  • [10:40] How slowing down allows you to appreciate what you already have
  • [13:10] Why you need to become your own best friend
  • [15:47] Why I’ve made so many changes in my life to prioritize family time
  • [17:08] How life can be so difficult, and yet also so simple
  • [20:00] Why you are not stuck, but might need a new perspective
  • [22:04] And all about my love-hate relationship with social media, but why I’m grateful for it anyway

If you want to learn more about growing your business in a way that feels good to you, grab my free guide to growing your business!


Links mentioned in this episode…

My free guide to growing your business

Join my group coaching program, The Friendly Entrepreneur!

Check out my coaching programs (I offer 1:1 business and social media consulting!)

Follow Nicole on Instagram



[00:00:07] Welcome to the More than Clothes podcast. I'm your host, Nicole J, a mama, wife, and entrepreneur who makes the most out of the hours in between morning school drop off and afternoon pickup. After ten years of building a successful clothing boutique, I decided to close the doors. When I realized that the fast fashion world just did not align with the slow and simple life that I had been craving. You're in the right place if you're looking for real life advice or proven steps to building your business. I'll be going behind the scenes of my life as a working mom, surviving in the chaos and choosing to start over. And details of how I built a multimillion dollar business by the time I was 30 years old. We're sharing some of the mistakes I made. I'm hoping to help you avoid them. And by telling you about some of the hard lessons I've learned, I'm hoping to inspire you to finally let go of other people's expectations and start prioritizing your happiness. Thank you guys, so much for being here. Let's get to it. 

[00:01:13] Hi, guys. Welcome back to the More than Clothes podcast. Today I'm going to be sharing ten lessons that I've learned in this past year. You know, 2022 was truly just like a year that I never saw coming, but also a year that I. I just don't want to forget so much happened. I spent a lot of time just in my own thoughts this past year, and most of them were positive and seeking new purpose and passion and just full of excitement. But a lot of those thoughts were definitely filled with just worry and fear and self-doubt. And my personal strength was just tested in more ways than I can even begin to describe. But I just I've learned so many lessons along the way. So if you're new around here, I owned a clothing boutique for ten years and I decided to close the doors in early 2022. It wasn't really a sad closing. It wasn't a failure or anything like that. Our business was actually doing really well and did really well throughout the pandemic. It was just this personal choice of knowing that I was ready for more. I've talked a lot about that in past episodes, and we'll continue to talk about it here. But these lessons really, really came from this entire year of sort of starting over and and figuring out this new path for myself. So I'm going to list out the ten lessons that I learned. Explain them a little bit. And I hope that at least one or two of these resonate with you and you can take away something inspirational from this episode. So let's dive right in. 

[00:03:02] Number one. Probably one of my biggest lessons this past year was that you don't owe anyone an explanation for prioritizing your happiness. I'm going to repeat it. I want you to write this down. Make it your new iPhone background or whatever you need to. You don't owe anyone an explanation for prioritizing your happiness. This was truly one of those signs from the universe that I just got sort of slapped in my face one day when I was trying to decide if closing the boutique was right or not and making all of these big decisions. I really just had this voice telling me, You don't owe anyone an explanation. Like, if this is what you want to do, you are free to do that. And what it came down to was prioritizing my happiness. And when I put those two things together, it was exactly what I needed to tell myself to make this big decision and to give myself permission to try something new. It was that I did it. I didn't. Oh, anyone? An explanation for the decisions I was making. And that was okay. So if you're trying to make a big decision in your life right now, or if you have something going on and you're trying to figure out how you're going to explain it to a family member or, you know, whatever it may be, just release that pressure from yourself and know that you don't have to you don't know any one explanation. Go ahead and prioritize your happiness like now. All right. 

