So, what a year, right? I can’t believe we’re almost done with 2019. If the last year was all about pain, misery and getting back on your feet, 2019 is all about healing and choosing wisdom amidst the unavoidable and unexpected misadventures that kept on coming your way. By this time, although I should have known better, I still found myself many times in countless turning points.
This year, I may have lost friends, money, opportunities, chances and many others, but focusing on the takeaways is a choice. Looking back, I have listed the most valuable lessons I learned this year.
1. Never undersell yourself.
Sometimes, we settle for less because we thought that it’s the only way for our searching and hungry souls, whether it’s closing a business deal, or getting in a relationship. I learned this the hard way. My ex hadn’t been treating me right and I accepted it because I thought love is supposed to be suffering. Only when I finally broke free, learned to love myself and found the right person to fall in love with again, did I realize that I shouldn’t have been afraid to get away from something that doesn’t appreciate me.
In the past years, I never negotiated for my salary because I trusted the management. When I made my own calculation, however, I realized that I could do better. I demanded better pay and guess what? They approved it!
Never undersell yourself, know your worth and demand for what is right.
2. Market your products in the right places.
Why waste your time marketing your products in the wrong place where people don’t want them? Remember Matthew 7:7? “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” This is my favorite quote because you will never know if you never go out there, asking people and knocking doors. However, I would also add, that:
If the damn door won’t open, find another door where you are wanted. Don’t keep on knocking on the same door.
3. Accept the fact that people come and go.
People are not going to stay in your life forever. They have their own paths that leaving is inevitable. You have your own too and soon enough, you will have to follow the path that will take you to your destiny. In my office, a lot of my colleagues-turned-friends finally left the company. That means we can’t eat together during lunchtime anymore or we can no longer gossip while working. Resigning takes a lot of courage and I can’t do anything to make them stay. Eventually, I had to accept the fact that leaving is the best option for them and the only thing I can do is support them in their decisions which they have thought through.
4. Gather the best sympathy you have before reacting.
How do you deal with slow service staff? Do you raise your voice just to get what you want? For a period of time, I did. I am guilty of having fun proving that the other party is doing it wrong. If I could rewind these chances, I probably would have gather the best possible words out there and tell them in a better way how they can do better. Criticizing will not get us anywhere.
I joined Toastmasters and I learned a lot by observing how they give feedback to the speaker. Sandwich feedback method is used. It consists of praise, followed by corrective feedback, followed by more praise – this, I found more motivating and a lot useful. It’s a win-win because both of you get what you want but also avoiding resentment.
5. Share what you know.
There are a lot of ways to learn, but the most effective is by teaching. This year, I have conducted several workshops: writing and selling online, social media marketing, and indie publishing. Because I had to teach my students, I had to ensure that I know all the ins and outs of my craft. Sometimes, they would ask me questions I don’t know the answers to, but that is all right because there is always something new to learn and I have to be open-minded about it. Keep the door open.
6. Avoid negative people and things especially if you know you are easily affected.
By heart, I know that my emotions are fragile so I try to invest my feelings in the right places. I easily get swallowed by sadness or anger thus I swim away from negativity to ensure that I am making myself more effective. Thus, my consumption of bad news is quite low this year. I still watch documentaries and movies on crime, suspense, and horror, but that is because of curiosity. I can always turn it off if it gets too much.
I also try to avoid people who tend to not listen to what you have to say and pertain to toxic positivity. These are the people who would say something like “Keep smiling” or “It will be fine”. Warning, these are negative people who pretend to be positive.
Despite choosing positivity, we still have to be realistic and be better prepared with things to come. Be with people who will hold your hand and pull you out of the rut.
7. Listen to your self and dreams.
When did you last pursue your dreams? This year, I felt that my days are becoming a routine. Yes, I earn good money and traveled a lot, but somehow, I am losing my purpose. Going to a 9 – 5 job is not my ideal kind of life because it felt like – I don’t know, prison? I knew I got to change or switch some factors of my life to not feel this way towards work. Not only should you listen, but you have to take action. I did.
8. Spend more time with family and put your phones down.
We all lead busy lives but if there’s a time when my family and I could bond, that would be dinner time. Whenever we share a meal, phones are not allowed or entertained. We talk to each other and share ideas, opinions, and gossips while enjoying the food. I did not get much chance to enjoy this because, for the past eight years, I have been living in a separate apartment. Upon moving back, I found these dinner moments priceless.
9. Get more sleep.
Believe me, you deserve it. Having enough sleep gives you the energy to have a better attitude as you face a new day.
10. Spend time with yourself.
When you spend more time with yourself, you get to know yourself better. You tend to learn your likes and dislikes and discover something new. On weekends, I would take myself out to watch a movie, go to my favorite bookstore and eat my favorite meal. I don’t have to think about another person’s time but my own. This year, I traveled to Norway and Sweden by myself which means no one will tell me what to do and no one would judge or influence my choices and that feels oh, so good!
11. Don’t spend on things you don’t need even if it is on sale.
I have never focused on my financials like I did this year. I got myself an accountant who will help me with my transactions and monitor my progress. This made me more cautious about spending money. This year, I spent less time on window shopping and mindless wanderings in the mall. I go to the mall with a purpose too! Preparing a list of things to buy and sticking to it save me a lot of hassles.
12. Read and learn new things as much as possible.
And we’re back to learning again. Why? Because with appropriate stimulation, you are exercising your brain making a sound and healthy brain that can make better rational decisions. Thus, with good decisions, comes with a better outcome.
This year, I have finished my tourism course which I had been taking part-time. Eventually, my brain’s idle and you know what they say about having an idle mind? “An idle mind is the devil’s playground”, which means if you have too much time in your hands, you get bored and you start to think and do not-very-nice things – ah, you name it! The good news is I have a lot of interest and so next thing I know, I have been teaching myself a new language.
There you go – the most valuable lessons I learned this year. I know that there will always be challenges ahead but I hope that the above lessons will ease the year ahead. And if not, remember that there’s always a takeaway in every situation. 🙂