Since 2015 I have been answering these 10 questions and it’s a great way to reflect on everything that’s happened this year, good and bad. Since the new website for my agency is still under construction, I can also frame these in more of a personal reflection rather than simply how my business did.
1. Where did I thrive?
This question is challenging as immediately I think to myself, how much money did I make? And it’s probably going to take me my entire life to reframe thriving in life in other ways than finances. I suppose I can say I thrived because of the challenges I faced, on all levels. I realized how multi-talented I am and how a lot of my skills are under valued. Not just by others but by me. I moved forward on the vision for my new agency which I’m SO close to launching. So close. I became a better vegan cook and baker with my Sunday cooking routine. I travelled like hell this year when I didn’t think I would after my honeymoon. Most importantly I have been teaching myself not to give as much of a shit about everything as I used to. More hygge and less hustle, even though I love hustle and I feel empty without it. I realized I’d rather win in the end knowing I lived life without having a heart attack, rather than the latter.
2. Where did I struggle?
One of my personal NY resolutions this year was to be debt-free and I fully admit I failed epically on this. Not only was I not able to kick the debt but I pretty much doubled it because I was not expecting business to be as bad as it was this year. Which is why I am so glad I decided to pivot in that arena. The part-time work I decided to pick up was to 100% pay my debt and it ended up becoming my main source of income. So I am continuing this routine going into next year, but I’m actually quite excited about it. It’s nice to change things up, help people I normally wouldn’t in different ways that allow me to flex and learn new things, and perhaps even open new doors I never thought I’d walk through.
I’m learning that the struggle is real but there is a reason for it. Always. Thank you, struggle.
3. Who was important in my life and why?
100% Leo. Leo has been my rock this entire year and not just because we had a ton of fun on the various trips we went on, but because he’s supported me after some difficult conversations about my unexpected financial status and what that meant for us this year and next. It’s because of him that I can thrive.
I’ve enjoyed spending time with my nieces this year as they are growing rapidly and getting smarter. It’s amazing to experience.
And I’m grateful to work with actor Sarah Edmondson, who teaches me that leaders have not just vision and confidence, but also humility, vulnerability, and courage. She’s the definition of a great leader.
4. What lesson am I grateful to have learned?
In all areas, I’m grateful for the lesson of pivoting. That means not just coping with change, but having the knowledge and intuition to know what to do as a result of that change. Because it’s so easy (and it feels better) to complain. And be apathetic or say “well, shit happens.” My parents are very good at that– and I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just a different way of living.
I HATE debt. I hate seeing it grow. I feel better when I imagine it dwindling and going to zero. It feels free to me.
And so I’ve had to not just complain but also be creative and realistic about how I can do better than this year in that resolution to become debt-free. If I had a regular job it’d be easy to just say I should start a side hustle, but being an entrepreneur has a different set of challenges. But the hustle that is necessary to run a business is the best training ground for learning how to pivot and react and ultimately, cope with change. And that’s something no one can be taught. It only comes with experience.
5. Where and how was I courageous?
I’m fortunate to know great colleagues, who, when I’ve told them about the vision for my new agency, asked me why the hell I was doing it or told me I was doing something that was going to be really hard. I know this. I tend to choose the harder road.
I’m starting to remember that I only have one life. And I may as well try as many things as I possibly can – even failing at all of them – to be able to say I fucking tried it. Almost every day I run past or look at the empty store across the street through the window and wonder why it’s abandoned or what it’d take for me to open some sort of business there. And I think about starting an e-commerce store full of the BEST things I love. And what that would take. I’ve actually created a plan for what would need to happen for me to do that.
Even if none of these things come to fruition I’m glad I’ve been courageous enough to continue dreaming. Because many times this year I’ve questioned what the hell I’m doing. Daily. Whether this year of grind is going to pay off in the end. And I think as long as I keep imagining and knowing when it’s right to pivot or close the door on a project or start a new one (I’m joining the Board of the Vancouver Mural Festival actually) even though others would discourage me or it’d be hard, that’s a life of courage for me.