[00:04:33] Number two, trust your intuition always, even if that means letting go, starting over and not always having all the answers. I can honestly say that any time I went against what my gut was telling me, it steered me down a path that didn't end up working out. When I lean in to those intuitive hits or gut feeling moments, not to say it's an easy thing, right? It's not like a perfect path, but it typically leads me somewhere that just ends up making sense, even if it doesn't make sense in the beginning. Even if I feel like I don't have all the answers leading into just my intuition, and that gut feeling has always steered me in the right way. So you know what I mean when I say that gut feeling, it's just like this voice in the back of your head or this. Like I feel sick in my stomach sometimes when I'm saying yes to something I shouldn't be or making a decision that just doesn't feel right. Like I literally can feel sick to my stomach sometimes in those moments. And that's that's it for me. It's like, okay, I know I'm feeling this way for a reason that I really, really need to lean in and trust that feeling. 

[00:05:46] Number three. Number three, take the high road. Always. Some people just suck. Stop wasting your energy fighting or trying to prove your point. This applies to a few different areas of my life. Some personal, some business. But I have dealt with some really awful people in my life. And, you know, I always felt like I had to kind of going back to lesson number one, I've always felt like I had to get the last word in or explain why I was fighting a way that I was or trying to prove myself or the point that I was trying to make. And not to say that I have completely let go of this because this is something that is very it's easier said than done, right, to take the high road. But the truth is that when you can let go of just trying to prove your point or trying to sway somebody's opinion from something that they don't agree on, you get your energy back. Like, you're not wasting your energy trying to explain yourself to somebody who's just not going to get it or doesn't want to. You know, and I have had some really difficult moments in my life where I was fighting for something or trying my hardest to make a decision that was right for myself. But for those around me and just have had people really trying to tear me down and the moments where I was able to just kind of let it go and not feel like I had to get the last word in or have to prove my point and just be at peace with knowing that my decision is okay for me. And that's more than enough. And taking that high road again, easier said than done. But ultimately, it just it feels better. It really does. So whatever you're going through right now, if you feel like you're constantly putting all this energy into explaining your side or sharing your side of the story or trying to prove your point to somebody else, whether it's one individual or a group of people, or take the pressure off friend and and save that energy for for something positive. And just sometimes silence is best. No response is okay. And taking that high road is sometimes a lot easier. 

[00:08:11] Number four, success is a feeling, and it has nothing to do with how your life looks. Focus on the feeling has been a new, like affirmation sort of mantra of mine, and it kind of goes back to number two of trusting your intuition. And just when it comes down to decision making and things I've really been telling myself, focus on the feeling. How do you feel right now? How do you want to feel? Really focused on that. And I've never really been like a materialistic type of person, like I'm not a huge money spender or anything, you know, I do buy some clothes here and there, and we are very lucky to have things in our life that we have, but we're not like crazy spenders. So designer bags mean nothing to me. You know, I don't really get my hair and nails done a lot. Like, I just it's just not who I am. That's not to say there's anything wrong with that. It's just, you know, not who I am. So I've never really been, like, materialistic with brand sort of things like that. But how your life looks in general, right? Like a lot of us associate success to that. Like, what kind of car are we driving? How big is our house? What's the number in our bank account? What is our savings look like? You know, And while, of course, all of those things are important to some extent, it's certainly not everything. And this year I really had to redefine what success looked like for me. And it wasn't about growth and building my business to this high level of sales. And having this huge team like that wasn't what success meant to me. And I think that the moment I realized that the success to me was more about a feeling of being more present with my kids and what that feels like to me and being able to take care of myself so I can mentally feel better and just what's the overall feeling I want for my life? And that's to just feel at peace, to feel more calm days than chaotic days. And I really had to reevaluate what that looked like with my time, with my schedule, with my business and everything. And that's kind of when I realized that this vast fashion hustle sort of world, it just didn't align with the slow and simple and peaceful and less chaotic life that I was craving. So to me, success should really be about a feeling versus how your life looks. 

