it's a wrap for 2018!

#newyears #reflections

2 beverages in a champagne flute with rosemary
Photo by Nora Schlesinger via Unsplash

2018 has officially come to a close and 2019 is here!

As I look back on the year, I'm honestly kind of grateful it didn't look like 2017. Although there were some high highs in 2017, there were also some real low lows. Even the day to day that was sandwiched in between the ups and downs didn't feel great. So it feels good to look back on this past year and see peace, growth, and transformation rather than a rollercoaster.

In 2018, I got over a few fears, established new friendships in a new city, drew closer to God, stepped outside of my comfort zone, struggled to release control, redefined my identity and what I want for my life, celebrated my 1st wedding anniversary, and rehomed all my pets, among many other things.

A significant amount of transformation took place this year and these are a few of my major takeaways coming out of 2018…

1. No is a powerful two letter word.

Powerful, and also very difficult to say. I got really overwhelmed this year and learned that if I plan to maintain my sanity and want my life to look a certain way, I need to speak up and start saying “no.”

No to commitments I don’t really want to commit to.

No to other people’s requests that violate a core value of mine or would make me responsible for their problems.

No, if the only reason I would be saying yes is to avoid conflict or disappointing someone.

No if internally I’m kicking myself as I reluctantly mutter “yes.”

I want my yes to be my yes and my no to be my no.

I now use a set of 4 questions to decide whether to say yes or no.

  • What purpose does this serve?

  • What problems will I invite into my life by doing this?

  • Does committing to this violate any of my core values?

  • How does this contribute to me achieving my goals or living the life I want to live? (if applicable)

If it’s not a hell yes after answering these questions, it’s a No from me.

“We can do anything, but not everything.” - David Allen

Intentionality is the byproduct of saying No. No establishes and maintains boundaries. No protects your time, heart, and mental health. No allows others to step up and problem solve instead of remaining dependent on others. No increases other’s respect for you. No is self-care.

2. Freedom lies on the other side of fear.

There are quite a few fears I pushed past this year, some small, some big - showing up to networking events by myself, publicly sharing this blog and my writing, sharing information related to my Dad that has been a painful part of my life for the past 2 years, financial insecurities, discomfort surrounding my unemployment and the question, “what do you do?”, and pursuing something that has no definitive timeline for when it will succeed or produce an income.

There’s probably an equally as long if not longer list of fears I still need to overcome, but each time I push beyond my fear, a shift happens, and I am freed from the power that fear has over me.

3. Our environment and circle of friends have a profound impact on what our life looks like.

Everything, from the types of conversations I have, to the trajectory of my life and everything in between is impacted by these two things. This is not meant to be negative in any way, but it is a stone cold fact that my life looks completely different than it did in any other place I’ve lived. It is primarily because of the people I am around and the friendships I have developed.

It is true that we are the average of the 5 people we most closely associate with.

If you want to pursue entrepreneurship, you need to be around business owners. If you want to emulate the character of Jesus, you need to be in relationship with people who are intentionally and actively trying to do that as well. If you want to build wealth, you need to find people who are smart with their money and have done it themselves. If you want to have a phenomenal, long-lasting marriage, you need to surround yourself with couples you can learn from.

We don’t change in a vacuum. The people we are connected to and the environments we put ourselves in either support our growth or impede it. You choose. How will you let your life be influenced?

4. A job is a tool, not a source of fulfillment.

A job is this thing we spend 40+ hours at every single week that over the course of several years, decades even, turns into a career or specialization in one field. Because of this, I think we expect our jobs to be a source of happiness, meaning, and fulfillment. But what if it isn’t?

I didn’t have a job for the majority of 2018. Even now, I only work part-time. Part of my journey this past year was about figuring out what truly brought me happiness, meaning, and fulfillment, and I found all that in other things. So when I started searching for a job this time around, I made a mindset shift. I stopped associating a job or title with my identity and worthiness and I let go of the need for a job to fulfill me. My job is purely a financial tool.

Its purpose is to pay off my student loans and create a larger cushion when unexpected things happen. That’s it. For someone else it may be to obtain a specific set of skills.

My job serves its exact purpose, and I don't look for it to do any more than that. If for any reason this job goes away, nothing else goes with it, but the paycheck. I don't lose my identity, sense of self, meaning, source of happiness, or self-worth. The loss of it cannot rock my world. Money, however, can always be easily replaced.

5. I’m not asking God for big enough things.

I had coffee with a friend recently and I listened to her share the amazing, but overwhelming things that are happening with her business. All of what’s happening, she asked God for. I walked away from that conversation with the realization that I’m not asking God for big enough things, heck, if I’m even asking Him for anything period.

Besides growth in my character as a person and strength to push through difficult situations, I don’t think I really ask him for anything tangible. At least nothing comes to mind. He wants us to ask though, and He wants us to ask Him for things that seem impossible to us. This is one of my challenges this upcoming year - to ask for specific things that seem both aligned with His will for me and extremely difficult to achieve on my own, then work toward it as if He has already fulfilled the request.

I already scribbled a few ideas on my whiteboard. Now it’s time to start praying and working.

I’ll be honest, these 5 takeaways don’t even scratch the surface for everything I learned this year, but they stick out as some of the biggest. 2018 was a monumental year for me, and I’m looking forward to what’s to come in 2019.

How was 2018 for you?

What major takeaways are you walking into 2019 with?

Drop me a comment below or connect with me on Facebook.

I'll be sharing a few more lessons there!


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