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Reflections on 2016

Looking Backward To Move Forward

We have all heard plenty of quotes and sayings about growth. That it isn’t easy or that it’s painful; or on the contrary, that it is exciting. For me, 2016 was a year of many things: accomplishments and challenges, joy and frustration, inner peace and inner turmoil, and ultimately the discovery of some important self-truths. No matter what, 2016 will always personally be treasured, because it was the year Dan and I were married and bought our first home. Professionally, however, it was a challenge. Somewhere along the way, when the excitement died down from the transitions that were happening in my personal life, the pangs of this realization very suddenly hit me about my professional life:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
―Anaïs Nin

For no reason other than making personal decisions to not do what scared me when it was time to start my career, it occurred to me fairly recently that the professional path down which I chose to meander for the last five years (which happened to be the path of least resistance) was taking me into a forest of un-fulfillment and entrapment…a place where my individuality and creativity would slowly go to die.  I realized that I had been fixated on achieving milestones that were on other people’s agendas. Whether those were former employers, colleagues in the business community, friends or family- those agendas were not my own, and the dreams I had once set for myself of a larger-than-life future were in my rear mirror disappearing from view.

Interestingly, when you surrender to the thought of putting your trust in the Universe and open yourself to letting it guide you, shifts begin to happen. The path isn’t always a clear one, the process isn’t always gradual, and the break isn’t always clean. I knew deep down in my soul that in order for my life to start looking like what I used to dream for it, I needed to realign with my creative self and rearrange my professional priorities. Of course, that never comes without collateral damage. Because of those shifts that were happening in my soul, 2016 ended in a completely different way than I imagined. While working through the after-effects of a sudden professional change, here are the ten biggest lessons I learned.

  1. Be who you are. Even if it means you have to make adjustments in your professional or personal life to honor that.
  2. Don’t let anyone guilt you into feeling selfish for prioritizing your needs.
  3. If you have a S.O./life partner, being your happiest, truest, least stressed-out self makes life better for everyone and it makes your relationship stronger.
  4. Contrary to the signals society is throwing at you 150% of the time, sometimes you just need to slow down for a little while and re-center. For me, that little while was 3 months. And I don’t feel an ounce of shame about it.
  5. The Universe is a powerful force. Lean into it and let it guide you. When you do, you will start to notice synchronicity. “I am one with the force, and the force is with me.”
  6. Trust your instincts. You are far more intuitive than you think.
  7. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you aren’t in a situation that’s best for you.
  8. The goals you want to accomplish in life happen when you do little things for long enough. The smaller habits that you force yourself to stick to are the ones that change you most over time. Ex: when you force yourself to go to power yoga 4 days/week for your mind, all of a sudden you will wake up months later and realize you now have those cut arms you always dreamed about. Commit to the process and learn to enjoy it, because that is the only thing that gets results. Shortcuts are not real.
  9. Conflict is unavoidable in life. So learn to find comfort in it and to solve it most gracefully and efficiently. That may end in #1. And that’s okay.
  10. Anything is possible when you stop making excuses and start working to make your dreams come true.

I am stepping into the new year with an open mind and a lot of positive, strong energy. To my fellow dreamers reading this- you have the power to make your wishes come true.

View Comments (8)
  • Wow! I like it! I liked those points you made , i myself sometimes find it difficult to conquer them, but one step at a time I think it is the answer.. have a great 2017!!

  • I love this Ellie! I keep hearing, reading, finding the words that are in my heart, even though my life is in the “not yet” phase, if that makes sense. Thank you!

  • Thank you so much for these beautiful words. Your experience of taking the path of least resistance is something I’m finding to be true for myself and I am trying to find the courage to change that. These lessons have really inspired me to try to start afresh this year and make changes towards a life I am happier with.

    • Hi Abigail, thank you so much for the kind words about this post! I am so glad you can relate to it, and drew some inspiration from it. Best wishes for 2017! Xx, E

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