musings on life

Here, you'll learn about my journey of adulting in the Windy City.

2016 | A Year In Review

You guys, 2016 was a doozy to say the least. But like many of your favorite bloggers have stated, if you haven't already started planning on 2017, you're already late.

For me, 2016 wasn't bad professionally -- I saw one promotion and took on a few additional responsibilities at work. I had some personal challenges, though and my family saw a bit of death. But if nothing else, I gained some lessons this year that I think you'll find valuable too. As I look back over this dramatic year, below are five takeaways you should consider to help make 2017 one of your best years yet:

Choose Your Battles Wisely.

For the most part, I know how to see the bigger picture; I almost always have the end goal in mind. But sometimes, I get caught up in the smallest details (like your favorite account person at an ad agency, no shade) which is frustrating two-fold. It's frustrating for me because I'm seeking perfection and it's frustrating for the person (or people) on the receiving end because they may not see where they are falling short. You can't have a category 10 meltdown everytime something doesn't go as you planned! 

I became pretty fond of the saying, "it's not that deep" this year because I had to remind myself to stay calm and think critically before falling into a doozy. You really have to choose carefully what you allow to impact you.

Set Some (Actionable) Goals.

Admittedly, 2016 was the first year I actually made a vision board for myself. Around this time last year, I knew I wanted to grow and be better and I had all these wonderful ideas, but I hadn't recorded them anywhere. Like myself, many of us are visual learners -- we have to see things on a consistent basis to get it. It's important to set goals for yourself, ones you actually plan to follow through on, because you have to see your progress to know if what you're doing is actually working. On my 2016 vision board, I had 8 areas I wanted to make progress in this year; I can successfully report I made moves in 6 of the 8 areas, but I took on something new that wasn't on the board, too. Now, the two areas I didn't make much progress in this year will be added to next year's vision board (because they are still important to me), but I also know the vision board is simply a guide. The Lord will always lead us in the direction we should go in, but a lil' road map never hurt. Get to mappin'!

Never Stop Studying.

Even if we've decided we're done pursuing a formal (and expensive) education, we're always going to be students. We should never stop studying, learning and perfecting. No matter the industry, you're in you've got to understand the landscape and keep yourself educated about new developments within your field. I keep myself knowledgeable about the general market and multicultural PR landscape because that's profession. Social media news? That's ever changing, but I keep up with that as much as possible. And my blog? Oh, geez. I can find inspiration anywhere. But at the moment, I'm following several bloggers on Instagram, ones that fall in the same category as me, and trying to figure out how I make sure I stand out. You've got see what others are doing to know where you fit in. As a DePaul alumna, I get a quarterly newsletter from the college of communication. Recently, I was perusing and stumbled upon an article about a fellow alumna who is now a full-time lifestyle blogger in LA, Damsel in Dior. I was inspired and reassured I'm not completely nuts for seeing a future in this blogging life.

Incorporate Self-Care.

I used to be really bad about saying, "I don't deserve a break." For the longest, I wouldn't plan a vacation for myself because I didn't feel deserving of one; I thought that I hadn't worked long enough to be taking vacations, so I didn't. Well. I've since moved on from that ideology. I see where I was coming from with that thinking, but there is such a thing as burn out. If you don't provide attention for yourself, there's no way you're performing at 100% on your job, in your relationships, with your friends, etc. You MUST incorporate a little time for yourself to re-charge. Take now for example, I returned from seeing my family in Florida on Tuesday so that I could have a week to myself to rest up before going back to work the next week. You just have to say something for yourself and sometimes that means telling people "no" or prioritizing less important tasks. Everything issue is not urgent. Everytime someone expects you to jump, you don't have to! I'm quick to have some me time now and I'm finding less apology in that. I work hard and I believe it's ok to just be sometimes. Your brain and your body need rest. Black folks are walking around here with permanent PTSD and Trump is the new leader of the free world. It's ok to incorporate a lil' self-care.

Stop Caring So Much About "They."

Khaled has told us several times this year "they" don't want us to be great. Who is "they" you ask? The opps, who else? We're so resilient as a people; we can't allow ourselves to be obsessively  pre-occupied with people or situations that can sometimes stand in our way. Last week, I heard one of the most moving testimonies from the gentleman who does my hair in Florida -- I was so touched by his story, I started to cry. It was simply a triumphant story of having road block after road block for months until finally, the gates opened and a blessing came through. 

"They" are always going to be there. "They" will always have something to say, usually negative. "They" will try to get inside your head and stress you TF out. But you can't let them. Their words and actions cannot break you. You're divinely made :-).

Well, when we meet again, it will be 2017. Thank you for following me on this journey of discovery for kikospeaks and I look forward to sharing more with you all in the coming year. Whatever you're looking to achieve next year, allow the Lord to lead you and consider the above.

Peace and love!