Reflecting on 2018

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Although 2019 has already started and people are furiously writing about trends, goals, and everything future-gazing, I wanted to take the time to reflect on 2018. As I sat down to write an end of year Facebook post I realised that I simply had too much to say, so why not turn it into a blog post?

The main conclusion I reached as I sat going through all my pictures, was that 2018 was amazing! Not only that, but I felt very fortunate and blessed to have been able to experience all of it.

So here is a summary of the best things that happened for me in 2018.

  • Goals

It was the first year I set personal goals for myself. I was inspired after hearing several people mention their effectiveness in helping you move forward, and after conversations with friends. I went so far as to create a spreadsheet with categories (why not go all out?!) such as personal, finance, professional etc.

And guess what? The 2 BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals) I set: I accomplished! The first one was to quit my job without another one (in my post “How to know when to quit your job” I talk about some of the reasons).

It had been a process over the past 6 years of getting to know myself better, going through difficult situations at work, and experiencing burnouts, that caused me to question more than once why on earth we put ourselves through these situations, and feel tied down to jobs. Luckily I was supported by friends who encouraged me to go through with this difficult decision.

The second BHAG I set was to move abroad and I accomplished that too! After 8 years living in Geneva, I made it to Amsterdam for a fresh start in a vibrant city. It may not seem like that far but it was still a substantial change, moving from a place where my life was well established, to a city I had visited only once and where I knew no one.

While both of these goals seemed scary when I set them, I have absolutely no regret acting on either of them. They say that setting a goal helps you accomplish it, but if you tell other people about it, it keeps you even more accountable. So once I’d done that, there was no turning back.

  • Personal Development

For a while I had been interested in mental health and professional development, and thinking about turning it into a career. Since I had just decided to quit my job, what better way to pursue this interest than by blogging about it on a regular basis? The idea was that it would help increase my knowledge, and start to raise awareness in my network that it was a topic I took to heart.

By the end of 2018 I had written 28 blog posts, and my blog received the most visits it had since 2011! Not only that, but the best thing was that several people approached me to tell me they had read my blog posts and found them interesting. There’s really nothing better than knowing you are impacting someone, particularly on such a sensitive topic.

In addition, I gave a presentation at Impraise on the topic of mental health. It was nerve wracking to do so but I got a lot of positive feedback (thanks to our tool 😉 ) and was really glad I had done so, as my ambition is always to raise awareness and open dialogue.

  • Professional Development
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While quitting my job was the BHAG, there was more to be done in 2018. One of the reasons I quit was because I aspired to find a job that was more closely aligned with my values. I also wanted to spend more time doing something I enjoyed, after all since we spend 80% of our time at work, why should we spend that time doing things we don’t like?

Applying for the job at Impraise and now working there, fits both of those ambitions. Working for a company whose goal is to improve people’s experience at work through feedback is much more closely aligned with my values and beliefs. And since that’s the case, I am generally doing something I like and believe in (which is not the same when you are working on projects commissioned by clients).

Before leaving Weber Shandwick I also found out that my colleagues and I had won a SABRE award for some work we did on a campaign against IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) which was a very proud moment. It was a campaign I had been very passionate about and I was proud of the work we had done to raise awareness around a rare disease.

  • Everything else

And of course there is much more than that. I was also fortunate enough to be able to travel, and continue to visit my friends who live abroad. Realising the value of those friendships and that we’ve sustained them for so long (some for over 20 years) – was impressive and heartwarming!

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I continued to pursue my passion for dance, travelling for salsa festivals and other dance workshops. Seeing some of the best dancers perform at Summer Dance Forever in Amsterdam, and developing a new dance community in Amsterdam. And I am alwaysaccompanied by talented and inspiring friends in my dancing as well, which makes it even better.

And of course, I met lots of new and interesting people along the way.

Key takeaways

All in all I feel extremely positive about 2018. Sometimes you can get down and focus on the negative, that is certainly my tendency. Which is why I wanted to write this post and reflect again on all the positive things that happened, because they are far greater than the negatives. And by taking time to remember them, you can really take stock of how much you’re able to accomplish in a year!

I also know that none of this would happen if I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone, and accept new challenges and inspiration as they came along. I’ve continued to grow and work on my personal development through coaching, which no doubt has helped me have ever more headspace and self-awareness. And of all of this whilst remembering not to overdo it and take care of my mental health.

What about you, what did you accomplish in 2018?

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