Every year, I sit down and reflect on the lessons I’ve learnt in the course of the past 12 months. As much as time seems to be flying these days, every year is an opportunity to look back and reflect. Many of us would prefer looking forward, especially if the past has been a source of failure or discontentment. However, unless you look back, you cannot learn from your wins or losses. And unless you learn, you’re not growing or progressing.
If you’re in the same place as you were last year, you’re not growing. Don’t stay in the same place.
2017 was a transition year for me, from jumping into entrepreneurship to changing my mindset to work and live differently. Here are the 10 most important lessons I learnt in 2017:
Purpose beats money, every single time!
Don’t get me wrong, we all know bills need to get paid, shoes bought, etc. As a CPA by trade, I know all too well the importance of money and finances in our lives, careers and businesses. However, in 2017, transitioning into entrepreneurship taught me that purpose always beats money!
Whether it’s through a side hustle, a profitable business, or a change in careers, following one’s purpose is the ultimate way to success, whatever success may mean for you. Always make sure to have a solid financial plan in place though.
Growth is better than promotion
Many of us look to promotion and increase in our careers and businesses. However, we often forego the opportunity to grow and learn. In turn, this affects our ability to maintain ourselves at the level we’ve managed to climb to.
Transitioning into entrepreneurship taught me the importance of growth, both personal and professional. As a matter of fact, it’s the personal growth that fuels our professional growth. Unless you’re growing personally, your career or business may not grow as effectively.
The dream is free, but the journey will cost you.
If 2017 taught me one thing, it’s that there is a cost to any dream, goal, intention or desire. Social media has us believing that the process is easy and glamorous. Any worthwhile dream or goal requires a fair amount of sweat equity and seed planting, before we can even start reaping the benefits.
The average success story takes at least 10 years. The millionaire you see on social media has been working late nights and early mornings before going to their daytime job for years now. That entrepreneur who “suddenly” makes it to the top has been living frugally on their savings for years. As a matter of fact, both of them may have filed bankruptcy once or twice, lived in their cars, or missed a meal or two.
Not everyone will go with you
Ever heard the phrase “If you want to find out who your real friends are, start a business”? I found out it’s a very accurate statement. While I don’t necessarily believe in “expecting” others to support you, or to do anything for you for that matter, I also think that life will show you the people who can go with you to where your purpose is leading you. And those who were there for a season or a reason…
Your network is really your net worth, so watching who’s in your circle can determine where your career, business and life end up. The energy you surround yourself with is so important. I learnt that who and what you allow in your life is your responsibility. That few relationships are permanent, and that we must learn to recognize where we should put a priority and where we should not.
Your mental health is a priority!
What my career and business have taught me in 2017 is that my mental health is such an important part of my career, business or life. It’s not just about working hard and hustling all day, every day.
Doing great work in the wrong mental state can wreak havoc on your professional or business results. I’m learning to check in with myself more, and listen to my own mental concerns as a priority.
A financial foundation is crucial to success
Jumping into entrepreneurship on a part-time and full-time basis in 2017 has also confirmed the importance of minding my finances. This is not just about keeping a budget, or balancing your checkbook regularly.
It’s about creating a solid financial foundation of savings, investments and monetary power to create the life we want. It’s hard to go after one’s purpose or dreams when you’re worried about paying the rent or putting food on the table. Rather, it’s about creating wealth in a way that serves us and others in the context of our purpose and vision.
It’s ok to be different, trust your own voice
When I started a blog, I took a different path. Jumping into entrepreneurship was a drastically different journey than anything I, or anyone else I closely knew, had experienced. However, at first, being different and doing things differently made me mistrust my own voice and doubt myself.
Having to stick to my own vision and goals has taught me to trust my voice and own my differences. It’s the only way to be everything we can be.
Plant seeds first
Another thing I’ve learnt this year is the power of investment. When we think of investments, we think of money. However, what I’ve realized is that investing my time, energy and faith can reap the biggest rewards.
Going from side hustle to full-time business demonstrated for me the importance of planting seeds first. It’s about putting forth the effort and down payment first, sometimes way before we can get the pay for it. It’s about fighting for something you may not be able to see right away. Fight for it anyways.
Tell your story
As a woman of color at work, I used to hide out behind a professional façade. It took me a long time to realize that our real power is in our ability to tell our stories and be authentic about our own experiences.
Through my blog, my career and business experience in general, I’m learning that my story, just like yours, is valid and deserving to be told. Most importantly, I’m learning that it can make a crucial difference in others’ lives as well. The more authentic we can be, the more glass ceilings and concrete walls we can tear down.
Freedom is the ultimate goal!
Last but not least, the most important career and business lesson I’ve learnt is to pursue freedom. My definition of success is to be free to thrive and flourish professionally and in business as none other than…myself!
This also means financial freedom, as well as the freedom to decide how I get to use my time, doing what I love. While it may mean initial sacrifices at first, the glimpse of the possibility to create a life of freedom is the ultimate motivator!
What business and career lessons have you learnt in 2017?
To Your Success,
The Corporate Sister.