[00:10:40] Number five You have to slow down so you can learn to appreciate all that you have. Instead of chasing what you think you need, you have to slow down so you can learn to appreciate all that you have instead of chasing things that you think you need similar to number four. But what we're. Go, go, go, go, go. Constantly chasing the next goal, constantly trying to grow or constantly trying to reach that next thing or meaning more and more and more. What? Not allowing ourselves to just pause and truly be grateful for all that is around us for all that we already have. A personal example. We are not currently in our forever home. We have hopes and dreams of building a house and having more land. And I personally want to be closer to the water. And you know, we have like this dream house checklist that in my soul, in my heart, in my gut, I know will be a reality for us one day. But that's not to dismiss the fact that our home is perfect for our lives right now. Our home is cozy and full of love and laughter, and it's a house that feels like a home, which is a dream that my husband and I have always had separately and together as a family. So while it may not be our ultimate goal or ultimate dream, but right now we can slow down and just truly be grateful for the walls and the, you know, the roof over our head and the food in our pantry. It's like what we have right now is absolutely enough. And it's more than what we had before when we first got together. We were in an apartment for a little while, then in a townhouse for a little while, and we were bursting at the seams and had no space. And here in this house, this beautiful home that we have, we have plenty of space. Everybody has their own rooms. And, you know, it is more than enough. And if we don't slow down, to appreciate that, to appreciate that what we have is something that we've always wanted and we're constantly looking towards the future and that next goal and that next house, the next home that we want to build for you lose sight of the gratitude that you should be feeling right now. So slowing down to just be grateful and to appreciate all that you currently have in all that you've worked hard for in this moment, whether it's something ginormous or something small, it doesn't matter. We have to slow down enough to be grateful for where we are, for what we've been through and for all that we have around us. 

[00:13:10] Number six Become your own best friend. This has been an interesting journey for me because life as an entrepreneur can be incredibly lonely, and it has felt that way for many, many years. You know, I love my family. I love my friends. I have some incredible business owners that I am connected to and I have people to talk to. But there are still moments when building a business just feels incredibly lonely, like it just does. So I have always just kind of been in my head, honestly, ever since I was like in middle school and high school. Like, I've always just really lived inside of my head. And sometimes, you know, we all do it right. Like we're all constantly talking to ourselves throughout the day. And sometimes those thoughts are negative, sometimes they're positive. But that voice inside of our head really becomes our friend or our enemy. And I've been on this mission to make sure that that voice inside of my head is positive, more than negative. And I really just want to speak to myself in a way that a best friend would. You know, and when I catch myself doubting myself or lacking self-confidence or when imposter syndrome, you know, creeps in and all of that, I just I try to get back to, okay, what would a best friend say? And that's what I want to be for myself. You know, I also think that it's important to recognize that you are not alone and there is help out there if you are feeling really down or really lonely or struggling to be by yourself or with yourself, maybe not necessarily by yourself, but with yourself and with your thoughts, There is no shame in asking for help, my friend. I started back with a therapist about a year and a half ago and it is one of the best things I've ever done for myself. Sometimes I meet with her weekly, sometimes monthly. It just really depends on what's going on in my life and you know what season of life I'm in. But there is help out there and there are people to talk to. So if you're struggling really just to feel happy and feel confident and feel positive in your headspace and around your self, there is no shame in asking for help, my friend. And truly, the journey to becoming your own best friend is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and it's one of the best things that I am doing for myself right now. It's not easy, that's for sure. And there are some days where it's just really, really hard. But I am committed to making my mind sort of this happy, positive place and having resources for myself on the days that it feels less positive. 

[00:15:47] Number seven family is everything. The work that we do inside the walls of our own home is more important than anything. Oh, that one makes me truly want to cry. And when I say family, I know that there's different types of families. Family to you may not necessarily be blood related. You know, you may not be close with blood relatives, family. You could be close friends who have become family or best. Friends who have become family. For me personally, it's my immediate family. It's my husband and our three children. And what we do and what we teach and the values we instill with them inside of the walls of our home is so important to me because we want to raise kind, independent, strong, respectful children. And, you know, that really starts here in our house and our marriage and how we treat each other and how the kids see us love each other and loving them. And the conversations that we have and the questions that we're asking and the routines that we create like that is so important. And that has really been our top priority over this last year especially is just really, really being present for each other and being aware of everything that's happening in side of our home. 

