Lessons I’ve Learnt In 2014
Going On Holiday Alone Is Amazing
In May this year I went to New York to see a lovely friend but she was working the whole week and the plan was I was going to do a lot of things on my own; this was the perfect opportunity to embrace it. I’ve learnt to love my own company this year. I’d never been abroad by myself before (I don’t think I’ve ever gone on a flight that long solo either). I reviewed hotels alone, read books all day on my own, and learned how to eat in restaurants by myself and be comfortable with it. It was one of the best things I did this year, because it was different and made me step outside my comfort zone.
Do What You Want To Do Otherwise You’ll Be Miserable
This year was the year I actually decided on what I wanted. I changed careers. I left a very cushy job with big financial opportunities to do something that made me happier. It’s so easy to be swept away with what other people think is the best thing for you – or what ‘looks better’ from the outside. With both my career, blog and social life I have noticed a massive shift in my happiness because I don’t just do things based on what other people think I should do.
If an opportunity comes up and you’re not sure – you might as well just do it. As Caitlin Moran always says experiences fall into two categories: “amazing things, and things which are awful at the time, which then turn into amazing anecdotes.” I went on a press trip to South Korea this year, a week with strangers in a faraway place. It could have been a disaster with no where to escape. But luckily I had the best time, a brilliant cultural experience and met some lovely lovely people who have now turned into friends.
The secret no-one actual tells you when you’re younger is you can actually do the big stuff. There’s no barrier, it’s all psychological. A lot of people aren’t *actually* that much better than you, they just put themselves out there probably more than you. Aim REALLY high and you’ll be chuffed with the results in no time.
Cut Out The Negative
If it means un-following someone, un-hate-following someone or deleting them off Facebook. Just cut them out.
Read New Books Whenever You Can
I have read some brilliant books that have had a lasting effect on me this year. Books that I have made time for, because if anyone over-works you to the point of not being able to actually read and be inspired, something is seriously wrong. We should ALL have a small percentage of time to read, create, enjoy.
– GIRL BOSS: I loved this book because Sophia Amoruso gave tangible bits of advice in short interesting chapters. Even though it all did seem slightly unattainable it was definitely inspirational to us millennials – how to build a business out of your passion and your community.
– The Opposite Of Loneliness: This is my book of year. I blogged about it back in May upon discovering a blog post by Marina Keegan and became obsessed with her writing. It was lovely to meet Elizabeth from Simon&Schuster this year, who invited me along to a Waterstones event, which then lead to meet Marina’s parents who were so lovely and inspirational. I was then invited to do a special reading at Oxford’s Blackwells on what would have been Marina’s 25th birthday, it was an honour and I will never ever forget it.
– Mistakes I Made At Work: I read this in New York while feeling a bit ‘meh’ about the future (for no real reason). And thank god I read it. This book is an absolute gem for people who want to learn something from other successful amazing women. It includes 25 women and their advice to their younger selves in the workplace – it’s absolutely amazing. In a nutshell: EVERYONE fucks up. I felt a million times stronger after reading this.
Be Aware Of What You Deserve
Whether we’re talking your career, pay, friendship, anything – I’ve realised HOW important it is to know your worth, know what you give out and what you should expect in return.
If you have something to say, say it. You’ll soon know if it was the right thing to do. I don’t regret speaking up about most of things I’ve spoken up about this year. I pushed myself to speak a tiny bit louder, and it’s definitely been worth it.
Literally Do Not Compare Yourself To Anyone Else, Ever
I have felt the dreaded jealously bug a few times this year. I guess the main example is the book deals I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers get have made me feel like shitty for a few minutes, because I thought why them? Why them and not me? Or, why are they writing more quickly than me? But actually I have genuinely only felt mega support for all the people out there doing amazing things because they aren’t my ideas, they aren’t doing the same thing as me – so guess what? There’s room for ALL OF US.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
I had to learn to chill out this year. I learnt it’s OKAY to take a break, to not get anxious about stuff. To just TAKE TIME OFF. You’re allowed.
Do Not To Go To Overpriced Events, You’ll Feel Robbed
This year I discovered NOT to bother going to overpriced events that promise to teach you something. For example a masterclass on “How to turn your blog into a book” and “How to get your book published” were utterly unhelpful. However, meeting up with brilliant people in the industry for coffees and chats, has been awesome and productive.
Say Thank You
Yes we’re all so busy and this year has been a whirlwind of business. But I want to make sure I don’t forget to say thanks to people – people who have helped out, done a favour, said something nice, given me an opportunity. Or even just to my family, friends, boyfriend. I have found it so important to just sometimes say…hey, thanks, btw.
Meet Amazing Women IRL
Meeting Lena Dunham this year was absolutely the icing on the cake. I’ve admired Lena from afar for yonks and being able to meet up and have the BEST CHAT is more than I could have ever asked for. Also going to Dawn O’Porter’s loving BOB clothing launch and seeing Caitlin Moran in action on the kick off event for her book tour in Crouch End was also just completely excellent. Getting to know amazing brilliant ladies including Plum, Laura and Megan have been a real highlight to this year too. I am very grateful to these ladies for their constant wonderful warm support and general loveliness. It makes me love what I do.
Going On New City Breaks
I love going to other cities – I’m definitely a city person over going on big travelling trips. I love a beach as much as the next person but there’s something so exciting about getting totally lost in a new city. I loved visiting Stockholm this year, going into different coffee shops, discovering new food, vintage shops, music stores and finding new books. Can’t describe the feeling I get when I finding a hidden gem in a big city. Also Air B’n’B. So good.
I’ve learnt never ever get complacent. There’s no need to get stressed out about it, but you are also only as good as you’re last piece of work, which means keep going, keep delivering. I’ve learnt it’s also important to experiment, try new things, take new angles, formats, themes, risks – don’t be safe – it makes you better at what you do.
Have More Baths
I know this one sounds silly but it honestly was a game-changer. A shower says “I’m in a rush”, a bath says “I’m going to treat myself, put some time aside and CHILL THE FUCK OUT”. Even if it’s getting up a bit earlier to have a bath, think about your day ahead. Or in the evening putting your phone/laptop/TV away so you can read a book or be with your own thoughts. Also: BATH OIL. Relaxing AND gives you the silkiest of skin.
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