After a fairly chaotic, challenging and adventurous 2016, I felt a few familiar anxious feelings creeping in over the past week - mainly about not having done enough and achieved all of the things on my 'to do' list. This may seem crazy for lots of you who have watched what I have done this year - but for a self critical perfectionist Virgo like me, there is always more to be strived for. I am ambitious and driven and I like to reach high for things - I am not good at sitting still and while I did spend some time trying to train myself out of that trait this year, I decided I would just embrace my 'get sh*t done' attitude and use the natural energy to create when it came to me.
So when these slightly panicky feelings came in I decided to make a list of all the things that 2016 has given to me. All the things to be grateful for. I have heard lots and lots of negativity about 2016, and I don't doubt that it has been a turbulent year. For me it has been one of the hardest yet, while also being absolutely full of learning and self development. None of that has been 'easy', all has been worth it though.
But without challenges, there is no growth, so here are a few of my 2016 learnings...
January taught me how to say goodbye. Say goodbye to a business that I had created and nurtured since it's birth ten years previous. Say goodbye to the safety net of what I had created. Say goodbye to financial security. Say goodbye to a structure and routine that I had grown accustomed to. Say goodbye to the equestrian world that had been a huge part of my life since aged 4 years old! The end of January was the end of my connection to G-Gee PR & Marketing. January was actually me saying goodbye to a huge part of myself.
February taught me that I need structure and routine and that I should always embrace my natural skills rather than fight them. I had a desire to be more spontaneous, less driven by lists and a daily schedule after leaving my previous business. As I wondered around aimlessly feeling totally lost and hopeless, fighting my instinctive urge to plan because I wanted to be a 'free spirit', I realised that naturally I was an organiser and why on earth was I fighting that? By the end of February I was back to making lists and planning. Always play to your strengths and never, ever try and be something you aren't just because others influence you.
March taught me that whatever you think your life is going to look like, the Universe has a totally different plan for you and you simply have to TRUST. Going full on into Health Coaching after spending the year training with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition was the plan, alongside setting up a foodie business with Mr B. But none of it felt right. I freaked out... like majorly freaked out! Perhaps that is why I scrolled through Instagram searching the hashtag #YTT and within 24 hours had booked my Teacher Training based on a photo. Nothing had ever felt more right!
In a complete panic, in April, I had enlisted the assistance of a Business Coach who I thought would solve all of my problems and give me the answer to my constant questioning of 'what the f*ck was I going to do with my life?'. However, as per March's lesson, April taught me that being authentic and true to me is absolutely fundamental to business because within a few weeks it was very clear that me and said Coach were not aligned with our view points and she promptly fired me as her client and refunded me my money. One of the best things that happened to me this year and I knew that I was on the right path with my coaching business even if it did mean going against the grain!
May came and while I was gearing up for the trip of a lifetime - my Costa Rica adventure. I also had the honour of coaching some amazing women in their mindset and business visions and I am so grateful that I could hold space for them. I see the amazing things they are doing in their lives now and they inspire me every single day - I am so honoured to have been able to play a teeny weeny part in their journeys. May taught me the importance of building a tribe of like minded people to share and connect with. Connection is so important as an entrepreneur.
June... well what can I say about June other than HOLY SH*T did that even happen? My month becoming a yoga teacher in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica with Lauren Rudick and her incredible team. The people I met, the sunsets we saw, the tears, the laughter, the sunshine, the storms, the sweet potato tacos, the million chaturangas, the fear, the doubts, the emotional triggers, the frustration, the adventure. Never will I forget that month - yet at the same time it almost feels like the whole month was a dream! In June I discovered the power of learning and I can honestly say I am now hooked on training, being taught and developing myself as a teacher and as a person. This will definitely not be the last teacher training I go on!
July was a month of transition. Well in fact the whole past year has been transition, but July was spent getting my head around what on earth I was going to do with this certificate I now held! I taught my first ever class in France, in the very barn where we will be holding retreats in 2017, and I knew that despite my nerves and utter terror (especially when a super experienced yogi turned up to class) that this was something I had to share with others. I just couldn't keep it to myself. However in July I had to learn that I couldn't wait until I had reached perfection in order to start teaching - I had to accept that doing my best in that very moment was the only way to get going. Hard for a perfectionist to take I can tell you!
August saw the start of my yoga classes having secured a gorgeous little studio in Tonbridge. I also created a whole new website (the very one you are viewing now) and began the rollercoaster that being a yoga teacher is! I have never felt so tired, I have never ached so much, I have never felt more fear, doubt and terror, but I have also never felt stronger and fulfilled. That first month was EMOTIONAL but utterly incredible. In August I had to accept that NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE ME! And that is OK! When people don't come back to your class it is like a kick in the teeth - you question... what did I do wrong? Why didn't they like it? But accepting that I can't please everyone was hugely important for my journey and was an important lesson not just for my teaching, but also for my approach to life in general.
September taught me that it was better to try and fail, than to not try at all. I had created a fairly ambitious schedule of classes and there were times when I had not even one person come! At the time it felt like a big fat failure, but I turned it around and took it as a learning opportunity and tweaked the timetable and tried some different things! Nothing every happens in that happy little comfort zone and unless you try, you won't ever know!
October was all about trusting my intuition and attempting to flow, not force when it came to my business. Easing off the constant push, push, push, in order to find a little trust. I ran my first one day retreat in East Sussex and nearly cried during the final Savasana of the day as I realised what I had created. I learned that what I love most in my business is holding space for people to grow and find what they need. Whether that is in a yoga class, a coaching session, a one-to-one, or on a retreat - holding that space is where the magic happens. In the same month I also realised the importance of having someone else hold space for me - it is vital to replenishment.
In November I invested once again in a Mentor to help me with my business, it was one of the best things I have done this year - second to my teacher training - because what she has given me in terms of support, gentle guidance and encouragement to be my true self is worth every penny. It gave me back my confidence to coach again and really get clear on what I want from my business and this lead to me creating a complete stress management programme and working with three amazing women to help them find a bit of balance and perspective when it came to anxiety and stress. I loved every minute of our sessions and can't wait to work with more people in 2017! In November I finally felt comfortable with the word 'Coach' and stepped up and owned that title!
December was a month of de-cluttering, consolidating, reviewing and simplifying. It has been a month to reflect on the things that have happened this year and the things I want to take forward to 2017, as well as what I want to let go. I learned in December to let go of old patterns that do not serve me. That meant saying goodbye to the stress, frantic chaos and unnecessary consumption that Christmas always seemed to be. It meant saying goodbye to proving to people how much I loved them by spending lots of money on them and instead being present with them and giving them my time and compassion. December has been a beautiful finale to 2016 and taught me just how important it is to celebrate your achievements - big and small. It also taught me how to be still, which in turn gave me the clarity I have searched for over the past 12 months.
2016... the year of transition!
2016 has been such an adventure. The things above are just a few of my highlights and there are so many other things I have learned. So many people I have met. So many things I have done that I never thought I could.
No year ever goes to plan, there are highs and lows in each, but now is the chance for you to take through the good bits and welcome more of them into your 2017. Take some time over the next few days to focus on what you are grateful for from 2016. You might even be surprised to see there have been some good bits!
Thank you to each and every one of you for making this year what it has been. As I look back at all the lessons I have learned, I can't feel anything but grateful for 2016.
See you in 2017 for so many more adventures!