Happy New Year!
As always, time is flying by! At the ending of every year I always like to take a moment to look back and try to reflect and digest all that has transpired. There always seems to be major themes and challenges, places of growth that we didn’t know we needed. While this year seems to not have brought on many external or obvious changes, I know that internally I have matured greatly. Many of my work and personal philosophies were tested and challenged. My goals and aspirations questioned.
Starting your own business brings along a slew of growing pains. It takes some adaptability and resistance, some patience and a bit of vulnerability. If you can imagine, I was forced to change a lot of preexisting ideas of work and of what it means to be creative. It required a vast amount of research, some new skills, a great amount of flexibility, and a strong foundation to pull energy from. It also required a new set of habits. I’m dubbing this year of internal growth as the year of introspection.
The “Professional” and “Personal” Life.
Growing up, we were always reminded the difference between our professional selves, our personal selves, our academic selves etc. I had always compartmentalized and set strict boundaries. But as setbacks or achievements happened in any of these areas I realized how vitally interconnected they are, so much so that it makes no sense to differentiate between them. You are the asset of your work, develop yourself as you would a business project. Take care of yourself as you would a piece of equipment. Being a better you means being more productive, being a better worker, and being even happier. Have a clear idea of what success means to you. No matter what field you are in, there are ups and downs. Don’t place your value in the material world. Know that you are doing great, and that you are capable of achieving even more. Everything you do, do it for people. If you find yourself lost, or not knowing what to do, donate your time and talents. Work on those areas you are not satisfied with. No not everyone can be great in everything, it’s true. But that is not an excuse to never try to get better at it. I was so obsessed with focusing on my strengths that my weaknesses were still weighing me down.
The only goals you achieve are the goals you set.
Patience is a virtue. But the ability to work hard and to work diligently is even more rare. Nothing comes from nothing. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Evaluate and consciously restructure your habits. When you consider your time as an investment, look at what your returns are. Last January I decided to kick up my exercising. I started working out five days a week. The first few weeks were a little difficult. I pushed myself too hard at times, or not enough at other times. Before long, it was a habit and I found myself seeking even more physical activity outside of the gym. Now, missing a day seems like such a waste. Because I had made it a goal, made it a priority, and made it a habit, it stuck, and I’m making progress! Putting this into practice for your creative work is much the same. Working even when you don’t feel like it is an investment in your future happiness. Don’t let the days slip from you. Consciously decide to make progress each day.
Working for yourself requires a strong identity. I wonder how many people are “working for themselves”. It seems our entire lives there are always other people to work for. You work for your parents, you work for your teachers, your professors. You work for a degree, you work for others. You work for your family, or for a paycheck. But this year, I was challenged to work for myself. To figure out why I was doing what I was doing. There’s so much freedom is realizing you have control over where you are heading. Take a step back and reevaluate what you want. Don’t bring yourself down for not having something that you don’t even want in the first place. No one else’s expectations are your own. So set your goals, know who you are and why you do what you do. Then work hard and work diligently. Don’t forget that good things also come to those who simply ask. Learning to reach out and include others isn’t admitting defeat, it’s being smart.
This year was great. I had such an amazing time, saw some beautiful things. Had some adventures and grew up a little. And I am more than ready to take all of these learned lessons and applied knowledge and make an even bigger and better 2016. There are seasons where you need to listen and learn, but coming into this next year it is a season to take action. No need to think so hard, just do and be.
“..the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”
– Jack Kerouac On The Road