This past year was so full of things, of ups and downs, of thrills and disappointments, it’s kind of hard to make a balance of it all, but at the end of the day, I think the good far outweighed the bad, even if the bad was pretty awful.
All in all, this year taught me a lot, so I want to share some of the lessons learned in case they resonate with anyone and help you at all with whatever you’re going through.
1. Trust your gut.
If things don’t feel right, there’s probably something off. If I had admitted this to myself before letting so many things escalate and allowed people to stampede over me, I would have saved my poor heart a lot of ache. If you’re not happy about a situation, stop for a minute and try to pinpoint the problem. There is sure to be a problem somewhere.
2. Try not to rely too much on others.
This was a hard lesson to learn. Both personally and professionally. Personally, I learned that it’s perfectly fine to do things on your own. Yes, even going to the movies. Sometimes other people just aren’t on the same page and if you feel they’re slowing or dragging you down, you’ll end up resenting them, so don’t allow this to happen. Professionally, well, just be careful of who you consider allies. Often times, people are just using you and being nice about it. Be very discerning about those you categorize as mentors, because they might be just bosses.
3. Don’t let other people drag you down.
I once read somewhere that you are the sum of the people around you, so you need to be careful who you surround yourself with. I don’t really thing you are the “sum” of anything other than your experiences and beliefs, but I do think people around you have a greater influence on us than we care to admit. Surround yourself with positive people going places. Yes, those motivated and with clear goals. In the same line of thinking, be aware of those surrounding you at work. Try to work only with people you admire and respect whenever possible, and make sure those higher in the power pyramid see your future in the same way you do. It’s the only way they can help you get there. If your boss thinks you’re just a secretary, go elsewhere. That person will only get in your way as you try to build your path to CEO.
4. It’s okay to say no and stand up for yourself.
If you feel someone is treating you unfairly, stand up and say “enough”. If someone is trying to screw you at work, stand up and say “enough”. You don’t have to take anyone’s crap, no matter how important or powerful they might think they are.
5. Change is good.
Don’t underestimate the value of new beginnings. Change and new air is all you need sometimes. You need an end in order to get a new beginning, but that is very often the best that can happen to you.
6. Your work is important.
I’m often appalled by people in my industry. There, I said it. So many people only care about the money and you know what? There is some serious responsibility needed in media these days. Your work matters. No matter how small you show or book is, someone out there is watching and reading and you are sending a message. Be RESPONSIBLE about that message. Make sure it’s a message that makes the world a better place.
7. Believe in yourself.
Those that try to bring you down are often insecure, scared and trying to dim your light. You have a lot to offer. Believe it. Don’t let others put you in the shadow because of your own insecurities. Like Taylor Swift says “people throw rocks at things that shine”, so if someone is trying to keep you down, they probably feel threatened. There is a reason for that.
8. Trust that sometimes things do happen for a reason.
I cried and got depressed for a while. All because some people I trusted and cared about basically stabbed me in the back. I felt betrayed, unappreciated, and like so much had been taken away from me. All my hard work had been for nothing, it seemed. But you know what? Sometimes life has better surprises in store for you than you can even imagine. I lost a job, but gained a dream and re-found myself. I didn’t deserve the awful treatment I got, so life and the universe reseted the balance by blessing me in unimaginable ways.
9. Dreams do come true.
If you had told me last year that this would be the year I would get to study and LIVE in London (city of my dreams!), I would have laughed in your face. I had no plan for that, no hope for it. And yet, somehow, losing a job made me look around, try to see what options were out there for me, and there it was. Life just put it in my path because that is what I needed at that time.
10. Keep on hustling.
Going to London had a lot to do with serendipity, but also a lot to do with preparation. I am good at what I do and that is only because I have been preparing and working towards my dreams my whole life. You just need to keep moving and doing good work. Eventually the universe will reward you for it.
Here’s to an amazing 2015!