These photos were taken back at the end of 2016 when life looked much different and yet so much the same. I wasn’t doing a ton of blogging at the time which is why they were never posted, but I love this outfit so much I couldn’t help but share it.
You see, when these photos were taken, I was ready to take on the world and a new year. This year, my thoughts are a bit different. At the beginning of 2017, I was over the moon because I thought I had finally found my thing. Not just something I loved doing/creating, but something that I could build a profitable, thriving business around. And I was totally right. I had created a story strategizing program for entrepreneurs that was making a difference in other people’s lives. That part was so cool.
But, I couldn’t do it. I ran a test group and by the time it was over, I couldn’t get myself in gear to get clients onboard for the next session (and I was completely exhausted… and filled to the brim with anxiety). I knew something wasn’t right. And so, instead of forcing it, I took a step back and really thought about what I wanted my business (and life) to look like. A lot of second guessing and self-doubt later, I FINALLY made the decision to dive full heartedly into creating content for The Gem as a place centered around the real, imperfect, everyday moments that compose ourselves and our stories.
You know those long days when all you want to do is make it home but there’s some kind of construction, obstacle, or accident on every route you try to take to get there? That’s how 2017 felt for me. After a lot of trial and error, I knew in my heart building The Gem was what I wanted to do (but for years I’ve been telling myself trying to blog full time was unrealistic). I knew where I was trying to go and that I could make a career out of it, but getting there was another story. It felt like idea after idea, strategy after strategy fumbled. If it wasn’t the plan that failed, it was my energy to follow through with it. I got smacked with financial struggles, family stuff, and I spent many months not knowing who I was.⠀
I also got hit with many hard truths. There’s a lot of things I used to blame on life that I realized are actually within my control. I realized how much my insecurities and self-doubt actually hold me back and keep me stuck in the same places in life. I’ve realized how many people I’ve pushed away. I’ve also realized things I thought were in my power weren’t ever actually in my hands. I’ve learned that stressing about things that are not in front of me at that moment only takes away from the energy I have to handle them later. ⠀
It’s been hard. I’ve been tested to my limits. But, to be honest, without coming to see all of these things, I don’t think moving forward would be an option. I think this year was necessary in order to bring on what’s coming next. Working on myself and holding myself accountable for the habits and patterns I need to change is the best thing I can do for me and my business. ⠀
If you’ve had an amazing year, soak that in. But, if much of 2017 didn’t go how you wanted it to, look back at what your story is trying to tell you and take something of value from it. You’re a Gem, and it’s on you to find your shine through the roughness. Not every year (perhaps not any year) is going to go exactly according to plan, but there’s always a lesson and another chapter to your story to experience. It’s always a fantastic feeling when we have a great year, but the way we handle adversity is what truly creates a Gem.
There were SO many amazing moments from 2017 as well, here are a few of my favorites:
- Going to Disney with my family and having my grandparents there
- Apple picking at Simmons Farm
- Picking out our Christmas tree
- Escaping by the water
- Going to New York Fashion Week (especially the Alice & Olivia presentation)
- Our romantic little getaway to Hersheypark and The Inn at Westwynd Farm
- Including ice cream as part of my outfit for these photos
- Starting the He Said She Said posts with Shaun
- Investing in this new Ikea desk
- Styling these culottes – which ended up being my favorite outfit from the year
- Spending more time with my family than in previous years
- Learning to cozy up to rejection
- Connecting with these entrepreneurs who all built their brands while dealing with depression
- Getting Shaun to do yoga at PNC park
And here’s a few aspirations I have for 2018 to make this year filled with even more growth and progress:
- Be on time
- Workout at home more
- Go back to a physical planner (I went digital in 2017 and that did not work out well)
- Stop overthinking everything
- Spend more time living and less time stressing
- Get organized
- Make more IRL friends (although I do love all my online besties!)
- Generate a more consistent income from blogging
- Find a hobby that falls outside of business things
- Read at least one book a month
- Journal my thoughts (for me and not the internet) more often
- Buy a new computer
- Take more pictures
- Find (and at least somewhat maintain) inbox zero
How would you summarize your 2017? What unexpected lessons did you learn, and what are you hoping to accomplish in 2018?
Photos: Kate Stutz