Okay. I am a bit late with this post. I usually take stock of the year the last week in December when all is calm and quiet. But this year… well, it was not calm, nor quiet. We’ve had quite a year here at Brains on Fire, full of adventure and goodness and change.
So, this cold Monday in January, I’m going to do a bit of reflecting. It’s never too late, right?
Here’s the lessons 2017 gave me:
1. Change is hard and brilliant and scary.
This year, our Greenville office packed up our laptops and servers, sold all our furniture (including lamps and trash cans) and moved to a co-working space in West Greenville while we renovate two storefronts that will become our new, permanent offices. (Early March can’t get here quick enough.) I miss a permanent space more than I ever thought I would, and my laptop bag needs cleaning out most evenings since I often use it for trash. But as hard as it was for us, the change was also good for us. We didn’t just recreate the space we were in. We’re creating and designing a space based on our old space and our lack of space at the co-working space, which I believe will turn out amazing.
2. Pay attention to what matters most.
Your family, your friends, your current clients, your advocates and partners… your people. People matter most no matter what you do in this life. Pay attention to them. And never take your relationships for granted.
3. Never settle.
Comfortable is easy. Growing and learning and moving forward is hard at times. That’s why so many people settle for what they know. The pull of the familiar is very strong. They don’t leave the job they hate or they don’t tell their truth. They just say, “this is as good as it gets.” Well, that’s just not true. There’s a huge sandbox out in this beautiful world of ours and you’re free to play in it. Take chances. Make bold moves. Say yes. Dare to be wrong. Get messy and make mistakes. Find out what makes your heart soar. And do more of that.
4. When one door closes another one opens, BUT it’s hell in the hallway.
A friend once told me that nothing counts before the BUT, so I will add this “AND” to that statement. If you look really hard, there’s always little rays of light and sunshine to guide you in the darkest of hallways. I’m wired to be optimistic, but sometimes life is not all pink peonies and cherry Kool-Aid. Find a way to breathe in those times and then follow the tiny little rays of sunshine. They WILL lead the way. Focus on the good and you will find the good. Focus on the dark and you will find more of that.
5. The greatest compliment is a recommendation from a friend.
Almost 80% of our new business comes from personal recommendations. We do not take that lightly. We cherish it and have made a promise to celebrate those connections in an even bigger way in 2018. I personally believe all business comes from personal relationships. Whether you’re a big or small organization or a party of one.
6. A decision is better than no decision.
This has been another year of rapid fire decision making for me personally and professionally. And I will stand by a mantra that has served me well for my lifetime: If in doubt, do something.
7. Learn to put a pin in it.
“Put a pin in it” is one of our Maven of Calm’s (Emily Kosa’s) signature sayings. While I stand by lesson number six above, sometimes we need to sleep on things. Learning to be less reactive has served me well this year, because quick REACTIONS are not always decisions.
8. I might be wrong.
I have strong opinions. A lot of us do. I have found the four words “I might be wrong” to be so comforting to me this past year. They tear down walls and ease minds and hearts. Especially my own.
So, I’ll leave you with those lessons from 2017. I might be wrong, (smiling) but something tells me 2018 is going to be a wonderful year. Full of goodness and sunshine and brand new shiny doors to open and explore. Let’s make it so.