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10 lessons I learned as a Grow Your Value finalist

Grow Your Value finalist Gabrielle Pelicci shares what she learned at DC's Know Your Value, part of a nationwide movement to empower women in the workplace.

A professor and practitioner of holistic health, Gabrielle Pelicci of Bronx, N.Y. devotes her life to teaching and therapy so that her students and clients can thrive. Last month, she competed in the Grow Your Value bonus competition in Washington, DC - part of the nationwide Know Your Value movement to empower women in the workplace.

1. Hard work doesn’t entitle me to success: I had a nasty little weed of expectation, which was: if I work hard, I deserve to be successful. But everyone else I know is also working hard, accomplishing amazing things, and doing good in the world – and they often go unrecognized. Just because I’m working hard doesn’t mean that I am entitled to recognition, compensation, validation and so on.

2. My inner critic will never shut up: Sometimes I can hardly believe that I am 40 years old and I still have an inner voice that is yelling at me, criticizing me and giving me a hard time. Just because she won’t shut up, doesn’t mean I have to listen to her.

3. Life goes really high up and really low down: Less than a year ago, I attended my father’s funeral. I also lost a romantic relationship, a good job and had a severely ill pet. Now I’m being celebrated on national TV and doted on like a celebrity. I can’t get too attached to the high or too bummed about the low because that’s just how it goes.

4. I need to own who I am: I am a bohemian, hippie chick with six tattoos and a PhD. I live on an old sailboat and spend too much money to get my hair done. I am dorky, nerdy and goofy. I can be a real diva. This is me. Nobody has got it all figured out. We are all just limping along, imperfectly imperfect, trying to do the best we can.

5. Don’t ‘be good,’ be you: Forget the rules. Be yourself.

6. Too much success means loss of soul: I’ve made choices to be less successful so I could be healthier. And it wasn’t always easy because I am super ambitious. I made the choice to push less so could tend to my inner world and cultivate some quiet, private time that I needed for healing and growth.

7. Control is an illusion: If I get too attached to outcomes and too worried about why things didn’t turn out the way that I intended (even though I prayed and meditated and prepared and planned), then, again, I am undermining my happiness.

8. If something is not working, it’s my fault: Even when I can list 1,000 reasons why the odds are stacked against me, why the world is unfair, why I am at a disadvantage, I still undermine my happiness if I don’t figure out how I am contributing to the situation.

9. Self-care is my greatest strength: If I am not taking care of myself, I am not taking care of my life. I need to be joyful so I can share that joy with others. I need to be healthy so I can share that health with others. I need to be vibrant so I can share that light with others. My oxygen mask goes on first, and then I hand out as many other masks as I want.

10. It’s all about being grateful: The further away I am from grateful, the further away I am from joy. Gratitude is the 'true north' that keeps me on track to where I am supposed to be.

This is an abbreviated version of the original post which can be found here. You can check out a video of Washington, D.C.’s Grow Your Value bonus competition.