A Look Back at 2016
2016 was a rough year for most of us, but I wanted to start the New Year by reflecting on the good that came out of the past 12 months. Here are my five personal top fives of 2016.
TOP 5 YASSSSS MOMENTS
Despite the multitude of challenges that came with 2016, I had some major moments I’m grateful for.
1. Your girl got engaged
The man of my dreams surprised me with an amazing proposal, surrounded by our closest friends and family. Of course I said yes!
2. Launched my website
After countless hours moving photos over half a millimeter and changing fonts a thousand times, I built and launched my website all on my own.
3. Secured great clients
I got the chance to work with clients whose brands I really believed in and I’m proud to say every one of them loved my work and have referred me to friends and colleagues.
4. Got published
Go to Elite Daily and type my name in the search bar. Now, Thought Catalog. Yup, that’s me! I’ve also picked up ghostwriting this year and written content for clients that has been published in Forbes, Elle, Madame Noire and Huffington Post.
5. Got a Brand New ‘Do
I spent years deliberating about cutting my hair and this summer I finally worked up the courage to do it. As if going half-bald wasn’t bold enough, I dyed my remaining hair magenta, because why not?
TOP 5 BLOG POSTS
Every Sunday, since March 20th, I’ve religiously posted a new piece on my blog. I’ve been proud of most of them, but these five are at the top of my list for the year.
I know I started the year excited to follow my passions. After all, it’s what you’re encouraged to do. This post tells you what others won’t about making your passion into a career.
After spending the better part of the year freelancing, I’ve discovered a few things I wish all my clients knew. Judging by the attention this post got, I’d say a lot of other freelancers agree.
After Colin Kaepernick pissed off a bunch of racists when he took a knee during the national anthem, I shared my thoughts on the importance of being unapologetically black in the face of racism.
Remember my “yassss” moment when I cut off all my hair? I dished on why I did it and why it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The post that started it all—the very first piece I wrote for the launch of my new website on the importance of following your passions.
TOP 5 LESSONS
Life is my favourite teacher, and she’s been busy dropping knowledge on me this year. I’ve learned a lot of key lessons I’ll be taking into 2017 and every year beyond. These five in particular stand out.
1. Leap anyway
In the face of fear, leap anyway. Two things will happen. You’ll either fall and learn from your failure, or fly and soar to new heights.
2. Don’t sweat the haters
There’s no time for fretting about people who talk shit, throw shade, or ignore your success. Be grateful for the ones who clap when you win and ignore the rest.
3. Money isn’t the only currency
Sometimes a massive discount or pro bono job will earn you great referrals. Cash is great, and getting paid is key, but keep your eyes open for opportunities to earn other assets.
4. Relish your truth
Tell your stories. Own your truth. Be unabashed with your authenticity. Those who love you will accept it. Those who reject you are not your concern.
5. Enjoy your life
Don’t get so caught up in the hunt for success that you forget to stop and enjoy your life. Take time to do the things that make your heart sing.
TOP 5 GIRL BOSS INSPIRATIONS
There’s nothing I love more than seeing other women flourish. These five women have been a huge inspiration to me and I was honoured to work with each of them in one capacity or another this year.
1. Amanda Dookie
Founder of Heal Her Heart, an organization designed to help women who have survived trauma begin their journey toward healing. Her platform helped me begin to deal with my own pain and watching her grow the seed of this idea into a full-fledged non-profit was incredible.
2. Pauleanna Reid/Safia Bartholomew
Co-founders of New Girl on the Block, a mentorship program that’s way sicker than your average. Their mentorship and support were key to my success this year. With their help, I launched my site, grew my brand, and quadrupled my profits.
3. Makini Smith
Mentor, motivational speaker and author of A Walk in my Stilettos. Her dedication to using her life to help other women overcome their difficult circumstances and grow through their struggles reminds me of the importance of telling my stories and speaking my truth.
4. Aisha Addo
Founder of DriveHER. She took her own terrifying experience with a taxi driver and turned it into a ride-sharing service that aims to keep other women from having to feel that fear. Her drive and determination to make this brand happen, even in the face of harsh criticism, is nothing short of amazing.
5. Chivon John
Founder of Secrets of a Side Hustler. She’s soft-spoken and humble, but she’s a quiet force. Between Grace, Grit & Hustle, a killer event for female entrepreneurs, #SideHustleChat, a weekly Twitter chat for part-time entrepreners, she’s given me some gems that have helped me through my journey.
TOP 5 THINGS I’M LEAVING BEHIND
I made a lot of mistakes and carried a lot of baggage in 2016. Here are the things that aren't coming with me into 2017.
1. Self-doubt – because I’m too good at what I do to believe I’m anything less than a boss.
2. This extra meat around my waist – because I’m not feeling it so it doesn’t get to stay.
3. Sleep-deprivation – because all hustle and no chill isn’t a badge of honour.
4. Debt – because I need OSAP to get all the way out of my life.
5. Procrastination – because I’m over standing in the way of my own success.
Creating these lists was an important reminder to me that even the darkest clouds have silver linings. I'm grateful for all that 2016 brought me and I cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store. @@I plan to hustle with intention, pursue my passions relentlessly and surround myself with people who push me to be better.@@ If your 2016 was rough, I hope you are able to find your own silver lining and that 2017 is kinder to you. Feel free to share your yasss moments, lessons learned, and the things you're leaving behind in the comments.
Love, blessings, & all that jazz,
Your Favourite Wordsmith