Five things I learnt from 2013

It’s that time of the year, where everyone is making New Year’s resolutions and planning new goals for the year ahead. Last year I vowed never to eat take-out ever again. I didn’t even last till February, and here I am again.. rethinking that same idea. Of course, at the time I made the resolution  I was practicing Bikram yoga four times a week, eating junk food made me feel terrible in class, I was breezing through my career and I had the work-life balance all worked out.. well, mostly. Looking back at my life a year from now, it was.. easy.

But a lot has changed since a year ago. And positively too. The way I see it, even if you’re on the right track you’re going to get run over if you just sit there. So what I am actually saying is that a great deal of the change has been a result of the decisions I have made. And that has ultimately changed me, and taught me to..

    ImageI’ve always been one to spot a new trend and push to try it out. Last year I started a new department within my agency, called Content Marketing. Quick summary of my career: I come from a strong Copywriting background and when Social Media became all the rage I dived right in head first, exploring communication methods to people on social networks. It was during these years that I discovered my strong conceptual ability and my love for strategy. The longer I was in the industry, the more I realised that the part of social that drives me is the content. So I focused all my time creating beautiful content strategies for clients (of course I had no idea it was called a content strategy back then). And then when global picked up on the emerging Content Marketing field, I knew this was something I had to explore further. I pitched a new role to my Director, our Head of Product Innovation and ultimately my Managing Director and got full support from everyone to go ahead with the newest department at our agency, of I would become the head of. With my new job title as Content Marketing Lead, came a great deal of new responsibilities, client pressure and new challenges. Naturally, it resulted in me spending a lot more time at work. And the times that I was not at work, I would spend travelling to our commercial hub in Jozi. It was like starting my own little company. This changed me. My husband didn’t get to see me as often and when he did he would get the tired, burnt out version of me. My family got to see me even less. Deep down, I knew this was not ideal but it was like I just couldn’t stop. I was chasing something and I was in momentum, and being so close to the finish line sparked a fire in me that only those in digital would understand.
    Beyond my suburban bubble, I’ve never driven anywhere further than Woodstock. Even though I have my driver’s license, I always avoided driving to areas that I was not familiar with. I had my husband for that and I relied completely, wholeheartedly on him always being by my side that everything that was a little uncomfortable, I called on him to do it for me. This was indeed a luxurious lifestyle but not a practical one. Work forced me to travel solo and navigate the bustling streets of Josi by myself. I tried to get out of it but soon learnt that it was something I had to do. The first time was scary because.. well, Apple maps.  But the more I did it, the more confident I became in myself and it shows. I now glow with a sort of confidence that I didn’t know was in me, and I kinda like it.
    They say traveling changes your perspective. I know this is true from when I traveled to Thailand three years ago. There’s a weirdness that you overcome when you step outside of a situation and then return. You see it with new eyes. In turn, even though short, my frequent trips to Josie coupled with my new responsibilities and everything else that has made my life 100% full has made me think less about what other people think of me. Which is a good thing. I realized that when I bumped into a girl that I used to have a feud with, I smiled at her and in return got a nasty, angry look back. I had totally forgotten that I was not speaking to her and at that moment I realised that I actually didn’t care much about others’ opinions. It’s also made me less tolerant to people(person) who consciously go out of their way to be nasty to me. Other times I would entertain the drama, today, I just write it off as part of the past. Life’s too short to embrace drama, so cut out the actresses and embrace the genuine people.
    Last year this time I got involved in an Instagram community called igerscapetown. I learned about the beautiful side of Instagram and how a community of mobile photographers have connected over one simple subject. I became completely Instagram befok and as with everything, I dove right in. I initially got involved because I thought it would be something cool for my husband and I to do together and reconnect. We did, and in the process made some real, lasting friends. 2013 taught me to knock down the walls around me and open myself up to new friendships, because some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met were the ones I’ve met through instameets.
    ImageI was lucky enough to be selected as one of the 12 young professionals at my agency to be sent on iPioneer. It is a career growth programme that identifies young talent and helps you kickstart your growth to ensure you get to where you want to be, or where the company sees you in the next ten years. It was the most incredible experience of my professional life as I got to discover things about myself (in a personal and professional capacity) that I did not know about before. I’m very privileged to be chosen as one of the few iPioneers and even more blessed to be employed at an agency who invests so much in their employees’ future. This experience taught me so much; to name a few it taught me to be more compassionate towards myself, to let go of my control issues and trust others and to be the source of my own inspiration. Today, I find something new to be inspired by every single day.