6 lessons learned in 2017
This past year was one of immense change, incredible challenges and (hopefully) some impactful lessons. Before setting resolutions for 2018, I wanted to look back at some learnings from 2017. Both personally and professionally, there was growth centered around these six ideas.
say "yes" to vulnerability
A buzz word of sorts, we're hearing more about being vulnerable thanks to inspirational women like Brené Brown. It's only this year that I feel I've really begun opening myself up beyond my close family and friends in the way Brené teaches. So whether it's recording silly Instagram Stories as updates on the mundane happenings of my day, or finally publishing this blog, putting myself 'out there' has helped foster a renewed sense of self.
While sharing these personal tidbits may be misinterpreted as being self-involved, it's more of a forced confidence I have to coax myself into, over and over again. Yet, each time I post something vulnerable (aka a personal peek into my life that incites a cringe when pressing "share"), a simultaneous sense of relief washes over me. It's almost as if I'm shedding layers that are helping to reveal my authenticity, first and foremost, to myself.
have friends who are more like family
Friendships evolve as we navigate through different chapters of our life. And diving into the next stage of my career (in a new state) meant that I was going to have to build a support system to help me thrive in this phase of the unknown. Fortunately, I am certain that my path led to this place so that I could meet some incredible humans.
I am so lucky to have found a soul sister in NJ in my bestie, Lianna. After getting to know each other quite well outside of work, we became running partners and took on NYC Marathon training together. And when I wasn't ready to commit to another 12-month lease this fall, she and her husband, Chris, welcomed me into their home as if it were no big deal. Now the #squad makes me wonder what I did without them in my life?
be your own biggest advocate
Okay, so this may sound super lame, but if there's one thing I've discovered in 2017, it's to cheer yourself on in this crazy thing we call life. I have to work every day to quiet negative self-talk and replace it with positivity. This year has been really challenging on an emotional level, but I've found that in the moments I don't succumb to shame, guilt or self-doubt and instead look to gratitude and joy, I can get by a bit better.
Beyond the mental game, self-advocacy extents into how you interact with those around you. It's about putting your best foot forward and communicating your intentions as clearly as possible. Particularly in the workplace, voicing what you're after can make a world of difference. While I still have a long way to come in terms of finding the right balance in this area, it practically goes without saying that if you don't ask for what you want, it's not getting handed to you on a silver platter. So speak up for what you're after!
trust your gut
It's human nature to overthink changes to the course of our careers and relationships. We're taught not to take such decisions lightly, and while I certainly don't think it's wise to make life-altering choices on a whim, there's something to be said for trusting your instincts. Whether personally or professionally, I believe that the answer always lies within. Quieting the noise around us and listening to our inner voice is often all it takes to make the toughest of choices.
I didn't create this blog as a personal journal, so sharing anything about my breakup with my long-term [and long-distance] boyfriend feels too deep. But I will say that despite everything, people who truly care about you will support your choices no matter what. Not to mention that beyond life-altering ones, there are spontaneous decisions that can even lead to some fun! For instance, I booked a trip to Vienna on eight days notice in December because my gut told me I needed to go, and it was one of my best judgments all year.
challenge your limits
Living an ordinary life is simple; we could all just wake up, go to work, come home and do it again the next day. But I've always wanted something more. So when it came to running the NYC Marathon, it was just as much about the challenge of six months of training as it was about finish line. The early wakeups, sacrificed nights out and tough physical regime showed me that with grit and determination, the limits my body and mind were all mental.
This coming year, I want to challenge not only my physical limits but my creative ones, too. I launched this blog a bit haphazardly, but I'm looking forward to pushing myself to write more in 2018. Beyond writing, I have a feeling that I'll be pursuing some other entrepreneurial ventures, too. No matter what, I look forward to learning about things that excite me to challenge my limits.
do. the. work.
The last lesson of 2017 is as simple as putting in the work. Cutting corners and taking the easy way out is often tempting, but I find that I'm most fulfilled when I really put in the time to live my best life. Whether it comes to exercise, eating healthy and having productive days at the office, I always feel like the best version of myself when I do the work.
My vision for what life should look like in 5, 10 or even 20 years won't be realized with complacency. So while self-awareness of my shortcomings (one being execution) is the first step, actually getting myself to put in the time required to achieve my goals is what I'm striving for these days. In 2018, I'll be laser-focused on making sure every moment counts.