5 Business Lessons From 2016

5 valuable business lessons

Happy New Year! Can you believe we're in a brand new year? Where did the time go!?

At the beginning of each year I like looking back and taking note of things I’ve learned during the previous year. After all, life is for learning, right? Needless to day, there was a LOT of surprising things I learned, both in business and personally. Here’s a look at the top five lessons, in no particular order:

1. You get far by collaboration. No one really achieves greatness alone.

As an introvert, learning this was a bucket of freezing cold water over my entire being. I usually do things alone because I had reasoned that I know exactly what I want to do and that I’ll get there faster because I know how to do it. WRONG! Whether I like to admit it or not, I’ll always need other people to help me achieve my goals.

Another proof of that came from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Now, that name is well-known by now but if it doesn’t sound familiar to you, Lin-Manuel Miranda is the musical genius creator (and bazillion winner of Tonys and Grammys) of the musicals, In The Heights and most famously, Hamilton. I fell really hard into Hamilton rabbit-hole and I’m doing everything I can to get myself to watch a show.

Anyway, I was reading interviews with him to try and figure out how one person managed to achieve SO much and create a cultural phenomenon. You know what I realised? He didn’t do it alone; he had a team of collaborators that he started collaborating with since his high school days.

He mentioned that every Friday he’d meet with Tommy Kail (director of In The Heights and Hamilton) and they’d discuss new ideas. Every Friday without fail! Imagine how much growth, gems and insight came from those meetings. Let me stop here because I could write ten pages about Lin-Manuel Miranda if given the chance. Next up we have:

2. Your family and friends probably won’t support your endeavors

This was yet another thing that was hard for me to learn. I have a big family and a decent number of friends so I falsely believed that whatever I launch, they’d support me and vice-versa. Imagine my disappointment when I launched Allebasi Design and recently my clothing line and it was...crickets.

I got more support from my people I didn’t know than my own family and friends and for quite a time, I did not understand it but now I do. Not everyone is going to support everything you do and you shouldn’t hold it against them either way. Just like not everyone of your target audience is not going to want to work with you, your family and friends don’t have an obligation to give you money in exchange for whatever you offer. It’s tough, especially when you could do with their support but it’s a realistic view of how life really is.

What does one do in this situation? You continue to work hard and show those people who supported you from the get-go that their support means something to you and those people will tell their family and friends about you and the circle will repeat. Wouldn’t it be cool if somewhere down the line, the circle got to your own family and friends and they say, “Hey, I know that person! If people love what he/she does, let me give her/him my money!” Don’t place expectations on your family and friends, just do you and do the most. ;)

3. It’s okay to take time off. In fact, you should take time off

Taking time off will not only do you good but it will do your business good. After all, how much would you really get done when you’re burnt out? You’ll do well to rather book a trip to the Bahamas and sip martinis on the beach or to spend quality time with your family and friends.

And then you can come back to work feeling reinvigorated and keen to tackle those tasks! I don’t know about you, but I also think success would be so much sweeter when my relationship with my family and friends is strong because I didn’t neglect them in favour of my career and goals.

I used to believe that to get where you want to be, you’ll have to be prepared to work unbelievably hard and sleep for like, 4 hours every night. You know what happened after that? I started resenting the work I had to do and was so burnt out that I just felt so tired all the time.

I changed my mindset. Now when I acknowledge that I need rest, I’m not afraid to take some time off. My motto for this year is, “work smart, not hard.” Let’s do it together?

4. Possible doesn’t equal easy.

You know when people say, “your dreams are possible” and you wonder why they lied to you because you tried and failed? They didn’t lie; your dreams are possible but achieving them won’t come easy.

You’ll have to put in the work and it’ll be hard, painstaking work. You’ll probably fail and fail and fail, time and time again but for every failure, you’ll need to try and try and try, time and time again. I’m willing to bet my left kidney that the successful people who you admire probably tried more times than they failed and because of not giving up, they got to live their dreams. For so many, achieving a dream can take a long time. Think, years...even decades. Do you have the patience? Because you’ll need it, and having patience isn’t easy.

Consider people whose dreams are to dance for a world-renowned ballet company or to play Carnegie Hall and the like. They’ll work at their craft from since they are able to walk or hold an instrument. The journey between where they first began and the moment they achieve a dream will be long; full of obstacles, tears, broken hearts and disappointments. All of those things are what will mold you into the person who’s ready to live a dream.

I have so many dreams I want to achieve and many are dreams that I’ve had since I was very little. Working towards them is incredibly hard and presents challenges that sometimes leave me doubting myself. I always try to remember that it is the journey, not the destination because it is on the journey where you discover new things, people, places and you are reinvented over and over again.

The journey is beautiful and it’s what makes possibilities possible. You just need to be prepared to walk the hard road.

5. You’re worth it.

Of course, I gotta save the best lesson for last. How many of us have felt less than because we aren’t getting what we’d hoped for or we aren’t getting recognised for our efforts? I know I have.

How many of us have felt terrified of not getting clients that despite our experience, skills and hard work put into running our businesses, we charged way less than we deserved? I know I have.

This thing of not feeling adequate is a lie! Because you know what? You ARE worth it. You ARE everything. The world is big enough for all of us and for people in the same industry as us. Being yourself is enough and the work you do is enough.

So this year, charge your worth. Charge. Your. Worth. Go into this new year with a new confidence in your skills and your worth. Develop a mantra that you’ll always turn to anytime you’re feeling inadequate.

I believe in you and I’m rooting for you. So...what do you say we make this year the best yet?

Learnt any lessons in 2016? Let me know in the comments below and let’s have a conversation going!

P.S Don't forget to pin this post on your Pinterest account. ;)