At the end of December, I sat down and started listing out the things I achieved in each month for 2017. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and see how far you’ve come. It’s also a great reminder that things need time to grow, as well as the fact that moments, good and bad, are never permanent so you make the most of whatever is in front of you as a blessing or a learning – one year makes a big difference.
As I was about to post a list of the things I’ve done in the past year, I realised that my happiness and success wasn’t from the actual achievements – but from various thoughts, decisions, attitudes and insights that I encountered or developed along the way. So I could start listing out all the talks I’ve done, the clients I’ve worked with, the cool new places I’ve travelled to, but they wouldn’t mean much for you – and whoever you are, I genuinely want you to think, feel and do better in 2018 so you can ultimately be happy in all areas of your life.
Here’s what I learnt.
Give new things a try with an open heart and mind. Don’t overthink it. Missed opportunities come from thinking “what if it doesn’t work out?” when you have no idea how it will turn out. Because of this, I’ve been lucky to work with brands and businesses I never dreamed of and I’ve learnt SO MUCH about new industries, how other businesses work, and the more new things you try – the better you are at learning and taking on even more opportunities. Good things don’t come to those who wait. Every time I walk through one door, three more doors open in some kind of way.
Failure is never permanent. Sometimes, things don’t work out and that’s OK. The important part is that you learn from it and realise that it’s not a bad thing is something you thought you truly wanted didn’t work out – you were obviously meant to do something else or go a different direction. Just keep on going. One of my first meetup/talks that I tried to organise, no one showed up. I’ve held workshops where I knew I didn’t give my 100% because of whatever circumstances they may be. I’ve been heartbroken. I had a massive health hit that kept me down both physically and mentally. I’ve lost clients. But knowing that these things are all occurrences and not a permanent part of who you are is important to continue moving on to bigger and better things.
Stay humble, but also be your own #1 fan. From my early to mid 20s, I worked as hard as I could to gain experience and prove myself to so many people in both work and relationships. I know I’ve come so far already but I still have to work hard and learn as much as I can every single day because that’s just how I roll. In saying that, I’ve also had to learn to champion myself and put my foot down. We’re humans, which means sometimes we kick ass and other times we make mistakes. I used to not feel good enough because of all kinds of reasons, but now I feel so strongly about my values and my beliefs – and that’s more than good enough for me. Give yourself high expectations, but never punish yourself.
Appreciate. Each and every one of us can get blinded and fixate on what we don’t have as opposed to what we do. Set your goals and work towards them but don’t ever forget about the things you already have in front of you – family, friends, home, health, food, moments like being able to meet up with someone for coffee – appreciate all the big and little things in your life. You’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Happiness isn’t a cause-and-effect process – it comes from simply being. Treat the rest that come along as a bonus.
Be the first to smile and talk to someone. I come across as an open extrovert, but sometimes I also struggle to talk to new people. You don’t have to start talking to every stranger that walks by, but now and then, perhaps put down the phone and have a conversation with someone. I’ve learnt that we usually say things like “I don’t know what to say” which still focuses on yourself, that’s why it’s hard. But if you ask yourself “What have I noticed about this person?” or “What would I like to know about this person?” you’ll generally find a good common ground. I’ve had fantastic chats with people at the café I’m working at, those who’ve attended my workshops and talks, people at the bus stop, my Uber drivers… everyone has an interesting story or thought to share. This is actually how I got one of my first clients in late 2016!
Here's to 2018!