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How’s your 2017 and how are you moving forward with 2018?
Overall, 2017 has been a roller-coaster ride for me.
But I’m truly grateful because my sweet little prince turned one year old – I survived the first year of motherhood!
After giving birth, I struggled with depression.
It was the first time I came face to face with depression and it was a mental hell. Add to that the fact that there’s a tiny human being I needed to care for. (Aside from my husband, I’m grateful to a friend for pulling me out of that hole. Although she may not be aware of what she did, I’ll always be grateful to her beautiful heart.)
The self-doubts were so serious I sometimes cried thinking I’ve lost my writing mojo, or sometimes I’d think I’m not cut out for this online thing. I thought of walking away and giving up. But thanks to the Advance VA Accountability Team members (this is a mastermind group I’m at) for being on call. This group is like my 911. Just dial in case of emergency!
So here are some lessons I learned from 2017 and how I’m moving forward with 2018.
1. It’s okay to target a certain amount of income but know that money alone isn’t a sole measure of success
I didn’t hit my target income for 2017 but I hit it this month, January 2018. And now I’m working on my next target income. But more than aiming for a specific amount of money, I want to make more impact this 2018.
After all, success isn’t only defined by the income we make but the relationships we build.
To do that, I want to give more value to family, friends, clients, and subscribers.
I want to help subscribers by helping them achieve their goals.
I want to knock my client’s feet off their feet. I want to deliver services that will wow them and make them feel they got more value than the amount of money they paid me.
I want to give more to my family and friends, be it time or effort. Thoughtfulness comes a long, long way.
2. Philippians 4:13
I didn’t realize it right away. I think it was only yesterday that I thought, hey, I hit may target income. If I can do it once, I can do it again. And I can keep doing it. But I refuse to do it alone.
What my battle with depression and self-doubt taught me is that, no matter how smart or strong you are, you are still nothing if you don’t put God first.
Yes, I can achieve some success. But soon the fire will fizzle out if my main source of strength is myself. No matter how strong I am, life can (and will) put me down on my knees. And there is nothing I can do unless I surrender to God.
3. It’s not about me
I know self-doubt will always find a way back to me. I think that’s normal for an entrepreneur or anybody who dares to dream. But at least now I’ve learned a valuable lesson that it’s important to look at the people I’m capable of helping, instead of looking at my own limitations.
The latter will make me feel incompetent. But focusing on helping other people will make me feel empowered.
It’s not about me, but about how God can bless other people through me.
4. Stop the battle between passion versus money
I fell in love with the idea of making money by writing stories. Making a full time living writing novels is in my opinion, every writer’s dream. (Especially that there are lots of author marketing blogs I follow that teach how to do this.)
But sometimes it’s okay to embrace the idea of a starving artist. Not literally starve because there are other ways to make money.
But instead of focusing on offering my products and services as a freelancer or consultant, I romanticized with the idea of writing books alone to make money.
But the whole process gave me so much pressure to finish my novel. And gave me so much stress whether I should continue with freelancing or helping other freelancers.
This stems in the fact that my focus is to sell books, instead of writing the book for the sake of storytelling, for the sake of art, for the sake of feeding my soul as a creative.
The end result? I didn’t finish writing my book and had a hard time making a leap with my online business.
All this time I thought I hadn’t made any significant success in both freelancing and creative writing because I was trying to pursue too many goals. But the problem is, I was pursuing the wrong goals.
So for 2018, I am going to embrace my creative side and not think of making money from it. I’m going to write poems and stories again, whether or not people will read or like it.
I still have a lot to learn and challenges to overcome. And I have a lot of growing up to do. But like what I’ve said, Philippians 4:13.