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Isn’t it crazy how much difference a year makes?

I don’t know about you, but to me, it feels like one year in business is like three in any other situation (given how much progress we make, how many ideas we’re flooded with and how many important lessons we learn).

I’ve also noticed that things seem to come in waves; these lessons we come across raise their heads again and again, in all manner of disguises. This is something I’ve been talking about with a whole bunch of entrepreneurial types in my network, so I thought it would be worthwhile to round up some of those big unignorable learnings and think about how we can incorporate more of that thinking into the 12 months ahead…

Be discerning about who or what you invest your time, energy and money in.

The most important thing I learned in 2017… discernment. For many years in my business I just bought what I needed, like throwing spaghetti at the wall trying to find the answer of what’s going to fix my business. In 2017 I really got clear on who I was as a coach, how I wanted to stop hiding, even though everyone would always say “you were never hiding” (I was hiding). I got clear on the people I was really in alignment with, so instead of trying to find the right coach or the next shiny object, I got very very discerning about who I wanted to work with. I took my time, I found the right people to create my team, and not just the people ON my team but the people that I’m working with, so the extended parts of my team… and I don’t deviate from that. So now, going into 2018, these are the people I’m working with, these are the masterminds I’m associated with, so head down and do the work with those people.
Lisa Carpenter

This is such an extremely important point. How many of us have got caught up in someone else’s launch hype, been sold on the big promises and spent all the money, only to realise that that programme won’t fix your shit? There is power in being intentional about what you put your focus on, and the steps you take to achieve your goals. You won’t get anywhere if you sit there scattergunning your hopes and dreams.

Set your own timetable.

I learned that I’m in control of my schedule! 2017 was all about reclaiming my own desires and passions–and not feeling guilty for taking a break to ‘fill my own cup’ (whether that was with gratitude…or rose 😉 ). I learned that if I don’t set boundaries and priorities, others will dictate them for me.
Erica Lee Strauss

This one is a biggie in my world and (if I’m being honest) no something I think about often enough. We are our own bosses. We are in charge of our own time. Why is it so easy to forget that??

Realise that nobody gives a shit about what you’re doing.

“Noone is watching you, noone gives a shit. We just worry so much that everyone is watching. Unless it’s a stalker, like me, who likes to watch everyone, nobody gives a shit. People are focusing on themselves, they see you in passing but that’s all. All of these worries we have of “if I do this, what will people say?” – the fact is people are not saying anything. They’re not saying anything because they’re not even looking at you, they’re either looking at their phones or they’re looking in the mirror because they’re so obsessed with themselves. SO yeah, that was a great lesson for 2017. And towards the second half of 2017 that lesson has allowed me to do more outrageous stuff because I knew that noone was judging because noone was looking!
Bushra Azhar

When you spend all your time immersed in the depths of the internet, it’s easy to feel as though there are nameless, faceless people watching your every move… and that’s a lot of pressure. That’s where you find yourself censoring what you say and sanitizing your opinion.

If you’re able to flip that switch, and start recognising that you are NOT inundated with stalkers primed to pounce, you’ll create such better stuff. You’ll have the confidence and the liberation to really say what you think, to really own your point of view, to KILL IT with your content.

Stop being afraid of the next hurdle.

“In 2017 I learned to really step into leadership more and to embrace the next challenge of growing a team and building my business more. I also learned that I am more capable than I realise if I let myself focus and go for it! I am so excited for what 2018 has to offer.
Jo Gifford

Hands up the control freaks in the room? *Sheepishly raises both arms* The thought of delegating precious parts of your business can be terrifying, but at some point, if you’re hoping to see real growth, it will have to happen. Yes, it feels weird and uncomfortable. Yes, it might be a bit of a bumpy road to start with. Yes, you will have to engage with actual humans regularly. But the results will be worth it.

For more on getting the help you need, check this out.

Ditch the comparison – for good!

