Wow! Just like that, 2017 is almost over. As we are about to enter a new year, I would like to share with you the lessons I learned in 2017.
But before that, I have a gift for you! I wrote a guide on How to Set Goals for 2018. You can download it for free here.
So here we go.
Lesson 1: It’s okay to say no.
I’m a people pleaser. When friends would ask me to meet them for lunch or snacks or movies, I’d always say yes even if I was already tired that day and all I wanted was to go home and recharge. I’d also say yes even if the venue would take me 2 hours to reach because of traffic. Result? I’d catch colds and I wouldn’t be able to function well on a given week.
Lately, I realized it’s okay to say no sometimes so you can say yes to your health and to the more important things you have to do.
Lesson 2: Learn the art of “Dolce far niente”
It’s an Italian phrase which mean “the sweetness of doing nothing.” I learned that from the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
One of the things I’m so grateful for is that I am doing what I love to do! My passion is my profession. For me, writing or speaking or teaching is as fun as traveling. I enjoy it so much, I don’t even consider it work.
The downside was that, I was such a workaholic. After one project is done, I move on to the next project. I hustle.
One of the things I will consciously do in 2018 and in the years to come is to really stop and celebrate. To savour dolce far niente. This coming 2018, I will set a reward or a celebration for every goal I set and get. Why is this important? To savour the moment and to prevent burnout.
Lesson 3: Delegate and form a team.
This was something new to me which I really loved and was very excited about. In 2017, I hired full-time staff to work with me in the business. I’ve always had a part-time virtual assistant (VA) but I never had a full-time staff.
The act of hiring and delegating was so liberating. I was able to free up a lot of my time. I was able to breathe and work more on the business, not in the business.
The act of hiring also gave me a different perspective. I wasn’t just working for myself. I had to make the business sustainable and profitable because I was now responsible for my team. I wanted to create more jobs. Thank God for my team!
Lesson 4: Support your friends and their advocacies.
As a seminar organizer, I’ve always wondered how it is like to get people and companies to sponsor my events. I haven’t figured out the answer yet.
So in the meantime, I found value in sponsoring other people’s events.
My little company has been sponsoring Bo Sanchez’s Kerygma Conference (KCON) since 2015. It’s a privilege to be a part of an event that inspires thousands of people every year.
In 2017, we levelled up as a sponsor — we went from a Minor Sponsor to a Silver Sponsor. It meant we doubled the amount of our support for KCON.
Then I also sponsored (Gold Sponsor) The Philippines HR Group Summit last Nov 23. In my experience as a speaker and trainer, I had the privilege of speaking with HR practitioners. I admire them for their dedication. They are the go-to guys and gals of the people in their organisation. So I wanted to do something special for them. Thus, the sponsorship.
I was privileged to meet Darwin Rivers, the founder of The Philippines HR Group. He was so down-to-earth and he has a cheerful attitude. A few weeks after the conference, he met up with me and treated me to coffee (I had chocolate) just to express his thanks and appreciation for my support. Such a sweet gesture which I truly appreciated.
By the way, if you are an HR professional and you are reading this, I have a gift for you. I am launching The Philippines HR Newsletter on January 2018. The main idea behind this newsletter is to take care of the people who take care of their people. You may join for free here.
Lesson 5: Dreams do come true.
2017 was my banner year so far. Actually each year keeps getting better and better and I thank God for that. One of my happy dreams was to speak at The Feast in PICC and share before the community that has helped me so much.
That dream came true! I was invited to speak in PICC before thousands of people twice in the first quarter of 2017. Big thanks to JC Libiran and Bro. Alvin Barcelona.
Then on my birth month in October, I also launched my career book Is it Time to Quit Your Job? at the Feast in PICC.
Here’s a secret that Brian Tracy taught me. Write your dreams using 3 P’s — personal, present tense, and positive.
Write your dreams as if they are already happening and envision yourself achieving those dreams. So everyday, I would write down,
“I’m so excited to speak at The Feast PICC today!” I wrote everyday for almost a year, or maybe more than a year. Words became a reality.
Lesson 6: Plan in advance and be more consistent.
This year, we launched 2 books (Mission Happiness and Is it Time to Quit Your Job?), The 90-Day Productivity Planner, and Write University, a platform for workshops. We also had our first-ever public speaking workshop called Speak to Inspire.
In addition, we had our signature seminars and conferences like Mission Happiness Conference (April 2017), How to Write a Book seminar Plus Book Launch 3.0 (July 2017), How to Write a Book seminar Plus Book Launch 4.0 (Sep 2017), and Money&Me Conference-for-a Cause (October 2017).
I love the flexibility of launching and learning along the way. Plus, those launches really served a lot of people. And all those seminars and conferences were sold out!
The thing for improvement would be to plan in advance. Calendar the events early on. Why? Because the days leading to those launches stressed me out. My team and I loved doing them but we felt we were always pressed for time.
So in 2018, things will be better. As early as now, we’re already calendaring (is there such term?) our plans and launches for 2018. This will give me and my team lead time to prepare.
