10 Things I Learned in 2016

As with every end-of-year post, it's always good to reflect on what you've learned to move forward into the new year. I know 2016 was rough and we're ready to say goodbye, but let's take a moment reflect so we can move forward. Here are 10 things I learned in 2016:

1. Only put out your best. 
I used to beat myself up for NOT posting every single Wednesday, but I stopped. I have a 9-5. I had projects that came up where I was working until 3:30 am and taking a nap before work. My focus had to change for a bit, hence the lack of posts.

2. Stop trying to be like everyone else. It’s boring. 
I got exhausted feeling like I had to fit in with person A and person B. I wasn’t growing in my business and it became exhausting. So I let it go. I’m not like person A or person B, I’m person C, and that’s more than enough. 

3. Not everyone has it together like you think. 
Time and time again we have to remind ourselves those we look up to, admire, consider “goals” don’t have this picture perfect life. Social media is fake. We can alter what we want people to see to create a vision (you know, because we’re busy building a brand and what not). But the truth of the matter is, we never see what’s going on. I know I’ve been open about depression and anxiety, and I do that to help people realize it’s OK to not be perfect. You’re not and no one else is either, so you’re in great company. 

4. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. 
There area things I’ve been trying to revive from different angles and it’s as good as dead. Note: if it didn’t work the 10th time, it’s not going to work the 11th time. 

5. Being a fan of you is not cocky or selfish. 
Are you afraid to promote yourself? I get it because I am too. And it’s this weird thing of feeling like we’re better than everyone else or not being humble enough. Let me say, it’s OK to promote your talent. You’re a bomb ass photographer? Don’t be afraid to say it. You have a skill people are envious of. 

6. Saying “no” is freeing. 
I’m someone who feels like I have to say because I have to please people. Then I get overwhelmed or stressed out because it’s all TOO much. Sound like you? Learn to say no. No, I don’t think we’re a good match project wise. I’m sorry, while I appreciate you reaching out for web design work, I can’t do it at this time. No is a complete sentence and it’s perfectly alright to say no when you feel it. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

7. Learning comes from all over. 
Whether you’re on the job or taking a webinar, the opportunity to learn comes from all over. My 9-5 allows me to learn and train in areas I didn’t know about. I can tell you I know more about SEO than I did before I started working there, and it helps me in how I design for the web. For 2017, take the opportunity to learn three new things: one that will help you directly in your field, one that is indirectly in your field with the potential to connect, and one just for fun. 

8. Remember your why. 
Like I said earlier, I struggled feeling like I had to be like everyone but me. Then I remembered mine. Why did I feel the need to start FIVE12 STUDIO? What did I find missing? Now, take a nap so you can get to work (note: I was generally sleep deprived when I had these thoughts. Coincidence? I think not). When everything is chaotic around you, unplug, go for a walk and remember yours. Then center yourself around that why. if you feel like you don’t connect with it, that’s OK. Figure out the new why and develop from there.

9. Community is important. 
It doesn’t matter how Daria-like you think you are. Because I was going through a lot last year, I often felt ashamed annoying, so I closed myself off to other people. And maybe it was good to not rely on people as I found my out of this black hole I was in. Maybe, it was the universe’s way of showing I had to rely on my own strength I didn’t know I had. Either way, I’m so used to being alone and doing things alone I forgot about community. Being an only child doesn’t help either because naturally, we’re loaners. However, if my goal is to grow and reach an audience I know is out there, I need to build that community. I need to be around people who challenge me and hold me accountable, just like I need to be around people I can challenge and hold accountable. In 2017, I am focusing on building a community to do that. I have to fight with the introvert side of me to build a community I know I want. 

10. It does get better. 
Y'all, I’m not trying to be corny here, but I promise you this: if 2016 was super rough for you for whatever reason, it WILL get better. It takes time. There might be a few more stings. I'm not going to say you'll wake up one day and, "poof" it's better. I'm saying slowly, day by day, it will get better. One day you'll have the strength to handle the day. Then you'll be able to tackle the day. Then you'll have the strength to fight so hard and WIN. The days will turn into weeks and the weeks will turn into months. You'll look back and realize you actually freakin did it.

As someone who was choosing between train fare and groceries from Dollar Tree last year, I can’t imagine going through what I’ve gone through. It doesn't seem real, honestly. "Was I really hopping around the country trying to find a couch to lay on?" "How did I go from that to literally being able to build my life?" 

Who fell so low into depression I can’t believe I’m seeing the other side of it. 2015 and 2016 are polar opposites of each other.

Keep going because you need to. Keep going because you are needed. Things fall apart, but you do have the power to put it together. Do not be ashamed of your struggle. It will eventually be the fuel you'll need and it will get better in time. You're so much stronger than you think.

If you need help in any way, feel free to inbox me. There’s no email list you need to be put on, no obligation, nothing. The only thing you need to know is you're not alone. 

Happy New Year everyone! Hope it's safe and you YOLO the heck out of it!

Until next time,

Clarissa Nash

Designer, photographer and writer who's half Daria/half bohemian with a pinch of Beyonce.