While 2018 is in the rear-view mirror and 2019 is well underway, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you 10 things I learned in 2018. These are some important life lessons, some of which have taken me years to truly understand and accept. Some of these things are lessons we already “know” in that we have been told them our whole lives. However, 2018 was the year I truly learned them. I hope that at least one of these 10 things I learned in 2018 resonates with you! And as always, please share in the comments something important that YOU learned last year!
Life’s not fair.
Starting this off with an obvious, yet often ignored life lesson. Life is NOT fair. Sometimes you are smarter, work harder and put in more hours and someone else still gets the promotion. Sometimes you are more attractive and more compatible and someone else still gets the guy/girl. The world does not owe you anything.
Quick story to really drive this one home. I once interviewed a gal for a coordinator position right out of college. She had great potential, I offered her the job and she came back with a HUGE list of requests (she clearly had very high expectations of her first job ever). It became clear to me, given her expectations, that she would actually not be a good fit for the crazy work environment I knew I was in. I politely rescinded the job offer and was met with a very angry 10 minutes of “that’s not fair” and “that’s not how negotiations should work”, “you have to give me a counter offer”. She was very wrong, very misinformed about life. See we didn’t owe her a job and you don’t HAVE to counter in a negotiation. While I felt bad for her in this moment, I also thought what an important life lesson this was. Life is not fair. And the world does not owe you anything at all.
I am a pushover and that’s okay…sometimes.
Being self-aware about being a pushover is half the battle. Once I realized that I am indeed a pushover it became easier and easier to navigate this trait in myself. Suddenly, I was in control! I could now choose when I would allow myself to be “walked all-over” in a sense. Which seems silly, but I began to realize that there were certain times that I was okay with being a pushover, and certain times I knew when I needed to stand up for myself. I could even now use this trait strategically to my advantage when need be!
It’s okay to be selfish.
Now this one is tough for me. I am often guilt ridden when I choose to say no. Wether it’s saying no to your friend who wants to go out, because you’re trying to avoid alcohol. Or maybe it’s being “selfish” enough to toot your own horn at work when you know there’s a chance for a promotion. It is okay to put yourself first sometimes. 2018 was the year I put myself first. My mental and physical health. My happiness. Everything. I still sometimes feel a bit of guilt, but I suppose that’s the pushover in me peeking through. Haha 😉
You need to focus on solutions and not your problems.
Problems arise every single day. That will never change. I consider myself to be a pretty positive Polly most of the time, so why should it be any different when I face a problem? Instead of being a negative human and dwelling on my problems, I chose (reluctantly) to focus on solutions in 2018. So from now on when a conflict arises these are the mental thoughts I go through to try and overcome the negativity:
1. Think of a positive that can come from the situation, the cause and effect.
2. Ask myself what I’ve learned from the situation that can serve as a takeaway for the future.
3. Think of all possible solutions/resolutions. Choose one and MOVE ON.
Relationships can actually be toxic.
People say this all the time. And yet I adamantly ignored it for so long. Not anymore! If someone doesn’t want to be in your life, show them the door. Furthermore, if YOU don’t want someone in your life, open that door wide and slam it once they’re out. Surround yourself with people that make you happy and inspire you, and let the others go. Trust me. It feels DAMN good.
My inner critic is a giant a-hole.
I am SO mean to myself. Like genuinely, if someone said the things that I say to myself, to one of my friends? I would be all over them! Normally, I am gracious with others and generally give everyone the benefit of the doubt. So why not myself? I so desperately need to be nicer to myself. Allow myself to falter, to fail and to be imperfect. I really realized how awful my inner critic was in 2018. I started arguing with those negative thoughts, sticking up for myself and giving myself a break!
Anyone can be a “morning person”.
Literally any of you. I promise. I was the teen who slept in, the friend who was always the last awake at sleepovers, the college student who scheduled most classes for anytime after noon and the adult who needed 5 alarms (literally) to get up for work. I now have no problems waking up early, I can work out before beginning work for the day and my favorite part about the weekends is my precious time to get some extra Z’s. Becoming a “morning person” is just a matter of forming a new habit.
Hard work pays off, but not always.
Hard work pays off 90% of the time. But the sad reality is that not everyone will appreciate all of your hard work. If you’re the type of person who gives 120% to everything you do, and it leaves you feeling unappreciated at the end of the day, stop. Identify the people who don’t appreciate your hard work and only give them 100%. Realistically, work ethic and pride won’t allow most people to give less than 100%, but at least this way you can save your hard work for those who appreciate it!
Always keep a “career kudos” folder, no matter your profession.
You will inevitably forget about all of the awesome sh*t you did as the months go by. So save screenshots of emails you receive where your boss, co-worker or client is giving you a compliment or a pat on the back. Save presentations, sales decks, photos, writing samples, negotiation tactics and every small win you have each month. It will help you when you are ready to move on to other jobs. It will help your mental state when you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough in your career.
If you’re unhappy in your job, get a new one.
And then if you’re unhappy in that job, get a new one. We don’t live long enough to “stick it out” for 5 years in a job that makes us miserable. I loved working as a manager at Nordstrom, until I didn’t anymore. So I found a new job as a buyer/category manager. And after four years I realized I was drowning in spreadsheets and tough negotiations and I needed a more creative career path. I waited FAR too long before switching industries completely to marketing. And even then, when I found I still wasn’t satisfied I left to follow a different path again. My point is that you can change jobs as much as you want. Don’t listen to those who tell you that “millennials switch jobs too often”. FInd a career that you love, and don’t stop searching until you do.
Welp. That turned quickly into a novel. Haha I hope you were able to take something away from the 10 things I learned in 2018. Now here’s to looking ahead! Check back soon for my 2019 vision board and goals for this year!