pittsburgh freelance writer new years

I spent the last week of 2017 sick in bed with the flu. The up side to this is that I had plenty of time to reflect and think to myself–something that isn’t always easy to come by. What I came up with was that, despite my nearly constant worrying about my business, buying a home, and other aspects of my life, I was actually in a solid position to let myself take the week to rest, recover, and recharge and hit the ground running come January 1st.

In between feverish musings and sleepless nights, here’s what I came up with for the positives that came out of this last year.

Learning When to Say “No”

This year, I found myself backed into a corner more than once. A corner that, as it turns out, I’d backed myself into by constantly saying “yes” to others, even if it was ultimately at my own expense. Out of necessity, I have learned to simply, politely, and firmly say “no” in these types of situations. Whether in business or personal relationships, you should never feel guilty for saying “no” to someone so that you can say “yes” to yourself–yes to more free time, yes to your sanity, yes to having more time to expand and improve upon your own goals and ambitions.

Learning When to Say “Yes”

It’s easy to start second-guessing yourself or your goals, especially if you have to learn the hard way about saying “yes” to too many other obligations and not enough of your own. One of the most positive lessons that I think I’ve learned and am still learning is to remain laser-focused on my business, writing, and my personal growth. There have been countless times when I’ve thought about throwing in the towel, but I am incredibly thankful to have been able to say “yes” to myself and continue chugging along and working towards the goal.

Identify the Non-Negotiables

Part of staying focused on the end goal is knowing what that goal is. Don’t lose sight of whatever it is that you can’t live without. For me, I realized that having time for my horse and my own fiction writing were the two non-negotiables that I needed to be able to work around. Once you’ve identified what it is that’s keeping you driving forward, it suddenly becomes much easier to tailor your schedule and other obligations to be able to accommodate those things.

Managing your own startup or small business doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite hobbies or all of your free time.