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7 Things I Learned in 2017

Well, we've come to the end of another year. For me, this year was very interesting. But interesting in a good way. I've learned quite a bit. Some lessons were easy, other lessons (as with the ones that really teach you something), were hard to swallow. As I get prepped for 2018 and what that's going to bring, I wanted to share the seven most important things that I learned this year. 

1. I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends.
Earlier in the year I did a blog post of some of the most important people in my life. If you missed it, you can read it here. But I’m also talking about the other small business and marketing professionals that I’ve had to opportunity to meet and get to know over the past year. I’ve learned so much from them and the one thing that impressed me the most with these people is how willing they are to share their advice and give of something very precious: their time. 

I don’t want to take the thunder out of lesson #6, but I’ve learned how important networking can be this year. Networking still scares me a little bit, but I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone and attend more networking events to meet new people. Sure the first 30 seconds of an introduction can be scary. Once you get past that, the rest is cake. 

2. Use Instagram Stories More
I’m not a huge Snapchat fan, so I wasn’t sure about the Instagram stories. I LOVE THESE. What I’ve learned is that people who may not necessarily engage with me through my Instagram posts, are looking at my stories. It’s cool to hide little tidbits of your day into the stories and give your followers a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), because your stories are only visible for 24 hours. My hats off to Instagram for integrating this into the platform. Now, if we can get a scheduling tool built into the platform like Facebook, that would be awesome. 

3. Give Before You Get.
This statement goes beyond business. I think that it’s a staple component to being a GHB (Good Human Being). It’s easy to pick out the people who have the What’s In It For Me mindset. Think greasy used car salesmen. Be willing to give before you get something in return. Whether it’s advice, content or your time, give first. It makes you feel pretty dang good actually. I enjoy giving presents than getting them. I enjoy watching the person’s expression as they open up the gift and seeing the joy (hopefully unless I bought them some gag gift) on their faces. 

4. Gary Vee has a Potty Mouth. But Damn, He Spits Truth.
I discovered this foul-mouthed serial entrepreneur this year. If you haven’t, you’re missing out. Check his website out here. It will take you to his Instagram, FB, Snapchat, Twitter, podcast and YouTube channel. Listening to Gary speak makes me realize I’m not crazy sometimes. He walks his talk. He’s also written a few books (which are on my 2018 reading list) on entrepreneurship, social media and selling. 

5. Put the Phone Down.
’m terrible at this. It’s one of my goals for 2018 to not be so attached to the damn thing so much. But it’s so hard when it’s part of my job! I have a friend who puts her phone away on Sundays and doesn’t really check it at all. I feel like we’ve lost our ability to verbally communicate with other humans because of this wonderful piece of technology. Don’t believe me? Go to any restaurant and look around; see how many couples/families are on their phones. Social media, in theory, is a beautiful thing. But, like with any good thing, people can take it to extremes. 

You want to play a fun game the next time you’re out to dinner with a group of friends? Put your phones in the middle of the table, face down. First person to grab their phone, pays for dinner. Sit back and watch some people freak.

6. Connect.
I’m using some of my thunder from lesson 1 to roll into lesson 6. Connect more. It’s simple. Connect more with people. Connect more with yourself, your passions and your goals. Ferris Bueller said it best: “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So you’ve gone to the networking event and passed out your business card and received some in return. CONNECT! Email that person. Ask them to meet for coffee. Get to know them. 

Don’t forget to connect with yourself. Take some time for you, both mentally and physically. I've got the physical part nailed down; I work out about 5 times a week. What I desperately need to work on is my mental game. My blessing and curse as a right-brained thinker is that I'm all over the place, pretty much all of the time. Something I'm planning to work on for 2018 is working to stay present and not get so caught up in the random thoughts that pop into my head (and believe, they pop in there quite a bit!)

7. Plan Your Work. Work Your Plan.
Before I head into 2018, I’ll be sitting down to map out my plan for the year. What my goals are both personally and professionally (I hate the word resolution, by the way). I’ve done goal setting since high school swimming. It’s not enough to write down what you want, you have to have a plan to get there. And it’s not enough to just write down that plan, you have to execute it. It’s ok if you adjust the plan, too. If something’s not working, there’s no rule that says you have to keep doing it. 

Thank you for being a part of my 2017. Here's to 2018.