6. What brought me joy?
Travel. Food. Family. Friends. Leo. TV and movies. Staying warm in winter. My bed. Meditation. Cooking or baking a great dish. The vision of my new agency. Ice cream. Always ice cream.
Thanks to giving myself a challenge of journalling every night on 4 questions (I’ve done it except for two days I failed), I’ve been able to reflect on all the little joys that happened in my day. ‘Cause it’s way harder sometimes to look at the light than the dark.
7. How did I treat my body, heart, spirit, and mind?
Body: I didn’t run as much as I would have liked because of a bad knee I suffered for about two months and getting back on track. I did my yoga, and I can wholeheartedly say my TM practice really helped my blood pressure stay low. While I didn’t maintain my sugar cleanse after the honeymoon, I realized that I think I am building a resistance to sugar again. I don’t think it’s the sugar alone that triggered my stomach issues over the years, but perhaps a combination. So I have been testing my boundaries with food and continuing to see what works for me.
Heart: Listening to my heart hasn’t been my forte but I gotta say, not giving a shit really does help with self-care! When I care less about performing (usually for others), what others think, or what’ll happen, I FEEL way better. So I know I’m on the right track here.
Spirit: I think this was a great year for spiritual growth because I was constantly reminded about how much my passed loved ones are with me. So much number synchronicity (lots of 11:11 and 1:11, 4:44, 5:55, 10:10, 12:12) and seeing feathers (my chosen symbol) reminded me that I’m always on the right track and that I can always call on them for help. There were many nights of journalling when I thanked them. I also re-read my paternal grandfather’s life story I helped publish and watched the video interview I did with my maternal grandma 8 years ago and I have so much respect for them. Huge respect for their life lessons for us.
Mind: I’m not sure how I treated my mind. I definitely filled it with lots of content through books, and I’ve been slaying a daily practice of consuming saved social media content, so in that sense I hope I treated it well. I’ve been noticing the times I haven’t been thinking great thoughts and I try not to judge myself for it because I haven’t treated myself well in the past. So I’m grateful for the awareness because awareness is always the first step to growth.
8. How did I show up for the people I care about?
I feel some guilt here because I want so much to be around my family and friends more. With my family it’s simply needing more time, and being kinder when I believe they could be doing better with their health. I could stand to be less bossy and more empathetic. With friends, it’s not having the $ to go and hang out as much as I used to. But I want to say that when I did show up I was fully there. I’m really trying to learn about everything going on in people’s lives when I see them because we only have one life, so even though the moments might be few in the year, it’s the quality of time and presence I can provide and do better on in 2018. We’re not always active on social media, but that’s been a great way to engage with them when we aren’t seeing each other.
9. What situations trigged fear or discomfort? Did I move through them? If so, how? If not, why not?
My last blog on anger explained a lot of this, adding onto the mounding debt that was this year. I’m proud of myself for not just moving through these situations but seeing the lessons in them and seeing where I’ve just been a baby about things. Over and over I learn the lesson that whatever you’re afraid of you must do. It’s just the way you move through and get over shit that used to scare you. Multitasking? Do it. Bogus credit card charges? Change it. Sucking at something when I want to be great at it? Do it again. Afraid of debt? Collect some more and see what I can do to keep attacking it.
This year has been so challenging that I don’t feel like things could get any worse (knock on wood) next year. So I know I can take it.
10. Which rituals and habits served me well and which ones didn’t?
Meditation, journalling, getting air outdoors, and content consumption on the daily. Yoga twice a week to continue pushing the limits of my body and setting intentions for the day. Cooking and baking only on Sundays or Mondays instead of throughout the week (Leo loves my Crockpot because it means less profanity and thrashing in the kitchen).
I’m not sure about any bad habits or rituals, but I know that I judge myself negatively for a lot of things. Gabby’s new book, Judgment Detox, could probably help me with this. But I’m grateful for the awareness of it all because I know I can love myself and my life better.
Here’s asking for more love in the world next year. And wishing you more love. The most you can get.