Lessons I Learned in 2017

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“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” I always did love that wise truth bomb from Glinda the Good Witch. It really does ring true, doesn’t it?

Oh my, the end-of-year recap. It’s kinda like reviewing all your loot after a night of trick-or-treating and checking out where you’ve netted out with all the sweets and sours you collected.

Well, I’m just gonna go on and say it – 2017 was hard AF. Most of the year, I felt like an elastic that just kept s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g…and that shit has been more painful and uncomfortable than when I wore braces back in my tween years (eeeek!).

In December 2016, I decided I wanted to pick a word for the year. My word for 2017 was “GROWTH” and man was it ever! But in the growing pains kinda way. Friction, inner conflict, anxiety attacks, and a whole lotta ugly snot cries…oh yeah, plenty o’ that!

And while I’m still trying to navigate through the woods and trek through the muddy changes that this year has brought, here are 5 lessons I learned in 2017 that may resonate with you too:

 

You’re allowed to be an amateur

Think Van Gogh came out the womb knowing how to paint? Or Anne Leibovitz started shooting for Vogue the minute she picked up a camera? Or that (insert-your-fave-boss-muse-here) built a 7-figure biz overnight? Nope. Nada. No way.

When you’re starting something for the very first time, you’re allowed to be terrible at it. You’re allowed to not know the answers. You’re allowed to fuck it all up many a’times. This is what learning is.

I’ll admit, this was never an easy concept for me to grasp. I always wanted to be an expert at xyz right outta the gate. And this especially comes into play with growing a business. Oftentimes we compare people’s 10-years-in-the-making to our first few months – heck, even our first few years into our biz – and it’s just an unfair bar to set for ourselves.

Be bad at something. Get messy. Fine tune it. ‘Cause you’re allowed to be an amateur before you go pro!

 

Perfection is a cockblock

How many times do we sit on a project or not press publish or edit something ‘til the cows come home because it’s justtttttt not perfect yet? I’ve got both arms raised up high on this one! And I’ve learned this the hard way.

I’ve procrastinated big time on all the things simply because I thought I needed to perfect every last little detail and get it right on the first go. But all that lead to was lots of wasted time and overthinking that kept me stuck with the emergency brake on.

Standing in our own damn way blocks off really amazing stuff to rush in. Perfection is a unicorn and every entrepreneur will attest to this. I’m learning to bring down my Type A ‘tude a notch and embrace imperfection – ‘cause sometimes it’s in the messy chaos that awesome shit happens!

 

Ditch the hustle

My mom always used to say, “slow and steady wins the race” and this phrase couldn’t ring more true for me than this year. Ambition has always been part of my DNA (I’m an Aries to boot!) and as I’m sure many of you bonafide hustlers and go-getters out there can relate, we just don’t do slow.

With eyes on the prize, fire in our bellies and fuel in our hearts, we’re used to rolling up our sleeves and doing the work…sometimes at mach speed. And while that may work for some, a heavy foot on the gas pedal at all times can cause some serious burnout. That shit sure can take a toll on your total badassery.

Many of the hangups and uncertainty during the year forced me to take it slow and embrace a more leisurely pace, which honestly drove me bonkers. But after a while of finally loosening my grip on the steering wheel, I’ve learned that working from a place of rest instead of hustle can get you the same awesome results…and some! It meant more alignment, more energy, more fun – who doesn’t love that? Now I’m not hustle shaming here, all I’m sayin’ is that it’s not the only way to grow your dream biz. The scenic route might take a lot longer, but I’m rollin’ with it and seeing where it takes me.

 

Growing pains are part of the deal

Like those awkward teen years, growing into your own can push and stretch you in new ways that are hella uncomfortable. When I picked “GROWTH” as my word for 2017, I had visions of beautiful blossoms, flowing evolutions, the butterfly emerging. What I actually got was like a caterpillar metamorphosis in the cocoon, which I can’t imagine is pretty or painless.

And that’s exactly what my intentional word brought me this year – a sticky, messy, painful evolution that doesn’t merit the rewards right away. I’ve come to embrace that it’s part of being an entrepreneur – and a human being! So as my metamorphosis continues, I know that feeling like a chicken running around with its head cut off is totally normal, and it’s part of the game.

 

You’re never gonna be REALLY ready

THIS was the Big Kahuna of lessons for me this year. Like many of you, I’ve been doing the side hustle thing for a couple of years with the intention of growing my Hologram baby slowly until I felt that I was ready to take it full time. I had been working as a contractor for a major beauty brand for over a year and a half, which was awesome and totally working for me. Until it started to not feel awesome at all. In fact, most of this year was spent spinning my wheels in exhaustion, stressed out beyond my wits, and just feeling shitty about myself. Here I was talking to my beloved Hologram community about trusting your intuition, following your dreams and being your most badass self but I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. Not in the slightest.

It was around the summertime when I started realizing that my values didn’t align with the company’s and that I’d continue to be stuck in the same ol’ place until I did something to move myself forward. My self-esteem was at an all-time low, I wasn’t fun to be around, and my health (in all realms) was questionable. I just wasn’t in a good place. At all.

But was I crazy enough to quit my bread and butter gig?! With not enough client work to provide some sense of financial security?! Without, like…a plan?! After months of sitting with this massive should-I-stay-or-should-I-go decision and spending countless hours of talking it out with my closest confidants – and yes, lots of anxiety-ridden crying fests – the answer was clear that I couldn’t go on like this.

And so I took the scary leap and quit this past October, without a shred of confidence that this would all work out in the year. What happened next? More consulting opportunities, more client inquiries, more moolah flowing in. Shutting the door to something that no longer served me meant opening doors with new possibilities. Saying NO meant saying YES to other things that brought me more joy, freedom and fulfillment than I ever imagined.

See the thing is there’s never really a good time for anything. Life happens and throws us the pie in the face whenever it wants to. You’re never gonna be really ready for the big stuff, so you might as well just go for it…’cause ya know, YOLO and all! Your intuition knows what’s up…trust that bitch. Keep your integrity intact and you’ll never go wrong. We really are our best life compass and that’s a major lightbulb moment that I learned throughout this whole experience.

 

So thank you 2017…for all the lessons and blessin’s, heartache and healing, losses and wins. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the upcoming year and grateful to be on this rollercoaster ride alongside ya’ll!

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