2018 was an interesting year to say the very least. I started it with my first full time job at a company I loved and ended the year by losing that job due to a redundancy. I travelled more than I have ever travelled before, exploring 4 countries in South East Asia, took 3 trips to the United States and 3 trips to Europe. I met so many new, incredible people who are now a significant part of my life and I really found my passion in Diversity and Inclusion. Though I didn’t end the year with everyone that I started it with, this year more than ever, I learnt so much. Thanks to 2018, these are my key learnings:
1.Some friendships fade and that’s ok
People change, you have less in common and that’s ok. There is absolutely no need to keep putting in effort with people that you simply don’t click with anymore, especially if they’re not reciprocating that effort. I’m not saying have massive bust ups with those that you’re not close with anymore, but we all develop in different ways and if some friendships fade along the way, that’s ok. Just reflect and focus on the good times you had with those people.
2. Only invest your time in people that add positive energy and value to your life
I realised this year that I invested too much time and energy in people that didn’t bring the same level of energy to me, and it got draining. Everyone has groups of friends from different corners of their lives and it can be easy to flutter between different groups and feel that you have so many friends in different places, but really what are the quality of all these different relationships? What do you bring to each other? How well do you really know each other? It is absolutely ok to say no to people, to turn down plans and prioritize who and what is most important to you. After all, we can’t say yes to everything and everyone that comes our way.
3. Remove the brand that you work for from your self identity as you never know when that relationship may end
I was very lucky that the company I worked for was so open to the self starter mentality and developing new initiatives and ideas from scratch. I ran a Diversity initiative across the whole UK business, and though it gave me so many opportunities to meet and work with an array of incredible people across the industry, I probably wouldn’t have had these opportunities if it wasn’t for the brand I was associated with. Now I have left, I see that I was servicing the brand more than I was servicing myself and my own personal brand. You never know when your time with a company may end, so as much as a brand name can bring many opportunities, and I would encourage people to leverage this, also think about how you can better service your own personal brand and what your own identify is without the brand you work for.
4. You are the person that’s in control of your own future
I talked about this a lot in my post titled ‘control.’ No matter what situation you find yourself in, as long as you have belief in yourself, you can always do something to take that situation into your own hands, back into your own control.
5. The behavior on a first date sets the precedent for how the rest of the relationship will pan out
This is all about knowing your worth and knowing what you want from someone. Make sure you are clear of this before getting to know someone, otherwise things may not pan out that way you would hope.
6. Surround yourself with a great support group
I’ve met so many great people in 2018, and every time I’ve faced a hurdle, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I’ve received from friends, family and colleagues. I should never be surprised though, as I surround myself with people who bring immense value to my life, and having a strong support circle around you is crucial to moving forward in both your professional life and personal life.
7. Bring other people up with you and be cheerleaders for your friends, family and colleagues
As important as it is to have good people around you, you also need to be cheerleaders for your support system. No one ever progresses in life alone, and whether it is work or your personal life, when you bring other people up with you on your journey, this is where you progress. This can be as simple as bringing a friend along to a networking event in an industry they want to break into, sharing job opportunities, referring friends for opportunities, simply being a good listener when times are tough, the list goes on. I have joined a bunch of communities and groups (specifically in the creative industries) such as: Madland Hack, SocialFixt, All Things Tech, POCC and The Guestlist, to name a few, and the sheer support and and sharing with one another has been incredible to see.
8. Don’t compare yourself to your peers as we are all striving for different things
When you are close to a group of people who inspire you and support you it is so easy to also compare yourself to them. It’s something that we have almost been conditioned to do since we were in school. However, things are different now. You may have the same degree as your friends but you all have different jobs in different industries and as we become more experienced we realise what’s important to us and what success means to us. For some people financial gain is what success looks like, for others that could be providing impact through their work or having a family. What we personally consider to make us successful varies so much person to person it is impossible to compare ourselves to each other. So don’t. Focus on what’s important to you and use your support system to help you get there.
9. Talk less and listening more
Remove the bias, remove the prejudice, there’s so much you can learn from people who are different to you. I actually realised when I was in Bali that I can be quite quick to shut people down sometimes, for no real reason. This is a trait I am deleting for 2019 as the more I travelled and the more people I met, the more I learned. Everyone has a story and there is something you can learn from every person you meet.