5 Key Lessons I Learned This Year (and taking with me into 2015!!)
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Anyway, I really hope you enjoyed my Top 10 of 2014 Recap yesterday. It was a really great exercise to pause and look back for once. What I've come to realize, while parking my tush in the country for two weeks, is just how quickly we get wrapped up in wanting more and not really appreciating what we already have. I have found more happiness in the past 4 months simply by practicing gratitude on a daily basis. Which brings me to this post, the "5 Key Lessons I Learned This Year (and taking with me into 2015!!)". Before we start piling up our 2015 to-do list, take a moment to recalibrate with this list. You might find yourself goal planning in a different way this year after you do:
5 Key Lessons I Learned This Year:
1. When In Doubt, Ask Why Not Me?
Before I quit my job back in August 2014, I found myself sitting at my desk daily starring at my computer screen with a Starbucks coffee, scrolling through Gary Pepper Girl, Tuula Vintage, Song of Style, and Zanita, and thinking Why Not Me??!!!! It didn't take long to realize that I had no good answer to that question. These girls were/are NO different than me...I mean yes we all come from different places, we all look different, probably have different advantages and disadvantages in life, but at the core, they were all just LIKE ME....human.
After this epiphany I started to believe more...why couldn't my wildest dreams be a reality?! Why couldn't I get paid to travel the world and illustrate the journey to share with my audience?! I soon concluded that in life THE ONLY LIMITS WE HAVE, ARE THE ONES WE ACCEPT FOR OURSELVES. And guess what, I have yet to be proven wrong since. Now I'm not saying that once you think like this all your work is done. Ultimately you have to keep working to cultivate your dream. But it is honestly the first step, and perhaps the most important, because knowing that there is no reason it couldn't happen for you is what will keep you going through all the highs and lows.
Which brings me to my next lesson...
2. Keep Pushing
There have been SO many times in New York where I felt like the odds stacked against me were the height of Mount Fuji, but somehow this little voice inside me coaxed me to keep pushing every single time. The logic, I guess, was quite simple - if you give up now, everything you dreamed of definitely won't happen, but if you keep trying, there's a chance it will. And why wouldn't you keep trying for that chance?
2014 was the first year that I really started to see the fruits of my labor in New York. It took me 5.5 years, and a lot of lesson number 3 below, to start seeing the payoffs but I eventually did. And that was the much needed validation that if you don't give up, things WILL start to work in your favor.
3. Don't Be Afraid, Be Fearless
You know the expression "Fortune Favors the Bold"? well after this year, I know that with certainty to be true. When I quit my job back in August, I honestly felt like I was free falling. But I also knew that the only way I was going to turn my illustration career into a viable business was if I had no other alternative. I deliberately pushed myself off the cliff without a parachute and somehow found my internal wings instead. In that rush of free falling, eventually landing on your feet, and running as fast as you can, the momentum builds. People start to take notice, people feel your wind, and the law of attraction kicks in. It's like a powerful avalanche (without the threat of hurting anyone). More people catch onto your speed, your bravery, and you grow in size and magnitude.
4. If You Aren't Struggling You Aren't Growing Either
My instructor at Soul Cycle always says to our Tuesday AM class that if you are feeling comfortable, you aren't really growing. That's always the incentive to push a little harder on the bike, to reach a new goal, and walk out of class feeling that much more prepared for your day. If life were a cakewalk, do you really think you would continue to grow and get wiser?! In the process of destruction, you are building your tolerance, getting sharper, learning what to do and not to do in the future. With struggle comes growth so embrace every shitty situation along the way because they are the real blessings.
5. Practice Gratitude and You'll Feel Happier
I can't begin to express how important this lesson was for me. It took me about 29 years to start feeling truly grateful for all that I had. That's why taking time to recap 2014 and write this post about my key lessons was so important to me. I didn't want to just start running into 2015 with an infinite to-do list. I wanted to take time to really appreciate and savour how incredibly fortunate I already am. I feel SO damn lucky for the opportunities I had this past year. I quite literally saw Travel Write Draw, my pipe dream, willed into fruition.
I worked with my dream clients, and took the plunge into the scariest territory of working for myself. And everyday when I get up, and start getting stressed over how much more I think I should be doing, I pause and think just HOW f'ing lucky I already am for all that I have. I love what I do, I love the city I live in, I have an amazing family and network of friends who support me and my dreams. When you take the time to recognize how much you already have, all the new things you think you need don't seem so important anymore.
And maybe you don't feel like you are at a point in your life where you feel particularly grateful. Maybe you are angry and frustrated about where you think you should be. BUT those are all good feelings too. Those feelings are telling you what you know you are capable of, and where you need to go from here. I may not practice jealousy, but I embrace it. Being self-aware and acutely informed of your feelings is an incredible asset because it enables you to better navigate your life and get on the path you should be on.
The next time you feel anxious about all that you want and think you need, sit down with yourself or with a friend and make a point of expressing five things you're grateful for. You'll find in time that everything around you starts to look a lot more pleasant. You'll see.
And with that, cheers to 2015!! May this be the best year yet and most fulfilling from the inside out.