This has been a year full of changes and challenges for me. To be honest it started off on a rocky foot. It was like the new year launched me into a whole series of challenges in my personal life, which were followed by work and career challenges that seemed to just compound. For a while it seemed like no matter how hard I tried, the right things just weren’t happening. Now, as the year comes to an end, I’m surprised when I look back on how much has actually changed and how many positive things have come from it. Here are some of the best pieces of advice that have helped me in significant ways this year.
Slow and steady. This probably seems completely unoriginal, and that’s because it is. It’s one of those really obvious, yet hard to learn lessons. We’ve all been hearing this same saying over and over again since we were kids, but I’m not sure that I ever really learned it until recently. We seek instant change, instant results and instant gratification, but it’s the small, consistent actions and steps that add up over time. When it comes to happiness, health, career - anything really - playing a long-term game can make all the difference.
Ask for help. This lesson in particular has been a hard one. There’s this tendency to want to be self sufficient and completely capable of getting things done on our own. The pressure to succeed and to succeed the first time around is very real. But the truth is, we all need help at some point. And no matter how much someone cares about you, they likely don’t realize that you need a hand until you let them know. This piece can be hard to accept. It’s easy to place expectations on others - what we think they should notice or be aware of, and how we think they should support us. But the reality is that when you need support, you just have to ask for it. Reach out and communicate, more times than not people wish they had known sooner so they could have been supporting all along.
Enjoy the process. There’s nothing wrong with having goals and keeping your focus on big future things, but what’s not good is when the focus turns into stress or pressure and stops you from enjoying the process. It can take a lot of time and experience to discover your best case scenario, but that’s okay. Keep your goals in mind and work hard to achieve them, but don’t be afraid to try new things and stay open-minded along the way.
Be gracious with yourself. Sometimes a setback will do just that, set you back for a time. But the important thing is that at some point you make the decision to move forward regardless. It’s easy to get caught up in a game of ‘what if’ - dissecting the many things that could or should have gone differently in life, but what good does that serve? Overthinking the negative often allows it to take control, and those who choose a different mindset are the ones that overcome the unfairness that life sometimes throws in the way. Where you focus your energy and your thoughts will have an impact on your ability to deal with life’s challenges.
It’s been a big year with a lot of changes and some serious challenges, but I’m thankful for it. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about what I want in life, and while those lessons have been hard they’ve been important. I’ve been able to try new things, shift my focus and now I’m able to pursue some of the things that I had been keeping on the back burner for all too long. It’s been a big year, but I’m looking forward to a new year with new and exciting things on the horizon.
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