2016 is the year that will probably go down in the history books as one of the most intense years ever. There were some exceptionally traumatic and violent events, a highly charged and contentious election season, and the loss of so many notably great people that it felt like there was a hit list targeting the best souls. I personally experienced the passing of several people who I cared for, which was very hard to process and the loss also made me feel fragile in ways I didn’t expect.
While 2016 was a year marked by tragedy, there were also positive events like the Olympics that made me feel like anyone could be a champion with hard work and perseverance. I will forever remember 2016 as the year that came to teach.
Here are the top five lessons I learned in 2016:
No person is an island, we all need community
I’m an introvert, I like spending time alone and greatly enjoy my own company. I have friends who I spend time with on occasion and of course my mom, but outside of that, I am the quintessential loner. This year I challenged myself to reach out more and to surround myself with other women who had similar goals. I was struggling to be all things by myself; a self-made career woman, entrepreneur, sister, daughter and everything else in between. Opening myself up taught me the biggest lesson of all. When I started reaching out, joining communities of like-minded women and giving more of myself to those communities I was able to grow as a person. I also learned that women need each other. We all need to support and help each other grow.
Failure is never permanent
After an incredibly challenging 2015, this year was a rebound year for me. I took risks in 2015 that caused me to lose a lot, one of those things was my home and the sense of security I was starting to become accustomed to. I was left having to rebuild my life and career from ground zero. This year I was able to regain what I lost. I moved into a new apartment and celebrated one year on my new job. I managed to find my way again after being lost, and it is a victory I cherish. From that, I learned that no failure is permanent, you can always fight your way back.
There are things that matter and things that don’t
I lost a very close friend this year, it was a sudden blow that I was completely unprepared for. She was one of the most full of life people I knew, she had a heart so pure that at times it was hard to believe she was real. Losing her put a lot in perspective for me. She was always challenging me to try things and not worry so much and it really helped me take stock of the things that really matter. In this life the things that matter enhance your time here on Earth, those that don’t wastes it.Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?- Mary Oliver Click To Tweet
We must raise our level of consciousness
There seemed to be an endless parade of tragedies this year. With each new act of violence reported on the news, I found myself at times too stunned to even speak. However, I learned that silence is not the answer. The pain other’s experience should affect you too. We have a duty to stand up for our fellow man. Violence, bigotry, and racism should never be tolerated. It’s our job to fight against injustice, we can’t turn a blind eye. It’s important that we all raise our collective level of consciousness. The biggest lesson in this was realizing, our words must match our actions.
Confidence is not a sin
This year I learned that it is ok to give yourself credit, to applaud and celebrate your accomplishments. In 2016, I gave up trying to hide my abilities, and I allowed myself to be confident. That confidence allowed me to advocate for myself and take on new responsibilities at work. It also pushed me to work harder in my business and try new things. Having confidence in your abilities is not a sin. You can be humble and still be proud of your success. You can speak up for yourself, and not be afraid to show off your intelligence. When we don’t use our voice or hide our light, we do ourselves a disservice. Confidence gives us the courage to keep fighting for our dreams.
This year was truly one filled with many lessons. As I prepare to enter 2017, I am taking this quote with me: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
What lessons did your learn in 2016?