I have never been so surprised by an ending of a year. Like.. I'm shocked. Literally cannot believe that 2017 is coming to a close. And maybe this sounds a little weird... but I'm happy to see it go. Not because I haven't enjoyed this year, I have, but it has been a little rough. As I look back over the year I am so grateful for the things I've learned and am so excited at the prospect of a new year with wide opportunities in it.  

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My Biggest Take-Aways from 2017.

1. If you don't feel good about something, don't do it. Listen to your intuition. 

This year began with me being let-go from my job. This is an experience probably most people experience at least once in their lives, but it was a first for me. And much like getting dumped, the rejection stung and my ego was hurt. 

BUT the lesson came in the fact that I had never felt good about accepting that job; literally left the interview with tears streaming down my face, had been seeking other employment the entire time while working there, didn't like my boss, and the list goes on. No job, relationship, house, roommate, or anything else is worth your mental and emotional health. So yeah, if it doesn't make you feel good and won't make you happy, don't do it.  

2. Say what you need to say.

For most of my life I have been the quiet one, the agreeable one, the one without an opinion. That's really not the case, I actually love to talk, know exactly what I want, and have a strong personality. I've just been a MAJOR people pleaser totally terrified of disappointing anyone ever.

I feel like this year marks the year of finally not being afraid to say what I need to say. When you bottle up your thoughts and feelings they always come out worse later. I have had several relationships that meant a lot to me end because of my lack of communicating my needs and desires.

Set boundaries in your relationships, don't be afraid to ask for what you want and declare your opinions, honor others' right to do the same, clear the air when things go sour, and celebrate every success and learn from every mistake as you incorporate these skills into your communication style. 

3. Be vulnerable. Let others love you.

This has been an interesting one to learn this year. I am a very independent person, always have been. I like to be able to take care of myself and never like to be seen as weak or needy. The thing is... we are weak (sometimes) and we are needy. We NEED others. While I will always be an advocate for strong and independent women, and I do believe we should do all we can to be self-sufficient, we all go through times in life where we can't do everything for ourselves.

When I found out I had cancer I didn't want to tell people about it. I didn't want to bring attention to myself. I didn't want people to feel bad for me. So I only told my closest family and friends. But the thing that I realized through that was how heavy of a weight that was to carry and how much better I may have felt if I would have just let people in.

Through those experiences it was brought to my attention how much I was pushing people away I realized I was just afraid to let them in. After that realization I have tried really hard to start allowing others in. Sometimes it feels like I'm breaking out of a shell, and it's painful and hard work, but it's worth it. :)

4. Stop thinking, start doing.

I am an overthinker and a perfectionist. But I'm also a risk taker and have had some experiences this year where I reaped the fruits of taking action. As an entrepreneur you literally never know what you're doing. It's a game of constantly trying something, measuring the results, and trying something else, but if you don't ever start, or try, you will never accomplish anything. Failure is not doing something wrong, the real failure comes from never trying. 

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5. Be kind, always.

I am a very kind person, at least I try to be. This year has been a learning curve for me though because something inside of me seemed to break loose and I all the sudden wanted to say all the things I've never dared say. I think this is a very good thing, but there have been times this year when I've felt like a 5-year old learning what is right and wrong.

I think there are times in our lives when we all feel like little children testing the waters in unknown territory. Speaking my mind has been that for me this year. Because of this, I have had a few relationships go sour and I've realized that being kind is the most important thing above all. That doesn't mean don't have boundaries and it doesn't mean never speak your true feelings. But if you're ever faced with the choice of being kind over being right, I'd say be kind. And then deal with the boundary issue or the frustration or whatever it is. It'll probably go over better. :) 

6. Be grateful for every EXPERIENCE life gives you.

See every experience in life as just that, an EXPERIENCE. I love experiences. When I'm lying on my death bed I I don't want there to be anything I haven't done. In January, when I found out I had cancer, after the initial shock wore off I felt so grateful that I was about to go through something that would give me one more experience to put in my bucket of life knowledge making it easier to relate to others and understand this world and life. 

7. Relax. Things are working for your good. 

Relax. Don't worry so much about where you are headed, because I promise you are on your way. I have spent so much time over the past 3 years feeling stressed and frustrated that I didn't know where I wanted to go in life. Looking back now I know that every single thing was leading my to the path I'm on now and I wish I had just trusted more!

Keep pressing forward, trying new things, and striving for your dreams. A year ago I wanted my business' motto to be "you are on the path to feeling lighter and brighter" but through the year I changed it to "today is the day to feel lighter and brighter" because you can feel that way NOW. Relax and know that everything is coming together. 

So here we go, out with the old and on with the new. A new year with open opportunities in it. There are so many things I want to create this year! How about you?

today is the day to feel lighter and brighter!

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