Gaythri looks forward to 2015 by reflecting on what 2014 has taught her.

I have been reflecting on the year that has just passed. I’m just going to be honest — it has been a tough year. Plane disasters, floods, upheavals, changes, challenges, resistance, frustration, disappointments — these are words that come to my mind as I try to sum up 2014. Gosh, did this year test us Malaysians.

2014 made me dig deep to find the patience that I needed to deal with ignorance and, at the same time, find the strength to stand my ground and make my voice heard amid the noise around me.

I am entering 2015 with mixed feelings. I am cautious, treading lightly so that I won’t be blindsided but prepared to overcome challenges. I am also increasingly overpowered by massive doses of excitement at all the possibilities which await me. I am determined to aim as high as I can this year and I am going to prepare myself for the barriers I will have to push aside to do so.

A good friend once told me, “being scared is a good thing — it means you are growing”. It is so frustratingly true! I grew up this past year, and will now share a few of the lessons I learned.

Lesson #1: Look In The Mirror

Know yourself — your strengths, your passion, your vision, your purpose. Look in the mirror and have a clear image of what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself — what excites you? When was the last time you had goose bumps and wanted to jump up and down with excitement? What were you doing right at that moment? Find ways to do it again — bigger, and better. If you don’t know for sure, get as close as you can. I still don’t know for sure and probably never will but I won’t stop looking in that mirror and taking stock because it will make my 2015 all the more meaningful.

Know what you don’t want — what you absolutely will not compromise on. If you know in your gut that it will give you a bitter taste in your mouth, will make you unhappy or even bore you — say no. This life of mine is a one-time experience and I want to make every moment count. The last thing I want is to cruise along and ask myself after a year why I agreed to bore myself for 12 months. My time (and yours) is too precious for that.

Lesson #2: Ask For Help

You don’t know everything and you can’t do everything alone. Remind yourself of this fact (yes, it is a fact!). When you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for it. Get clear about what you know and what you don’t know and then find people who can point you in the right direction. Identify the person who can help you best and get the help you need. Often, it may be just advice from someone who has seen more, knows better, is wiser. Take it in, act on it, learn from it and grow.

I can’t even begin to list the multitudes of people who steered me in the right direction, who taught me things I didn’t know, who asked questions, made me squirm, made me think. They are friends, mentors, bosses, interns, customers, colleagues — the list is endless. They made me better. Smarter.

Lesson #3: Speak Up

If you have an opinion, voice it. You will be faced with opportunities to do so and when the time comes, engage, participate, speak up. Your view matters.

Lesson #4: Pick Your Battles

You may be eager to take things on and you may see a lot you want to change. No one can do everything. You shouldn’t try to either. Take a step back, prioritise and decide what is most important, most impactful and focus on those. Delegate if you can but if it is a battle you must wage yourself, plan it well and decide if it is worth the energy spent.  Don’t wear yourself thin and end up not making the impact you wished you could.

Lesson #5: Stay Positive

Find the other side of the coin. It exists. You may not see it immediately because you are clouded by frustration and impatience but it is there, hidden away. If there is a problem, mull over it to find a solution, consult with people who can give you a different perspective and then decide on an action plan. You will feel better. There is always a way to right a wrong and there is always a lesson you can learn from it. If you can’t salvage the situation, acknowledge it and move on. There is no point dwelling over it. There are more battles ahead of you, so focus your energy and attention on what is to come and not what is past.

The list is endless but these five lessons really helped me journey through the year that has just passed and will help me conquer the year that is upon me. I hope it helps someone else embrace 2015 too.

Happy New Year, everyone!

I am an opinionated individual and I want to be inspired. I currently work for LexisNexis and travel frequently in my work, meeting people and going to places which help me put my life in perspective....