2018 – My Year in Review

My horoscope for 2018 predicted the following:

“You are to get good exciting opportunity to enhance your prospects on the occupational front, indicates Libra Horoscope 2018. You need to be prepared to accept new challenges to have desired level of success.”

I’m glad to say that this was accurate. 2018 was a year of serious growth in my professional life, and easily the most challenging time in my career thus far. I struggled with adjusting to my new job, and with it came an unhealthy dose of self-doubt and moments of seriously questioning my own ability. I’m proud to report that I’ve made it out on the other side, and although self-doubt still rears its ugly head from time to time, I now have a better handle on how to deal with it. Here are the most significant career lessons that I learned in 2018, all summarized by the most overused clichés in history.

Nobody expects you to be perfect

When I think back to all of the times throughout 2018 that I had serious anxiety, most of those moments are related to unrealistic expectations that I was placing on myself. Once I realized that nobody expected me to know everything right away, and that it was okay to make mistakes, I became way more productive. Instead of sitting there panicking about the fact that I didn’t know how to do something, I got the information that I needed, and got the job done.

Slowing down doesn’t mean failing

This year I moved from bustling downtown Toronto back to my hometown of Ottawa. While the change of pace was an adjustment, I learned to really lean into my new surroundings and take advantage of the tranquility. Yes, I’m naturally a person who finds peace in chaos, but having the opportunity to slow down and be in an environment where I can actually hear my own thoughts gave me a chance to tune in to what it is I wanted and focus on things that I needed to get done.

Closed mouths don’t get fed

I found that the biggest wins that came to me this year were a direct result of me speaking up, raising my hand, and asking for what I wanted. I wanted a pay increase and a job that presented more of a challenge, and I got it. I wanted to work remotely, and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. I wanted to expand my professional network, and I’ve done so 10 fold. Seeing so many things that I wanted come into fruition was not only exciting, it was empowering. I’m so excited to get clear on my goals for 2019 and get to work on achieving them.

Spending time on yourself is crucial

This is a lesson that I learned the hard way. As my career emerged as a top priority in 2018, things like my mental and physical health took a back seat. Unfortunately I’ve been seeing and feeling the effects of this, especially in the last couple of months. I’m thankful to be feeling these effects, however, because it serves as a confirmation to me that in order to feel and perform my best, I need to put in the time to focus on myself outside of work.

Success is on the other side of fear

Many of my successes this year came after some of my most intense moments of fear and anxiety. But I’ve learned that when fear comes, that’s when it’s time to dig in and really go for it. Because yes, failing is an option, but there’s no greater failure than not trying at all.

I hope that 2019 brings me even more valuable lessons than last year did. My goal for 2019 is to get comfortable with putting myself out there. Part of my plan to accomplish that goal is to post regularly on this blog, whether it’s quick updates about my own professional career, video guides on how to overcome specific roadblocks or interviews with badass leaders and entrepreneurs. Check back weekly for new content, and follow @ItsJustVanessa on Twitter and Instagram to connect with me directly! 

What was your biggest lesson of 2018?

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