Everyone has the same doubts, the same limiting self-beliefs, even those hugely successful people you put on a pedestal. We’re all slightly flawed humans trying to make the best of what we’ve got. Once you understand that, things like comparing yourself to others, envy, I’m not good enough’itis and similar emotions start to disappear and are replaced by self-belief. And once you have that, my friends, you have a one way ticket to success.
Gemma Went

The inner work, unfortunately, cannot be ignored.

I know so many truly inspiring people who doubt what they can do simply because they’ve seen somebody else out there doing “more”. It’s heartbreaking seeing someone hold themselves back… and even as I say that, I can tell you I do it myself.

All you can do is work on it. Stop stalking the people who trigger your self-doubts. Engage in those handy mindset practices that help you work through this stuff (my go-to is journaling). Do the work – it will get better.

Don’t be afraid to unleash BIG dreams.

In order to achieve big dreams you need to acknowledge and embrace big desires.
Suzy Ashworth

I think this one is a something I need to take with me as we head further into 2018 – I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I really struggle to articulate big visions and set big goals... and if I can’t do that, how will I ever see big results?

This is another one for the “inner work” column. You’ve got to take the time to really explore what you want from your business (and life in general, if you’re feeling ambitious). Once you can put that all into words, you can make it happen.

Embrace incremental change.

To stay true to yourself. No dream is unachievable. One baby step each day is effective to making big things happen.
Kerri Watt

Huge, spontaneous changes are unreliable. This is one of the very reasons that New Year’s Resolutions have such a monumental flop rate, and it’s one of the things I had in mind when I created the Content Arsenal. That entire programme is built around the concept that through teeny, tiny daily actions, you can stand out online in the best way for your biz.

How can your incorporate small tweaks and turns into the way you look at your business and your goals?

Build rock solid boundaries for your biz.

Boundaries within your business are so important. Otherwise you will end up exhausted, resentful and feel like your business is the boss of you! Which is exactly why so many people want their own business… so they get to live life by their own rules! Boundaries all the way, baby!!
Marie Houlden

Can I hear an AMEN?! In the last month or so of 2017, putting proper boundaries in place became a big priority for me. I have a habit of letting what my clients want (or what I mistakenly assume my clients want from me) dictate my entire life… and that’s no way to thrive.

This will be something I keep working on over the next few months, because I don’t believe the battle is ever won. If you need some inspiration, here’s what some of my boundaries look like:

  • Having set working hours, Monday to Friday, including breaks.
  • Only being available to communicate with my clients via Slack.
  • Only recording podcast interviews one day a week.

Blaze your own trail.

I learned that I had to do things my way. All the gurus in the world can’t help me be the best version of myself unless I am a willing participant in that. I stopped looking outwards and started looking at me to make the changes I needed to see.
Julie Creffield

There comes a point when you just have to stop following advice. I do acknowledge the irony of saying this in the middle of a post filled with advice, but you know what I mean. There’s a time when you have to stop looking outwards for more information and start listening to yourself. Start implementing some of those ideas you’ve already got stashed away in the back of your mind. 

It may not be following the perfect formula, but it will be showing up in a way that’s yours.

Show your wobbly bits.

That being vulnerable in my business is a good thing, and far more helpful for others. I realised that I didn’t need to pretend to be perfect – and that my Facebook group grew because it became a place others could be vulnerable too.
– Emma Cossey

Go unfiltered. Stop trying to pretend you have everything perfectly together all the time, it’s obnoxious. I think that with the rise of live streaming and the like, a lot of people’s patience is wearing thin when it comes to the whole “craftily curated life” thing.

Be brave enough to be yourself. Show off your mistakes and what you’ve learned from them. Don’t try to hide your flubs. People will be drawn to you when they can see for themselves that you’ve learned the hard way, you haven’t just skipped in, taking a shortcut to the top.

What was your biggest lesson from 2017 and, more importantly, how will you keep that in mind *this* year?