Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Annual Review: Lessons Learned

In this post: a few thoughts on the lessons I've learned this year.

On struggling.

I knew going into independent work was going to be a ginormous transition. I'm responsible for everything, and to be perfectly honest, it ended up being a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I have a new found respect for business owners who are successful. I know I'm my own worst critic and that I hold myself up to much higher standards than anyone else would. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, I like setting the bar high and climbing to success. It feels really good. I like looking inside, seeing my failures, and learning valuable lessons from them. On the other hand, the struggle with perfectionism is paralyzing me from putting things out there, because it's not up to my standards. So, I've come to the conclusion that the pursuit of perfectionism is futile. Nothing will ever be perfect, but that shouldn't stop me from putting it out there. When my pesky perfectionist pops up, I know how to reassign her to her "perfect" task, so that I can get her out of my head and get some actual work done.

Lesson: It's time to get back to work in 2014 and put it out there, without fear!

On healing.

There's a lot of life that is outside of our personal control. I learned this lesson again this year when I was hit by a car. However, I used the time to heal both my body and soul in order to make me stronger and more whole as a person. I learned how to harness the flow in everyday activities, I put myself on a proper writing diet, and I'm starting weight bearing exercises at physical therapy. I have also come to the conclusion that this accident was a blessing in disguise, in order to make me more resilient in 2014. I will be like a phoenix rising from the ashes of this year.

Lesson: I want to embrace the messy middle and live life to the fullest every single day in 2014.

On money.

It's a necessity, but it's not everything. I'm trying to re-arrange my life so that I have enough to pay the bills, and some left over so that the cash can flow;  instead of looking at numbers and seeing them go up or down in my accounts. I also like having the freedom of setting my own schedule, so that I can continue to grow as a person, in order to grow my business. I have faith that my hard work will pay off, and I realize that getting to this point will require some sacrifices, monetarily or otherwise, but I am willing to make it happen.

Lesson: You can't have a business without money, but it's important not to get consumed by the numbers, as it stunts personal growth.

On giving back and paying it forward.

I feel it's important to do both and not necessarily with money. These past three months I have missed volunteering at Open Books literacy programs, helping people find the perfect book in the Open Books' Book Store, as well as, donating my time during the holidays to the local soup kitchens and animal shelters. I did give money to Red Cross this year, so that they could help the people who lost their homes in downstate Illinois because of the tornado, but I would of rather of donated my time and reached out to those who needed the help more.

Lesson: I can't wait to make a difference in other people's lives in 2014.

All in all, I've learned a lot of valuable lessons about myself, how I work, my business, and helping others in order to create a better future for all. What are some of the lessons you've learned this year?

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