Lessons Learned

kristina leonardi
4 min readOct 11, 2022

When you step back and see the tough stuff as gifts for growth

Photo credit: Kristina Leonardi /Affirmation from her book Say It To Make It: Affirmations to Empower the Heart, Mind, Spirit and Soul

There are times when we go through cycles where it seems like a never-ending parade of challenges, frustrations, delays and/or breakdowns of machinery, technology, communication, relationships and scheduling, and/or the feeling of being anxious, unfulfilled or stuck in general.

If you are like many of my clients, friends, and people I see on social media, the past month has brought us several of these moments (interspersed with some beautiful and enjoyable ones, at least for me!). As annoying as it can be to hear or remember this while you are in the midst of it, these situations are opportunities for growth, and therefore can be our teachers in big and small ways.

Whether those come in the form of a person, place or thing — like a massive storm (literal or emotional) — we are sometimes given very difficult and painful lessons, often only in hindsight, that make us stronger and better, more patient, loving and forgiving to ourselves, and thus to others. (Please note: I hope that any of you and your loved ones who were or may still be impacted by Hurricane Ian are safe and doing as well as can be.)

Because I too go through all this, I generally practice what I preach. But these last few weeks I’ve become even more disciplined and observant about how I am relating to/talking to myself in the process of the unpleasantness, and it’s been a productive (but not easy or fun …) exercise in deepening my self-love and connection to myself, and how I can stand more in that regardless of the external situation.

This takes conscious time and effort, self-reflection, and a willingness to be super-honest with yourself.

Those are always the biggest leaps for me, so I am ultimately grateful for all the annoying and crunchy episodes that help me grow — because like every human, I am a work in progress and continue to learn and practice how to navigate life with more wisdom, grace and ease.

We must simply accept that the tough/uncomfortable stuff is a necessary part of that journey … Just make sure that when you are in a period of going to the mattresses with yourself or others, you are balancing all that inner work with lots of naps, laughter, tears, deep breaths, movement, fresh air and sunshine!

If you are looking for more support along your personal growth journey, check out October’s CONNECTING WITH KRISTINA online gathering. Thanks to everyone who attended September’s, where the topic was BALANCE. You can see some clips here with more to come on IG and YouTube, so be sure to follow or subscribe if you haven’t already ;) Scroll down or click here for info about this and past gatherings.

And another resource to help you navigate life in a positive way is my book Say It To Make It: Affirmations to Empower the Heart, Mind, Spirit and Soul! Check out this video with some of the folks who have it, and read additional reviews and purchase on Amazon here. If you have a copy — thank you! — and please consider writing a review and/or posting on social media with the hashtag #sayittomakeit. Click here for all the IG posts so far, and scroll down to learn more and read what others are saying.

For related thoughts on these topics, read my essays An Apple for the Teacher and The Heat Is On/Under Pressure.



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Click here to learn more about Kristina Leonardi coaching and other services.


Kristina Leonardi is a nationally recognized career and life coach, speaker and author who for over 15 years has empowered individuals to make lasting professional and personal changes aligned with their true passions and talents while fulfilling their role in the world at large.With a holistic and personal growth-oriented approach, she has helped hundreds of men and women over the past decade improve their job performance, enter or re-enter the job force, change careers, better manage their time and stress, and live happier, more meaningful, balanced lives. Her specialty is working with people who feel stuck or are in transition and can help you clarify exactly what you want to do, identify blocks, issues, and patterns in your way, and offer proven ideas, resources, and action steps to get you there.

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kristina leonardi

Speaker,Coach,Writer.Very Tall. Expertise:People. All kinds, what makes 'em tick, how they fit into the world, how they can best connect to themselves + others.