Another learning is to be more consistent in publishing blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos. In 2018, I plan to mega batch creating contents so my team and I can consistently publish fresh contents. Thanks to Amy Porterfield for the recommendation.
Lesson 7: Be careful with your recommendations.
I didn’t realise the extent of influence I had until recently. I realised that people who trust me tend to trust who I trust. They tend to follow who I follow. They also tend to buy from people who they think are associated with me.
There was a seminar I recommended to my friends and my followers. All I recommended was the seminar itself — not the upsells that the speakers in that seminar will pitch. It turned out that my friends/followers thought that since I recommended the seminar, they also thought I also recommended the upsells of all the speakers — which I didn’t.
In fact, I, myself, bought the upsells of two of the speakers a year before and I felt it was not worth my money and time. I was disappointed and I also felt a bit uncomfortable because their values were not aligned to mine. I wouldn’t want any of my friends or followers to feel what I felt or to experience what I experienced — spending tons of money for something that was just wasn’t worth it. I can take it that I lost money and some sleep because of my wrong decisions but I didn’t want my friends and followers to lose money because of the probability that I might have influenced them to buy something I have regretted buying.
So lesson? Be very careful with who you recommend and who you associate with. I’ve also unfollowed some of them on social media.
Lesson 8: Listen to your gut feel.
This was another painful lesson for me, same with lesson 7.
By nature, I believe that everyone is good. By nature, I don’t judge people’s intentions.
In 2017, I trusted some people and I also gave them access to my platform, not just once but many times. I introduced them to my contacts. I gave them opportunities to promote themselves in my platform, and so on.
At the latter part of the year, I felt a bit uncomfortable with some of them. I shrugged it off. But my gut feel was telling me otherwise.
So I sat down and listened to my gut feel. And then I tried to look back at some events in the past and connected the dots. There were red signals all along but I didn’t see those red signals. Because like what I’ve said, I tend to not judge people’s intentions. I tend to be too trusting.
So my advice? Listen to your gut feel.
Here are some red signals to watch out for:
- The person is not service-oriented. He/she wants to be on the receiving side most of the time.
- The person is not grateful. He/she takes things for granted and might even feel entitled.
- The person does not respect the occasion. Example, he/she does not prepare his/her part well.
- Is not committed. Only does things if it’s convenient with him/her.
- Does not support your products or advocacies if he/she doesn’t get anything from it. His main concern seemed to be, “ What can I get from this?” instead of “What can I give? How can I help?”
- The person is always on the lookout on how he’ll/she’ll promote himself/herself but does not care to see what he/she can bring to the table.
Watch out for those red signals. If you see some of those red signals in a business partner or with someone you deal with, be careful. If you feel you have those red signals, take a step back and reflect. Then ask yourself how you can give value, instead of how you can receive something.
Always find ways to give rather than to receive. Always ask yourself, How can I help?” How can I serve? What can I bring to the table?
2018 will be different. I’ll be wiser in my dealings with people. There were some associations where I chose to dissociate from because of these red flags and because our values were not aligned.
While I felt bad that I trusted some people so much, I am grateful I’m learning. It was painful but I got the lesson and that’s what matters.
Lesson 9: Always remain grateful and humble.
Strive to always remain grateful and humble. Who were the people who helped you when you were starting out? Always look back and find time to thank them. Always look back and find time to see how you can bring value to them as well. Who are the person who are journeying with you now? Make time to thank them and show them you are grateful. Then find ways to pay it forward.
As a book writing coach, I’ve had the chance to journey with the students of my online course. I love all of them and I value every single one of them.
In this post, I’d like to make a special mention to author Lud Carluen-Barrica. She’s the author of the book Cruising on Cotton Candy Clouds. Lud exhibits gratitude and humility. When she’s in the Philippines for a short vacation — be it one week or even just one day or two days layover — she’d always find time to meet with me even for just a few minutes or a few hours. She makes time to connect. She remains grateful and humble. I can see she’ll go places.
On a personal note, I have also yet to learn the art of replying to every single person who greeted me on my birthday in October. I received hundreds, or close to a thousand greetings from FB, IG, emails, and sms. I allotted time and I did my best to reply to each and every single one of them but I think I have failed.
So in 2018, I will strive to allot one day or even two days just to reply and say Thank You to all the birthday greetings. If you greeted me and you were not able to receive a reply from me, know that I am soooo grateful for your greetings. Thank you so much!
So, those were the 9 major lessons I learned in 2017. Lessons 1-6 were happy ones while lessons 7-8 were painful ones. Lesson 9 is timeless. I am sooooooo grateful for everything I’ve learned and I hope this post also served you well.
Thank you for journeying with me this 2017! I’m excited to continue journeying with you in 2018 and in the years to come.
Again, I have a gift for you! I wrote a guide on How to Set Goals for 2018. You can download it for free here.
I’d love to hear from you. What were the top lessons you learned in 2017? Kindly share in the comments. Thank you! 🙂
I wish you success and happiness!
P.S. If you need help setting goals for your team or organization, I’d be happy to give the Goal-Setting Talk/Workshop for your team. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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