Happy New Year to you! 2015 has been an amazing year for me. It wasn’t all roses as like you I faced my fair share of challenges and setbacks. I shed some tears, as I was reminded, taught, and re-learnt really important life lessons. But most importantly, I survived and thrived in 2015 beyond my wildest dreams. I passed the many tests and jumped the hurdles that were put in my way and came to the end of 2015 stronger and surprisingly having achieved some incredible things during the year.
I thought I would share 10 of my most profound lessons from 2015:
- Everyday of good health is a gift – Don’t take it for granted. Use it wisely and stop squandering the biggest opportunity you have. This was a lesson that was brought home when I was on the verge of losing a child and was bed bound through a significant part of 2015. I learnt during this time that every day is precious and the people in our lives are even more precious than the work we do. As several family members gathered around me to support me during this period I was reminded that there are no guarantees in this life. Don’t waste another second because you don’t know what is around the corner.
- Stay in your lane – Stay in your lane and focus on areas where you are irreplaceable. Stop doing things and filling up your schedule with activities and projects just because they sound like a good idea but where you know you’ll never make as huge an impact as you would in areas where you have a natural gift or inclination. You will never make an impact copying others and losing yourself and your authenticity in the process. I picked this up from Oprah Winfrey. She said she wasn’t afraid of new challenges in her business because she knew to stay in her lane. She knows her industry inside out and has been focused on developing her work in that single lane. See where it got her.
- You are not missing out – Stop taking on too much because you are afraid of missing out. Overcome the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) and learn to say NO more often. Before you commit to a project in 2016, ask yourself if it’s a project that excites you 110% or just something that you feel you should do. If your excitement or enthusiasm is less than 100% then say NO and reserve your time for those things that excite you and will get you jumping out of bed! When you say no to more things, you’ll start to create space and more importantly, this habit will ensure that you leave room in your life to experiment with those ideas that excite you. You don’t need a million good ideas to make it to greatness, just one fantastic well executed one is all it takes. Over commitment leads to distraction, overwhelm and anxiety.
- Write – I stopped writing in 2015 and learnt that I need to keep writing. It wasn’t one event that made me stop. It was a series of events but the most important one was a comment I read on one of my blogs and it kept playing like a loop in my head. What was I doing allowing one negative comment to crowd out all the positive comments I had and was still receiving about the content that I share. My business started through writing. It created most of my opportunities and is the one thing that seems to have a lasting impact on the greatest number of people. It’s the thing that people mention the most when I first meet them. Yet in 2015 I got so busy I stopped. I’ve restarted.
- Read – I stopped reading books as well! I read a lot of articles and magazine but not as many books. I learnt that I needed to read to keep generating new ideas and to be creative. Reading is how I fill my brain with ideas and get inspired to generate more of my own. I learnt the most from books. It’s the one habit that has brought me the furthest, yet I stopped. Know what inspires you, what propels you forward and never stop doing it. No matter how busy you are. Make time for it.
- Make time – Make time to create headspace and to sharpen your sword. You need headspace to revisit and reset your priorities. You need time to develop new ideas, to try them and to connect the dots in your life and business. Protect your quality of life, there is no balance when you run your own business but create boundaries so you have proper downtime . Once you reach a level of success, the thing that will kill you isn’t always lack of opportunity but over commitment to new exciting opportunities! These “opportunities” will inevitably drain you of energy and enthusiasm.
- People – when it comes to people, the lessons were numerous and enough for another blog post. I’m constantly reminded of Maya Angelou’s quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. I will continue to pay attention to the people in my life and really notice when they show me their true colours the first time they do.
- Show empathy – Don’t let your inability to deal with sadness stop you from being there for others. I experienced great personal loss in 2015 and was shocked by people’s response. I received the most consolation from complete strangers. People who stopped to acknowledge what had happened, just a word, a flower or a touch was all that was needed. I feel so grateful for the people who did, particularly those I work with, clients, suppliers and colleagues who stepped out of their comfort zone to reach out to me at this difficult time. I feel indebted to them and will do my best to be there for them too. Well, I learnt that my Christmas card/gift list needs to be far shorter than it currently is.
- Be cheeky and just ask – I created a lot of opportunities just by cheekily asking for things. The truth is that people don’t know what you want until you ask for it. I did a lot of asking in 2015 and was rewarded for it. Nobody minds a bit of cheek!
- Worry less – 2015 reminded me that worrying is a futile activity. It doesn’t change anything. Do your best for now and make the best decisions based on the information your have and trust that things will work out. They have done for me or not panned out as badly as I feared. There has truly been a silver lining in each cloud.
2016 will be another success but most importantly, we need to enjoy the journey!
“It makes no difference how many peaks you reach if there is no pleasure in the climb”. – Oprah Winfrey.
To an amazing new year!