Can you believe it’s the end of the first week of February already? If your answer is yes, join our club because neither can we! It seems like every new year goes faster than the previous one and catches us off guard. The upside is that it also gives us a chance to peek back and reflect on the learnings that impacted us the most in the past year. We’re thrilled to have made it into the new year (in one piece!), and even more excited to apply what we learned in 2017 to do better.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.”– Maya Angelou
Here are our 10 most profound takeaways from 2017 that will help you flourish in 2018:
1. Sometimes we soldier on not because we’re exceptionally strong or resilient but simply because we have no choice.
2017 was an extremely tough year for me professionally. It didn’t help that there was so much turmoil, divisiveness, and angst in the world. There were times when I just wanted to escape to my own little safe place and do nothing! In reality, it simply wasn’t an option.
When you have mouths to feed, bills to pay and family to care for, you must find a way to pick yourself up and make things happen. For me, that meant giving more of myself to those around me even when I didn’t feel like it, surrounding myself with positive people, and continuing to do the things I love most (dance, yoga, publishing in this blog, exercising, reading, and hiking.) They served as the fuel that sustained me through my rough patch.
2. We must speak up against sexual violence
When you see something, say something. There is no year that made this statement more poignant than in 2017. As we move through 2018, we must reject any fear of speaking up about sexual assault or abuse, bring all the perpetrators to justice, and support the victims in any way possible. #Timesup.
3. There’s strength in numbers
From the powerful #metoo and #timesup movements to celebrating the anniversary of the Women’s March with +20,000 strong marching women (and some phenomenal men) in January 2018, we sent a loud and clear message to the world that we will no longer tolerate injustice and unequal treatment. Together, we will continue to rise in sisterhood and solidarity.
4. We must support each other to thrive
We cannot wait for others to mentor, inspire, and champion for us. Those of us in positions of power and influence, and with financial resources and broad networks must do everything it takes to support women and girls across the globe. Whether it’s fighting against sexual assault, providing funding for business and education or whatever else we need to flourish, we have to be committed to supporting each other to the best of our capabilities. Marching without action is fruitless!
5. We’re in charge of our reproductive rights
No one has the right to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies. NO ONE! Only we know what’s best for us so if you don’t have our anatomy or not walking in our shoes, keep it moving! We must reject judgment and pressure to conform to other people’s beliefs.
6. No shame in not wanting to have children
Not every woman wants motherhood and that’s okay. We must stop pressuring or shaming women for their choices and celebrate them for all their achievements. Traci Ellis Ross sums it up well in this Glamour video speech. Click on the link to hear her speech in its entirety. Only we can define our success.
7. Sometimes we have to let go of our loved ones to protect our hearts
It’s not that we love them any less. We’re just setting the boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable in our relationships. We must demand respect and kindness from everyone around us, friends and family alike.
8. We must change the narrative
It is our responsibility to change the perception of women for future generations. How? By making a few simple adjustments:
- The “pussy” word is not an insult! The next time someone says it to you to make you feel weak, smile and say thank you because to the contrary, the vagina IS arguably the strongest organ in the world! It can give life to multiple children, recover quickly, and continue to function without a hitch. How ironic that when we want to express that someone is brave or fearless, we say that they’re “ballsy” yet testicles are the most sensitive organs of the male anatomy. It’s time to change perceptions.
- It’s okay to be emotional. That’s what’s make us empathetic and compassionate beings.
- Stop calling girls and women bossy or aggressive when they stand up for themselves. Call them assertive.
- We don’t need to be like men to be successful in the workplace. Our unique qualities – nurturing, compassionate, empathetic, emotional – are what makes us effective leaders.
8. Stay positive no matter what
It’s simple. The universe will return the favor and reward you for it. You get what you put out. This doesn’t mean that you squash negative emotions. To the contrary, you must allow yourself to feel angry, sad, anxious, disappointed, frustrated or whatever else depending on your experience. The trick is not to wallow in it. Allow yourself to have a pity party if you must and then move on. Life’s too short.
9. Financial security gives you independence, freedom and peace of mind
When you’re self-reliant; i.e can take care of yourself and your children, you’re less likely to stay in unhealthy relationships and to protect yourself from mental and emotional harm. It will sustain you when you’re most vulnerable. Always maintain a 6-month emergency fund. The good news is that you don’t have to earn a lot of money to build one. Saving a little at a time goes a long way. Utilize the investment and startup resources available today to show you how to secure your financial future.
Here are are some additional resources to get you going:
10. Stay away from negative news stories, especially political ones
Want to lower your anxiety and keep your blood pressure low in these trying times? Focus on the stories that educate, inspire, entertain, and empower you.
Being aware of our history allows us to evolve. Although we must not let our past experiences define our future, we can draw on them to help us do better.
Here’s to a successful 2018 where we gain more equality, find justice for sexual assault victims, protect our reproductive rights, hearts, and minds, invest in our future, stay positive, change perceptions, and support one another.
What about you gapmusers? What did you learn in 2017 that will help you do better in 2018? Please share below with us and our readers so we too can be inspired and thrive.