[00:17:08] Number eight. Life can be so difficult, but it can also be quite simple. We get to choose what we focus our time and energy on, and this can apply to all of the lessons that I've already mentioned, right? But we tend to overcomplicate a lot of things within our lives, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you're anything like me, you have a to do list that's like ten miles long. And, you know, it always feels like there's something going on or something happens. Or if you're an entrepreneur or business owner, you know, the ideas sometimes are just totally endless and we can overcomplicate things and get frustrated or overwhelmed. And really we have the power to let some of that stuff go to re prioritize our to do list, to take things off of the to do list if we need to, you know, to create routines within our lives or habits within our daily lives that will make things easier for us. Going back to asking for help, this could be something within your your life if there's something you need help with. I love my husband to death, but sometimes when I need help, I just have to ask him. You know, he can't read my mind. But if there's a day where I'm struggling last week, for example, I was just totally overwhelmed and I needed a few hours after school to really finish out my workday. And what I usually do is just like, tough it out, handle dinner, do my thing, whatever, and he's fine. He doesn't realize what I have going on or that I'm feeling overwhelmed. But I simply asked him last week, I was like, Look, babe, I need a few hours after school of just a quiet house so I can finish up my work day because I'm feeling overwhelmed. Can you take the kids out of the house or whatever for a little bit? And he did. Took them over to my parent's house. They ran around. It was a beautiful day. They got to be outside with some fresh air, Have fun, be kids. See, my parents, they had a blast, you know, and I was able to go for a quiet walk, go to the grocery store and finish up my day. So that way, when they came back into the house, I felt less stressed out and like I was able to accomplish a few things throughout the day. So if I were to ask for that help, it would have never happened and I would have let into the evening feeling overwhelmed and not as present for the kids and not able to get some extra things done. So life was difficult. Life is chaotic, It just is. And there are certain seasons that are more chaotic than others. But it can also be quite simple. And sometimes it's a matter of asking for help, but then also choosing what we focus our time and energy on. And if we're choosing to stay in this overwhelmed, chaotic state, we're never going to get out of it. So pause for a minute and just look at your schedule. Look at what feels stressful or chaotic or overwhelming, and ask yourself, how can you choose to just shift this energy here and make it a bit more simple for you? 

[00:20:00] Number nine, you are not stuck. Not everyone will understand your decisions or the changes you need to make. And guess what that is. O k Going back to number one. Lesson number one, you don't owe anyone an explanation for prioritizing your happiness. You don't need to explain yourself. Not everyone's going to understand and that's okay. You know, sometimes we're explaining ourselves to the wrong people and then we get feedback that we never wanted when really we just didn't need to share. Right? You are not stuck this life that you're building for yourself. If something feels off, you have the power to change it. And I know sometimes we have factors like money, of course. Time, of course. Busy schedule. Of course. I get it, guys. Trust me, I get it. And it can be really terrifying to take a leap of faith or to try something new or starting over. Whether it's a career relationship, whatever it may be. All of the above I've done. I left a toxic marriage. I left a successful business that I built, and I have chosen to start over, you know, am now. I'm on a path of just kind of healing em and loving myself and figuring out what else I'm good at. And I have a healthy marriage now, and, you know, these things wouldn't have happened for me or wouldn't be happening for me if I if I didn't have that moment of, okay, I'm not stuck in this situation. I have the power to change the situation. You have the power to change the situation that you're in. Is it going to be easy? Hell, no. It's not going to be easy. Nothing is easy when it comes to making big changes and big decisions. But you are not stuck. You are not stuck in this situation. I believe in you believe in yourself enough to make just one step forward, one step forward in a different direction. Then that moves you out of this, this situation that you feel stuck in. All right. 

