2016 was definitely a doozey - While the past year had its ups and downs, there was a lot of room for growth. Every thing in life happens for a reason; no matter how good or bad the situation may be. It's up to you to take what you need from it to grow.
Life is all about learning lessons and that's why I've put together 16 of the most important ones I learned this past year. Some have made me laugh, some made me cry but more importantly they all helped me get to where I am today.
1. You can make your life anything you want it to be
Don’t fear success, it’s one of the most beautiful things that can happen to you. Before starting on this exciting journey, define success for yourself. Everybody has their own destiny, whether it be running a business, building a family or traveling the world… you define what you want your life to look like.
Picture what you want, put it out into the universe, work to make it happen and only good things will come in return.
2. Act like you own the room
This is a lesson I’m still learning myself, but know it’s an important aspect of growing a business. No matter who you are or what you’re doing it’s important to believe in yourself. Whether you have 5,000 or 50,000 followers, act like you own a room. Reach out to people who you think might under appreciate you, collaborate with brands you think are too big and stop under estimating your potential. That one gig, one connection may get you exactly where you need to be.
3. Don't judge a book by it's cover
When I was last in LA I ended up in a shady part of Venice Beach at night. I was chatting with some people I normally wouldn't have if I were in Toronto. Around me was a community of the homeless, tented up all down the boardwalk, ready to wake in the morning to perform or craft.. After 45 minutes flew by, I took my walls down, my fears subsided and realized I was talking to people just like you and me.
I met a woman living on the streets dealing with drug abuse, a man who had a home only 2 hours away, yet preferred sleeping on the streets.... but only a few feet from me was the woman I feared most, talking and laughing to nothing, scratching her arms and in a whole other reality. Or so that’s what it seemed.
I had over 300$ in my purse that night (it’s not something I would do again) but the only thing those people took from me was my ignorance.
6 days passed by as I was packing my bags and dragging them into the car. I saw that same woman I feared, walking down the streets… avoiding eye contact, she still had the courage to come over and say to me:
“Chloe, right? I hope you had a good trip” and continued to walk down the boardwalk, slipping back in her own reality….
4. Your mind controls your body
This has been a tough lesson for me to learn, not that I can’t get it into my head; but when I get comfortable, I stop focusing on keeping my mind, body and soul in harmony.
The other day I was in the shower, watching my toes move in the water. I didn’t even realize I was moving them but my brain certainly did. It put everything into perspective for me. If my brain and thoughts could subconsciously tell my body to move, then my brain must be telling my body to do other things...without me even knowing it.
When I got sick, it was my mind telling me to slow down. There was nothing wrong with me, my body was perfectly fine but it was my mind that wasn’t. It’s important not to take your thoughts for granted, they are a crucial piece to being happy, healthy and complete.
5. If you're lazy, create a career around being lazy
This is more a metaphor than anything, I love working from home and more importantly in bed! So deciding to become a blogger was the best decision for me! Get a grasp how you like to spend your everyday and create a life around it... I would be miserable as a lawyer (what I used to want to be). I like sleep wayyyyy too much.
6. Find out who you are before you try to find out who anyone else is.
Some of our biggest flaws lie in misunderstanding, especially when it's about ourselves. We're really good at giving people advice about their lives when we don't even understand our own. We build a life, career, a family before knowing who we are and who we really want to be. Then 20 years down the road we find ourselves unhappy only to blame ourselves for not figuring it out sooner. I know society has a plan, go to college, get married, have kids... but we get to choose the journey there. Don't be afraid to uncover your hidden truths, it'll make knowing everyone else that much easier.
7. There comes an age where you should stop expecting people to make a big deal out of your birthday
That age is 18. End of story.
8. Pain turns into strength
It took me a long time to learn this lesson, I used to enjoy feeling bad for myself. Pity the hardships life put me through, I was angry... still am sometimes. This year I witnessed pain turn into strength, I watched with my own eyes, bad turn into good; it's just what you do with it.
Watching my moms chemical imbalances cause her seizures kept me away from drugs, getting sick stopped me from going to university and falling down only taught me how to bring myself back up. All the things I worried about in the moment lead me on a better path, it just took time to see it.
9. I don’t like working for anyone, I like working with everyone.
Working my entire life to make someone else rich, isn’t what I was brought into this world for. If I’m gonna make anyone rich, it’s going to be me; And once I’m in a secure, influential place in my career, I can help those around me get rich too. Every mainstream job I’ve had has been a hierarchy. There’s a CEO, a second hand man, the employees that work for them and even the interns. It may be necessary to withstand when starting your career, but in the long run… being your own boss is that much more fulfilling.
10. You can’t always control what happens in life, but you can control how you react to it.
Shitty things happen, it's life! You can't necessarily control other peoples actions but you can control how you react to them. No matter how bad a situation may be it's all about perspective. Take a deep breathe and think before you act, you can't take back what you've done you can only deal with it. So before making things worse, think about how a reaction can help you take control of a situation.
11. Dependancy is unhealthy
Having positive and supportive people in your life, is one of the most important aspects of living happily. While leaning on these people, taking advice and growing together are all healthy examples of a relationship. There is a fine line between healthy dependancy and unhealthy dependancy. Whoever it may be, your parents, a partner, your friends or favourite teacher... you can't predict what tomorrow will bring. It's important to know you're strong and capable on your own - then create a 2-sided relationship, one where you can work together and apart.
12. "There's a very fine line between hobby and mental illness"
I saw this quote somewhere and laughed. It honestly stopped me in my tracks, because I think the meaning to it is a lot less harsh when looked at from a different perspective. Anytime I feel down, unstable or insecure my creativity flows like no other. Sometimes it sucks, I have all these great ideas all in the midst of feeling like I can't even get up... which I think is the point. A hobby can turn into a passion and once you're passionate about something, not even your fears can stop you.
13. Time heals
People can be assholes, things just don’t work out, but in reality… we’re the only ones to blame for letting ourself get down about it. Lay in bed for a few days, eat some ice cream, go on a shopping spree and then move forward with your life. You will always have days, instances and reminders that bring you down, but everyday gets a little bit easier.
14. The world is a shit show - make it your own
Where do I even begin, from Donald Trump to ISIS, the death of prince to creepy clowns - the world is turning into an interesting place. When I think about having kids, I don't even know if I could logically bring someone into this world seeing where things are going. I used to spend my life trying to figure out how the world worked and how one day I could fix it. Now, instead of seeing it for what it really is, I've learned to make the most of it and look at things through a creative perspective. It's truly made the world look like a much more beautiful place.
15. Happiness is a choice
2 years ago, my life changed for the better. Rather than go down a path of failure and misery… I found art and passion instead. 2 years ago I was sick and sad, I began to write about anything and everything (my favourite teacher told me I was a terrible writer) until I began to write about things I loved. I began focusing on changing myself rather than the world around me. I made the best decision of my life two years ago: I decided to be happy.