What a crazy year 2016 has been! It seems like the world has been turned upside down, on times full of heartache, disappointment and despair. It's also been a tough old year in the small business circuit. But while I wouldn't want to do it all again I do think there has been some silver linings, if only that we end the year grateful for what we have, as well a little more resilient at what the world can throw at us. Here's some of the things 2016 has taught me...
Cherish the things you love
It goes without saying that with so much loss in 2016 that we should cherish those nearest and dearest to us, but what about the little things that make us happy? This year I was diagnosed with a rare strain of diabetes and god how I miss chocolate binges! It has made me realise that I shouldn't take for granted the little things that brighten my day, but also shown me that with a bit of determination I can turn things around. By the end of this year I had a gold star from the doctor and have my sugar levels under better control than the average non diabetic and believe me when I say I savour every millimetre of a freddo these days - everything in moderation.
Dance and sing like no one is watching
We've lost so many legends and great talents this year, and as a result I have re-discovered many songs, albums and films which I'd long forgotten. For me personally I was heartbroken to hear about the news of George Michael's death on Christmas Day. As an 80's baby he was one of my idols growing up, and remains this more than ever having read about his big heart and generosity in the wake of his death. His music has been a soundtrack to my life. My best friend and I endlessly listened to his albums growing up as we headed off on road trips, or when getting ready to hit the town and we were privileged enough to see him in concert twice for our 25th and 30th birthdays. In his memory I will sing and dance every time I hear his music!
Do more of what you love
You may remember that at the end of 2015 I changed job. I'd found myself stuck in a rut, marketing a product I wasn't inspired by (insurance) in a hostile environment. As a result I took the decision to return to the arts industry and was lucky enough to find myself heading up a campaigns team of fabulously inspiring individuals at Welsh National Opera. Of course as with any new job, it has been challenging but I've never looked back! Theatre and music truly is my passion, and getting up for work in the morning is never a chore when you're doing something you love. I highly recommend it.
Perseverance is your best friend
As I mentioned its been a tough year in the small business world. Whatever your view on the matter there is little doubt that Brexit has affected sales at least in the short term. Couple this with algorithm changes on social network channels it's certainly been a harder effort to get sales in this year, and I know I'm not the only small business that has felt this way. As a result many businesses have called it a day, but this has just made me more focussed to succeed than ever. I've sourced new lines, tried new marketing tactics, updated the website and just continued to throw everything I can at Shopafrolics learning from mistakes along the way. Here's hoping year 3 is bigger and better than ever.
If you reach for the heavens, you get the stars thrown in
This is a line from the Mary Poppins stage show and it really resonates with me, perhaps as it is similar to what my Grandma always used to say to me. In short you have to believe anything can happen, and that you make your own destiny, before you can overcome the obstacles that often we put in place for ourselves, I'm very lucky to be surrounded by great friends and family as well as a fantastic husband who always remind me how stubborn I am, and believe in me often before I can see it for myself. While to an extent I will always worry what others think (that's part of who I am!) as I get older I am getting more self-confidence. Something which I think is the first step to success.