8 life lessons, gracefully learned – advice for my younger self



–This is a guest post from Tracy Matthews–


A few weeks ago, the lovely Marthe and I sat down to lunch in NYC.  We have become fast friends and I was honored that she asked me to write for her. She is such an amazing writer and a huge inspiration to me and to all of those who cross her path.

Marthe and I were talking about advice and mentoring. I have a hidden talent for helping others see their OWN brilliance and clearly pointing out where they shine.

This is probably one of the main reasons I enjoy mentoring women. It is so fulfilling!

We circled back for a bit and she asked me a few questions about my path. Like everyone’s path, it is uniquely mine. I have a great life! However, even though it is full of successes, it has also been marred by painful failure and loss.

When I sat down to write a note of advice to my younger self I found myself a little stumped. This is particularly humorous because I give advice to other people all of the time… But looking back I can definitely pick out a few situations I could have handled a little better. If I had a chance to chat with a younger Tracy Matthews, this is what I would tell her:

Failure is the best thing that can ever happen to you

Failures… I have had a few. Well, more like a lot! And you will too. Failure can appear and feel devastating in the moment. After coming out on the other side of some of the big ones (a failed marriage and the failure of my first business) I know that failure is a blessing in disguise so long as you see the lesson and use it for growth.

How can that be true? When something doesn’t work out for you – it’s not serving your highest purpose in this life! Failure is also an opportunity to reinvent yourself and create something better.

Love yourself first

When I was younger, I loved other people more than I loved myself. I fell in love, got married and wanted to do anything I could to make it work. When I lost him, I couldn’t breathe.

My life lesson in love was learned at the age of 30. You must love yourself more than anyone else. When you do, you start attracting everything you desire. The most important thing: loving yourself first is the key to Happiness.

Trust your gut

You intuition always knows best. Enough said.

Fear is your friend

When I look back to the times in my life that I was on the verge of something big, I remember being terrified. It’s true. When we are afraid (unless we are in imminent danger), there is something inside of us that KNOWS that we are onto something bigger.

There is a great quote:

“Fear is excitement without the breath.”
~ Fritz Perls & Robert Heller (it’s attributed to both)

Fear is the platform from which my biggest milestones and successes have been born. Embrace it and the opportunity that comes with it.

Breathe Deeply

I still struggle with this on occasion. Let’s take a look at the above. There is something powerful about breathing. It releases anxiety, calms the central nervous system and turns fear into excitement. All from the simple, natural task of taking a deep breath.

All those people meditation and practicing yoga are on to something. Breathing makes everything better.

Beauty comes from the INSIDE only!

As a teenager, I battled with severe body image issues that led to anorexia, bulimia and over-exercising for years. One of the things I have realized as I have come into my own is that the external stuff really doesn’t matter.

Being an excellent, healthy helpful and loving human being is much more beautiful than just looking good. When you focus on the inside, the outside starts to shine.

Take a lot of Risks

I am not talking about throwing down all your money down in a game of craps, but if you want your dreams to come true you have to take a chance. A risk.

All of my biggest achievements have come out of incredible risks. Anything worth having requires taking a risk.

Although it seems counterintuitive, the biggest risks are the ones that create the most amazing outcomes. Remember, despite the possibility of failure, you won’t even have a chance unless you take the first step into what seems “risky.”

Make sure you tell your mother you love her

I wish I would have told her “I loved you” more. She died nearly 20 years ago when I was a young woman. You never know when your loved ones are going to leave you. Honor every moment you have with them.

If I had known “then” what I know “now,” I probably wouldn’t have worried as much or spent so much time focusing on my fears.

What advice do you have to give yourself today?


Tracy Matthews is a multi-passionate entrepreneur: a jewelry designer, a mentor and a yoga instructor. She loves working with women to help them find their hidden (or blatant) potential as jewelry designers, artists and creative beings. Her most recent passion is teaching jewelry designers everything she needed to know when she was just starting out. She lives, works and plays in NYC.

Website | @flourish_thrive | @tracymatthewsny |Facebook


ps. Tracy is very soon launching a new business coaching program for jewelry designers. I’m not even a designer, and I’ve learned a ton from Tracy already! Check it out!


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy Matthews September 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Marthe, Thanks so much for having me! Loved writing for you!

xo, Tracy


Marthe September 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Thank YOU for giving me all this super advice!!


Courtney @educatedderelicts September 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Such a great post! I’ve always been pretty good at coming to terms with myself and my own needs before trying to fit anyone else into my life, but I really needed to hear the “trust your gut” point. It’s nice to have someone else confirm what you know but won’t acknowledge.
And the quote is fantastic!


Marthe September 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Thank you for commenting, Courtney! I think we all need to hear “trust your gut” from time to time. It’s so hard to forget and yet so, so important.


Tracy Matthews September 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm

courtney,yes trusting your gut is so important. Easy to forget sometimes!

thanks for your comment, Tracy


Katherine September 5, 2012 at 9:06 am

Such a beautiful, honest post! I definitely agree with all of it.


Marthe September 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm

On behalf of Tracy, thank you so much! :)


Tracy Matthews September 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Thank you Katherine!


cindy@yogainmypocket September 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

So beautiful. I am sending it onto my teen daughters, and taking it in myself. Love your writing, thank you Tracy,


Yvette Syversen | Business Leverage Expert September 6, 2012 at 2:10 am

Beautiful post, Tracy!
Ditto on all the things you mentioned especially the advice of trusting our inner voices!

What advice do you have to give yourself today?
Live in the present moment at all times and enjoy the journey to the max!


Mercedes September 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Thank you for your beautiful wise words Tracy. You’ve touched my heart today.
I’m looking forward to read more of your blog posts.


Simone September 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Great post! All wonderful words to live by, thanks for sharing.


M. September 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I find this post really heartwarming. Simple things, but we tend to forget about implementing them into our lives. And the older I get, the truer seems to be the point “love yourself first”.


Lindsey September 25, 2012 at 3:03 am

So much wisdom here. Thank you, thank you. I’m still learning so many of these. xox


Nando December 16, 2013 at 7:10 am

Great article!!


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