What 2016 Brought And Taught Me


Reflection is a powerful tool if you allow yourself to take a moment to do so. And it's considerably more impactful when you look back over an entire year. Wasn't it January of 2016 just the other day? Days, weeks, months, years, each one seem to be picking up pace and moving faster and faster. There's hardly time for reflection when one day leads to the next and weeks become blurry. Months go by in a blink of an eye and well, here we are, 2017. 

As I sit back and ponder over 2016 I feel so good about what I've learned. As a human being, a mom, a business owner and creative. I'm not leaving any of these in 2016, rather bringing them into the new year with me and standing firm in my new learnings and realizations. Some of them are ah-ha moments, others are things I should have come to realize a long time ago. 

1. Resiliency.

I encountered some crazy situations both personally and in my business this year that left me questioning people, their ethics, levels of respect and pure common sense. There were days I could barely breathe. Feeling broken is one of the best ways I can describe it. As the fog started to clear I decided I couldn't let their behaviour affect mine in such a negative way. I lost trust. I lost respect. However what I did gain was an better understanding of what I'm willing to give, to who and when.

2. Gratitude.

There is no doubt it takes a village to raise a family, however I find this true in business as well. The network of people who rally behind a small business owner is paramount in it's success. From my direct family, to extended family to friends, colleagues, other business owners, mentors and the like, I am blessed beyond measure for the people I have in my life. I hold each of you near and dear and am forever grateful for your endless support. 

3. Attitude. 

When tough situations arise in life it's always the way people involved handle themselves that is the true testament to who they really are. True colours come through and it was those moments this year I decided to move on from certain relationships or at least distance myself. Honesty and integrity are part of my core values in life and I do expect the same from those I invest in, personally and professionally.

4. Adoration.

We have found our niche, we know who our clients are and are able to be discerning in who we work with. When clients interview designers it's important to note how differently one works from the next, and that's a good thing. It truly is about finding the best fit and sometimes a client just isn't for us. And that's ok. When we connect with our ideal client, we know we have started a relationship that will last for years to come.

5. Fullness.

I am a working mother of two girls who are heavily involved in extra curricular activities. There is no shortage of items on my to-do list from groceries and laundry or racing to buy swim goggles at the last critical minute to whipping up a ballet bun. Add running a business into the day and yes, my days are busy. However, this common topic of busy started feeling like a rat race in a negative way. "I'm so BUSY!" felt like I actually wasn't accomplishing anything. I've changed my vocabulary to "my days are FULL". They are full of expectation, full of paperwork, full of experiences, full of creative work, full of great people, full of challenges, full of conversations, full of love...

6. Accomplishment.

In 2016 we completed a process and procedure binder outlining the Nyla Free Designs way of doing anything and everything within the business. Compiling all the information for this document took years, literally, so when we finally finished it you can imagine the happy dance that broke out. It is built on our brand and philosophies as a business and encompasses all the ins and outs of our world. Its a great tool for reference and reminders as well as a means of establishing new employees with ease.

There are learnings in every day, let alone each year. I'm excited to see what 2017 will teach me!