[00:22:04] Number ten is a little bit lighter and sillier, but number ten is that I have a strong love hate relationship with social media. I am so grateful that it keeps me connected to all of you because since closing the boutique that has been, you know, one of the biggest things that I have missed is just seeing my customers who became friends in person so often. But I am so glad that social media keeps me connected to you. I am so glad that social media allows me to have a career of working from home and helping other business owners. I'm a social media manager and business coach at the moment and I am helping other business owners build their communities on social media and I'm so grateful that I am able to do that and call that my job or whatever. But I. I also see the comparison game that happens on social media and the highlight reels that are posted. And you guys, I pick and choose what I want to share too, you know? So my feed seems all like hair done, makeup done, giving solid advice, sharing, you know, family photos, whatever. But you know, it's not to say that I don't have messy hair days or stressful days or my kids don't drive me crazy every now and then that my husband and I don't bicker or like, you know, we get to pick and choose what we put out there. And I think just this comparison game of like, oh my goodness, if her life looks like that and mine's like this, what am I doing wrong? Or, well, her body looks amazing when really she's like, sucking it in, hiding it all behind the yoga leggings. Like, there's nothing wrong with that. It's just we only see little glimpses of people's lives, and yet we get stuck in this comparison game. And. And that's when the imposter syndrome and the self-doubt and lack of confidence start start to creep in. I think there's definitely an addiction when it comes to social media. The scrolling, I think we we all need a good reality check when it comes to screen time, not just for our children, but for ourselves. You know, it worries me with just like the social aspect of I've had this happen many times in my life where I can have conversations with random people that are local to me through DMS or through comments or whatever. And then when I see them in person and I'm like, Hey, do that. And the conversation is not the same, I'm like, This is awkward. We were just talking last week on Instagram messages and now you're not acting like you're acting like you don't know me. Yeah, that's a whole other conversation. But the social aspect of it worries me. But truly, I am ultimately grateful for social media because it was the reason my boutique did so well. It was the reason I was able to build such a strong, amazing, loyal community and following. And it's the reason that I'm still able to work today and work from home and build a client base that I'm feeling really passionate about and excited to help other, you know, entrepreneurs and business owners. And most importantly, it keeps me connected to all of you. So I am grateful for it. It's just it's just a love hate relationship, you know? It really is. 

[00:25:08] But this year has really taught me to just slow down and be present and be grateful and allow myself to reflect and just be proud of all that I've done, all that I've been through of who I am. I do. I love my life. I love my husband. I love our home. I love our three beautiful children who right now are just the happiest that they've ever been, which is saying so much for all that we've been through as a family. And I just I feel so grateful in this moment. I feel so thankful for all of your support for always sticking with all of my crazy ideas and following my journey now in the past and wherever it may lead me, I just I feel I know I'm being called to a greater purpose. I'm not entirely sure what that purpose is or what that means just yet, but it feels so freaking good to just be. Free to just be free of expectations, of pressure that I've put on myself, or to be honest, to be free of the walls of the boutique. Like I felt like I was contained in this space for so long. And I'm so proud of the business that I've built. But I feel free to just be me and to be myself and to allow myself to try new things, to give myself permission, to see what else I'm good at and see where this journey takes me. And I truly hope that in 2023 that you feel the courage and the confidence to be free for yourself, to be free to be whatever you need to be in 2023. As cheesy as that sounds, it works. Oh, I hope you guys enjoy this episode. If there was one lesson that really stuck with you, can you please share it with me? Message me on Instagram. I would love to chat further with you there. If you're listening to this episode and you found it helpful, reviews mean so much to me. It only takes a second to leave a review. And you guys, I hope you have an amazing day. Share this episode with somebody who you think may need it and stay tuned because I'm back and we've got more episodes coming your way. We'll talk to you soon. 

[00:27:33] Hey, friend, real quick, I would love to stay connected through Instagram. You can follow me at more than Nicole J. When you get a chance, would you mind leaving a review? These reviews are so helpful for a podcast like mine. If you leave a review, send me a screenshot on Instagram when you do so I can personally Thank you. And one last thing your friendly reminder you get to choose what type of mood you want to be in. And today I hope you choose happy.

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