It’s that time of the year again. It’s the last month before 2018 and “new year new me” spirit is in the air. This year has been the year of hustle, transition, and new beginnings for me. If I if I let you start your 2018 without sharing my slip ups and findings, it’d be like knowing there was a ditch down the road and not letting you know.
Here are 8 lessons I learned in 2017:
1. If you’re scared to do something, you better do it.
I went on a month long retreat to Costa Rica with 10 girls I had never met. I remember being hesitant and judging myself like crazy before going. Mr. Fear repeatedly told me: “You don’t have to feel uncomfortable, just go with someone you know!” Deep down inside I knew if I gave in to fear I would miss out on something big. The retreat was one of the most transformational months of my life. I not only made new friends, but I also discovered a side of me I was never aware of. Beyond fear exists massive self growth, so always opt in when you’re scared.
2. Pain is not meant to be subdued. Pain is meant to be accepted and understood.
I did long distance with my boyfriend for 3 years and each day felt just as heavy as the first time we parted ways. I never accepted the pain of being apart and always ignored it because I thought it was weak of me to hurt so much. Eventually this pain built up and I exploded in tears one day. Instead of denying my tears, I welcomed them and accepted the heavy feelings. I felt liberated and shifted the way I experienced pain moving forward. Pain was not there to hurt me, it was there to remind me of the love I had for my boyfriend (in this case). Understand what your pain means and you’ll be less afraid to welcome it.
3. Don’t chase numbers – chase feelings.
I took my fitness and wellness to new heights this year. Yes, I calorie-counted and measured every meal to make sure I wasn’t going overboard. I’m guilty. I’ll tell you that is NOT what transformed my fitness. What took my fitness to new heights was discovering the real reason I went to the gym 6 days a week and ate right: it gave me confidence and reduced my anxiety. Once I realized my passion for fitness was much deeper than a numbers’ game, I threw my measuring scale out the window and focused on the real problems my workouts were solving. Feelings trump numbers.
4. If you don’t believe in your cause, no one ever will.
I launched a week long summit dedicated to helping men and women get over their heartbreaks. Looking back, it would have performed better if I believed in it. I had nights where I woke up and questioned if my summit was actually helping people with their breakups. When I spoke to people about this summit, there was so much positive feedback. Nevertheless I continued to have wavering belief. The launch went well, but it would have been bigger if I had not doubted the mission behind my summit. You are the biggest horse you can bet on. Believe in yourself, or no one else will.
5. You’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with. Books and podcasts count as people.
There was a point during this year where I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel – stuck in the same place, hearing the same advice. I needed refreshing perspectives so I could reset my own. I started reading self help books and listening to podcasts before and after work. Today I am indebted to these books and podcasts for inspiring actions and decisions that I would never imagined myself taking (in a good way). Books and podcasts can count as people when you don’t have the right people to talk to immediately.
6. Rejection is rough but not knowing is brutal.
I was scared to share my writing with the universe because I was scared of people criticizing and rejecting my writing. If I never talked myself into sharing my writing, I would have never known that my writing would actually help dozens of women and Thought Catalog would share my pieces to thousands of more viewers. Often we’re our worst critic, but things surprisingly work out in our benefit when we take a chance on ourselves. Even if they don’t, now you know :)
7. Always question what is best for you.
My parents always wanted what was “best” for me. The truth is, these things weren’t “best” for ME. It was what society dubbed “best.” I was told it was “best” for me to chase a career with math or science. I was told the “best” time for me to get married is my mid 20s. I was told it’s “best” not to go against what my elderly say. As I grow older, I question the advice society gives me. If the answer to my choice is “it’s what I was told is best,” I have some digging and re-thinking to do. Truth is, doing what’s “best” is not always doing what’s best for YOU.
8. Side hustle is better than no hustle.
4 years ago I gave up writing because my writing job wasn’t paying me enough. I joined an IT firm which involved me looking at excel sheets and analyzing numbers all day until my eyes fell out of my sockets. The job paid me well, so I stayed. I used the money I earned and invested in becoming my best self. I went back to writing – I spent my time outside of work building a blog and doing work that fulfilled me. If you can’t afford your full time hustle right now, it’s totally ok to side hustle until you can turn it into full time. Side hustle is better than no hustle.