My Biggest Lessons of 2016

Photo: @lakescreates

Photo: @lakescreates

It’s the second last day of the year today (or the last, depending on where you are in the world), and my Instagram feed is full of posts celebrating achievements and amazing adventures of the year gone by. And I LOVE reading this stuff… hearing about what people have managed to pull off is super motivating for me now. The possibilities of things you can do in life excites my mind. But I didn’t always see it this way. There was a time where even if I was happy for the person, these sorts of posts would make me feel like I was falling behind the rest of the world and just couldn’t keep up. Now I’m a little older, wiser and as a result have a confidence in myself that allows me to see this as inspiration rather than a highlight of my own short comings. So rather than talk about my year’s achievements (which I am pretty super proud of), I want to share what I learned instead that helped me reach them.

“You’ve got to start somewhere to make it anywhere.”

 Generally, by the time you get to know about most successful people, they’re at a point where they’re killing the game. This means that unless you knew them personally way back when, it’s very rare that you get to see the what actually happened in the early days to get them to where they are now. We assume they have some kind of freak talent or maybe stumbled upon a secret formula that skyrocketed them to stardom on their first or second attempt.

But my big discovery of the year was that most people are actually not good at things. If you really enjoy something or realise you have what you think is just a minor talent for something, chances are you are more skilled at it than 95% of the population. There are so many things I never thought I’d be able to do years ago because I only saw the “best” and compared myself to them assuming they were always like this. It wasn’t until I trained alongside or immersed myself more closely with these people that I realised where they’d actually come from, and observed the work they put in day in day out to create these opportunities for themselves.

And there’s nothing wrong with being at the bottom; the least successful person in the room, or the gym. Because, that means that everyone around you is a little bit smarter or more successful than you. And hanging around with, learning from and being inspired and motivated by these kinds of people is the fastest way to not only improve yourself but put yourself in the land of opportunity, or “right place, right time” as they say.

“Never compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20.”

Don’t take for granted your little achievements (especially when you first start out with something) or be embarrassed because they seem small compared to the people at the top of the game. People will judge the magnitude of your achievements by the way you portray them. If you’re like “OMG I’m so happy I got 6 people reading my blog post yesterday! That’s like 6 people more than myself that actually find what I have to write about interesting!”, then people will be like “Wow congrats!” And when seeing how happy that makes you, will help you spread the word and help you grow. If they weren’t one of the 6, for sure they’ll be number 7. And if they were, they’re probably thinking “Only 6? How are more people not onto how great this girl’s blog is?!” and go tell all their friends about you. But if you’re like “Ohh I only got like 150 people reading my blog post yesterday”, (and then make some kind of excuse for why you would have more under some other circumstance or whatever), people will just think you’re a failure. Because you think you’re a failure.

The ones that you perceive to be good at stuff just love what they do and are insanely hard workers. You can literally succeed at anything if you work hard enough or try enough times. I’ve seen it… people that just relentlessly try and try and modify and try every different avenue until they eventually get a break through. Not many people see this side of success, and think just because they have a great idea or try something once that it will work. Then when it doesn’t, they give up way too easily. So, if you have talent as well as a solid work ethic, there is a high chance you could very well become the best. Believe it.

Up until this year, I actually believed that because I only started boxing when I was 25, I would never realistically be able to become a world champion. I mean, there are girls who had been doing it since they were like 8 years old! Especially when I started sparring with some of these girls and they were kicking my ass. But it wasn’t long until the sparring was very competitive, and sometimes I was even the one doing the ass kicking. We were helping each other to drastically improve and the quality of the sparring was becoming cause for comment in the gym. The thing that really changed my whole mindset, was when someone pointed out that even though my oppositions had started 1 to 2 decades earlier than I, if you do the maths this meant that I was improving at a rate 5 times faster than what they were. Boom.

To recap…

  • Starting small or at the bottom is ok. Just start.
  • Surround yourself with people smarter than you.
  • Use others’ success for inspiration and don’t lose focus on your goals.
  • Work hard.
  • Celebrate your achievements.

I hope to see you kicking ass in 2017!! Happy New Year (and THANK YOU for reading my blog posts!) Feel free to comment some of the things you’ve achieved this year and give me some inspo going into 2017!