2016 was a big year for me. A lot of change, a lot of learning and progress, a lot of stressful moments, A LOT of “I have absolutely no idea how to do this, (but I’ll pretend I do!)”, and most importantly, some of the best highlights of my life.
It saw the turning point of my career as a blogger; where by each month I consistently worked with brands to create unique and exciting content and finally matching my dream job with a good living. That’s compared to 2015 which was a pretty stop-start year (and the year I created www.leanlivinggirl.com).
It saw me turning into a ‘Mrs’ from a ‘Miss’ and marrying the most incredible man, who I grow ever thankful for; seemingly following a strong correlation with how stressful work gets! He never loses his patience, he’s forever supportive and is always there to pick up the cleaning brush when I’ve turned our home into a cooking bombsight and I’m too tired to do anything but eat!
It saw some of the biggest lows and most amazing highs, and these are the lessons I would like to impart to myself, and to anyone else who might find them useful.
And in connection with that, fake it till you make it! And I don’t mean becoming ‘famous’ or whatever that is – I mean ‘making it’ in your career.
There were so many times last year that I was asked to create things I had no idea how to. Better yet, I would pitch for collaborations, step out of the meeting afterwards and think, ‘where on earth did that come from (why did I suggest that!) and where do I even start!?’.
Be it creating a detailed contract, a specific shot, a video compilation, a recipe or even just having the creative prowess to grab a captivating audience out of a not-so-thrilling product.
I would agree to things and then spend the next few days panicked about producing the content to the standard both myself and the brand would want, or how I was going to speak in-front of that huge crowd. Would my readers like it? How can I make it work best for both parties?
But, I’ve always been told to grab hold of opportunities as they arise, no matter how scary or difficult they may seem. That is how we grow as individuals and in business, and learn about ourselves and what we can really accomplish.
So, sometimes it’s okay to not have all the answers at once. Say yes, and figure the rest out later. You will work it out, you will succeed, and you will most importantly learn – a new skill, a new passion, a new USP. Nothing good ever came to us by not pushing outside of the comfort zone.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or offer it back
I was reading a book recently called “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi and it talks about relationships. That the foundation of everything we do in life circles around that one thing. In order to succeed in business, whether you’re your own boss or working in a corporate firm, having good relationships with people will undoubtedly help you.
That’s why I think teaching children to ‘always be kind’, to ‘always share’ is far more deep-rooted than we realise.
I think sometimes there is a stigma around asking someone for help, be it advice, an email address you need or an important introduction. It’s sometimes perceived as rude … but what are we all here for if not to work together and help each other? Life is not about walking around in your own box, having futile conversations and never developing your relationships and possibilities. It’s about sharing what we know, helping where we can and giving someone that push if it’s possible for us to do so.
Don’t get me wrong, help can be asked for in ways that are in-fact rude and ungracious, but done the right way – never be afraid to ask the question. Similarly, always do your best to help anyone when they come to you.
3. Nothing ever feels quite as good as achieving it yourself
I’ve never talked about this before on the blog or any other channels because I aline it with a sense of embarrassment and I believe it gives off an opinion that I no longer want associated with me.
Rewind 5 years and I’m working in Real Estate in London. I’m also dating, a lot, and pretty much, I have no big career aspirations. I know I want an extremely comfortable life – the chance to have 6+ kids that I can feel financially free with, I want to travel the world in luxury hotels and never think twice about giving a gift or having dinner with a friend because of money. I wanted to, and I still do want to, be finically free and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Although, that conversation is for another day.
(I talk about money rather than health, love and family, because this is the point I’m trying to make – not because I feel it’s anywhere as important as the latter.)
The big, HUGE, difference between now and then is that 5 years ago, I was pretty damn happy for that to be handed to me on a plate. I was happy to work, but I had accepted the fact that given I had no idea what I wanted to do, that the financial freedom probably wasn’t going to come from me, and so it was okay with me to meet someone who was also going to be that support system.
My word, was I wrong.
My feelings on the subject now couldn’t be further removed from what I thought 5 years ago. I want to succeed, I want to work hard, and I want to accomplish something – because that fulfilment cannot come from anywhere else. That can’t even come from being loved and being healthy.
Fulfilment is not a word I ever grasped the true meaning of until I started Lean Living Girl. If I can teach my children anything, it’s to never give that to anyone else – it should be ours to take, ours to feel, and ours to enjoy. 2016 was a huge year in solidifying and engraining that message in every part of me. I wouldn’t, and couldn’t, ever go back to how I used to feel. I encourage anyone who was in my shoes, brought about because you don’t like your job or don’t know what you want to do, to quit!! Leave it, go try something new, go work as a poorly paid intern – that’s how I discovered blogging. You really never know where life will take you.
4. Make sure you never settle
And this one is for the matters of the heart. As you well know, this August I got married at the ‘ripe old age’ of 24. I always get that “I’m congratulating you on the outside, but my god you’re so young poor darling, it’ll never last”, look.
I don’t mind because I know what I have with Jack.
Ever since I was little I’ve always wanted to get married and have kids young, just a personal thing which, to be honest, has yet to waver. But even if I hadn’t met Jack, and I was 40 years of age (which isn’t old fyi!), then there is no way I would marry and settle for someone who didn’t compliment me in the way a partner should, just to tick that box.
This year has taught me that because, without him at my side, I know I wouldn’t have got to where I am NEARLY as quickly, as happily or as successfully. The person you spend your life with, and literally every waking minute of the day with, should be someone who lifts you up and influences your life, your mindset and character in a hugely positive way. Jack does just that.
These are my 2016 life lessons. They’ll be coming through with me to 2017, where I’m sure I’ll face even more challenges and come back next year with 10 additional ones to share!
What did you learn in 2016? About yourself, about work? What lessons are too invaluable for you to forget?
I hope you found these useful and I thank you once again for supporting Lean Living Girl throughout this last year. Here’s for more great moments to come!
Carly I always feel so positive and like I can achieve anything when I read your blogs. I love your posts on Insta and to see you achieving your goals! Definitely a role model for me and if I am ever in Dubai I would love to meet you :-) Here’s to a happy healthy 2017, Kerry x
Kerry – what a lovely comment!! So sweet of you and really appreciate it :) Absolutely let me know if you’re ever here and hope you have the best year! xxx
As usual, love the incredibly honest tone of your blogs. As someone who has known & loved you throughout the years (including the ‘dating’ years you mention haha – its such a pleasure to see you grow so much and be so happy. Truly inspirational xxxx
Hannah! That’s so kind and touching of you, we couldn’t do what we do without the people around us. Here’s to a very successful pocket guru! xxx
Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!