As the end of the year approaches, I find myself getting into a sort of reflective mood. It’s been one hell of a year, so much has happened over the course of a mere 12 months. 

One of the absolute highlights has been me quitting my corporate job and taking on Dig Mondays full time. It’s been 4 months since I walked out of that stiff office role and although I can’t deny that starting up your own business can be challenging, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel alive again and those close to me have told me they can clearly see the change in me too. I’ve got that twinkle in my eye again!

I want to be completely honest with you though – it hasn’t always come easy. I’ve had ups and downs over the last 4 months. I’ve learnt a lot and want to share this with you, so you can use this to your benefit in 2014. More importantly, by sharing all of this I want to show you that you don’t need to be some kind of superman or superwoman to chase your passions, make a leap of faith, turn your ideas into reality, change careers or all of the above!

Here are the 4 key things I’ve learnt since leaving my corporate career:

1. Make failure your friend

I’ve never come across anyone who likes failure. But, if you want to succeed you’ll have to accept that failure is part of it. I’m afraid there’s no way around it. 

I used to really hate failing at something, especially if it was something I cared about. In situations like this I would take failure personally and beat myself up about it. I’d feel ashamed and embarrassed and would be even stricter on myself next time around, to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. 

The last 4 months have taught me that when you’re venturing into the unknown or trying out new things, you’ll inevitably fail – and that’s OK. They key is not to take it personally, as I did, and realise that you’re just trying out different things to see what works and what doesn’t. What’s the worst that could happen? However, if you do fail, you have been given the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson; dust yourself off and try again.  

2. Beating yourself up doesn’t help

Many of us get frustrated or annoyed with ourselves when things don’t go according to plan or when we don’t get the results we were hoping to see. We blame ourselves and beat ourselves up for failing or not living up to our full potential. 

Through my one-on-one coaching and my own personal experience I’ve learnt that this kind of behaviour doesn’t help us to get where we want to be. It’s doing more damage than good. 

Think about it; when you beat yourself up about the things that have gone wrong, you’re wasting your time picking on the little things and missing out on the important things. How can you learn from your mistakes when your head is filled with anger, frustration and guilt? We all know those are not particularly constructive emotions. 

So when you’re feeling like beating yourself up, take some time out to clear your head. Go for a walk or run. Do some yoga. Meditate. Watch a funny film. Laugh at yourself. Catch up with friends over a glass of wine. Anything to lift your mood and get positive. This will allow you to genuinely learn from your failures. 

3. You have to believe in yourself

I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming self-employed for quite a while before I decided to hand in my notice and take the leap of faith. One of the reasons why it took me so long to turn this idea into reality is because I was subconsciously waiting for those around me (my boyfriend, family, colleagues, friends – you name it) to give me permission to follow my dreams and do the things I love. As you can guess, that didn’t happen. I waited and waited and waited. 

I now realise it’s because I had to believe in myself. It had to come from me. It’s my life, so how could I expect others to make such a big decision for me? 

So if you want to find more fulfilment, chase your passions, change careers or start your own business, you have to decide the time has come – no one else. 

The only person who’s holding you back from whatever it is that you’d like to achieve is yourself. Realise it’s 100% up to you to make 2014 your year. 

You don’t need permission from other people. How you live your life is completely up to you, so set your own rules and do what makes you happy. 

Having said that….

4. Having an army of supporters makes all the difference

As Richard Lalchan wrote in his guest blog post a few weeks ago, you don’t have to do it alone. Having people around you who support you makes all the difference. 

So even though you don’t need other people’s permission, make sure you build an army of people who can support you or cheer you on as you follow your dreams. Whether that army consists of your friends, your other half, members of your family, like-minded peers, a coach or a mentor, is completely up to you. 

When the going gets tough, it’s nice to know that you’re not alone and that you can fall back on your posse of trusted allies.

For now, enjoy the last few days of 2013 and wishing you a sparkling new year! 

Much love,
Iris

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