If there’s one way to describe what 2017 was like, it’s to call it the year of self-discovery. From taking that acting class and committing to blogging to growing more confident with who I am and taking on a new project in a completely new field, 2017 was full of learning, play and experiments. More than once I shut my eyes and ploughed ahead despite fear and self-doubt, and each time it got easier to carry on. I also consumed dozens of articles, podcasts and books, most of them produced and written by inspiring, bright women creatives talking about their lives and careers. Over the holidays, as I (closely resembling a stuffed turkey) reflected on the year ahead from my in-laws’ couch, I considered all the advice and knowledge shared by these women. If 2017 was a year of taking it all in and learning, then 2018 will be the year of acting on this knowledge and doing. And here are the key three pieces of advice I’m taking with me into this year.
Don’t compare yourself to others
With social media we’re constantly reminded about who in (and outside) our social circles has a better job, a fuller life, a prettier Instagram feed… We get jealous of our peers who suddenly dart ahead towards the life we’ve always envisioned for ourselves. We waste time trying to figure out how complete strangers online lead the lives we could never even dream of. No matter what the case is for you personally, comparison will only lead to you feeling inadequate and less than enough. The trouble is, comparison is essentially futile because every single person’s path is so drastically different. In most cases we have absolutely no clue what the full story is anyway. An overnight success is never an overnight success. The dream life is often not what we expect it to be. With this in mind, this year I’m remembering to focus on my own path and direct my energy to advancing myself rather than stressing over others’ achievements.
Consistency breeds legitimacy
This piece of advice comes from one of my favourite podcasts from last year, Being Boss. It may sound like another buzz phrase, sort of like lean in or yolo but at the heart of it is the simple truth that consistent delivery – of your work, your content, yourself – builds up your profile in the eyes of your colleagues, bosses and your wider social circles. As cheesy as a personal brand may sound, it’s a necessity in the modern workplace to build one – and consistent delivery of high-quality work is its key building block. Of course, the more commitments you have, the harder it gets to deliver consistently across all of them but focusing on those that matter the most and holding yourself accountable on a consistent basis is a prerequisite for success.
You will find your people
It will take time, especially once you’re out of the education system and especially if you’re an introvert. But it will happen. Sometimes you will find them at the 11th hour, on the last day of that workshop you’re doing, by complete chance. They will walk into the room and light it up – it will be swift and powerful, and will make you believe in fate that little bit more. Other times, you will find your people in an old friend, whom you’ve grown distant with or maybe just lost touch for a little while but whose path will intertwine with yours once again in the most unexpected of ways. Your people will inspire you, they’ll push you to go further. to dream bigger and to trust that all is well. It takes time but you will find your people.