17 Powerful Life + Business Lessons Of 2017

1. Boundaries

In 2017, my word of the year was boundaries. In business, in my personal life, with my time, my energy. As I was heading towards my Christmas burnout in 2016, I really put it down to my lack of boundaries. I was saying ‘yes’ to everything, not stopping to think whether I actually a) wanted to, or b) could fit it in! Before I knew it, I had social plans, dinners, and a ton of client work coming out of my ears, and I was pushing hard to do it all. 

When I learned that I get to set the rules. And also, that I have to set the rules. In order to function AND because my life and clients depended on it...everything changed. 

I got focused on what I wanted and the vision I had for future me, and asked myself when making decisions: does this align with that?

If the answer was no, it had to go. 

2. You’re The Boss

This links closely to the above. Because, whether you’re a business owner or not, YOU ARE THE BOSS. Of your time, your energy, your life. Sometimes in life we forget that we get to make the decisions. Friendships. Relationships. Obligations. Commitments. Requests. Often we keep doing things, even if we aren’t feeling it anymore, because we feel like we have to. But actually, you have the right to change your mind. About anything, anytime. 

So what are you doing in your life right now where you don’t feel like you’re in control? And how can you take that back? Maybe it’s a friendship that’s becoming a strain, but you keep going along to the arrangements because you feel like you ‘should.’ There are no rules - make a decision, be the boss. 

3. Other People’s Feelings Aren’t Your Responsibility 

Isn’t it tiring enough to think about and manage your own feelings - you really don’t need to try and manage anyone else’s. This stems from that feeling of guilt that I hear from my clients a lot: ‘I don’t really want to but X might feel X about it.’ ‘I don’t really enjoy it but I feel bad for X’. ‘I’ve got lots of things I’d rather do instead but I don’t want to let X down.’ ‘I don’t like doing X but I’ll feel guilty if I don’t…’ 

Take control of your feelings first, and act from there. Taking on how other people ‘may or may not feel’ is not up to you. When you take ownership and responsibility for your LIFE and how you spend your time, other people will respect you for that, and maybe even take some notes too. 

4. Money Is Wonderful, But It Isn’t Everything

You can refer to THIS POST for the deets. But in 2017 I made a lot more money than I ever had before, and while that was so exciting and I’m so very grateful, it also made me realise that when that money comes from something that isn’t lighting you up or is making you overworked and overwhelmed - it really isn’t worth it. I’ve since realised that when something is fulfilling and rewarding, you can still earn money from that too! In fact, I love the quote: “You have to give your heart to the Goddess of Wisdom, give her all your love and attention, and the Goddess of Wealth will become jealous, and follow you.” And I’ve seen it to be so true! When someone can see your passion and enthusiasm, it's seriously magnetic!

5. Stop Saving Things For Best

‘Don’t use those gold wine glasses. Save them for best”. My Mum said, the first day we moved into our place.⠀

First off, what even is best? Why are we saving things for best? Every day we get to wake up and experience another day of our finite existence on Planet Earth. I’d say that’s a pretty special occasion, right? ⠀⠀

Second of all, if my Mum coming over for a glass of wine on the first day I move into my very own place isn’t ‘best’ - then what the HELL is? ⠀

That dress you bought for a special occasion? Wear it today. ⠀

The champagne in the fridge? Pop it open. Even if it’s Monday. BECAUSE it’s Monday. After all, sometimes the cause for celebration is the fact that there’s champagne in the fridge, right? ⠀⠀

Treat every day like ‘best’, because, what are we actually waiting for?

5. Time Away Is Time, Money & Energy Well Spent

Heading on not one, or two, but five abroad trips in 2017 certainly felt like a luxury as I was hitting book on my flights! But they’ve been the biggest reminders of my ‘why’ in my business.

When I first started my business while travelling in Australia three years ago, I thought it was simply a ‘pipe dream’ to always be able to work from sunny climates, and that eventually I’d have to go ‘back to reality’. (Whatever that means.) But then, bit by bit, I’ve been dipping my toes in those clear blue waters and running my business at the same time! And, as I hop on yet another flight to Tenerife where I’ll be staying for 6 weeks, with more adventures on the agenda too, I’ve realised that it’s these taster trips throughout the year (yep, totally had to try out 5 different countries…for work purposes!) that have made me realise it’s all totally possible. 

Taking that time to check out every month has been the most powerful way to check in with what’s working and what’s not, to fully switch off and to get totally inspired again and again. 

6. Getting Support Seriously Superdrives Success

Since I started out in my business three years ago, I’ve always invested in support. It has been a regular investment in my life and business and I absolutely believe in the power of having someone on the outside of your business looking in, believing in you, and keeping you accountable along the way! Whether that’s in a life coach, a copywriting mentor, a business and brand mentor - I have invested a lotttt in my personal support and development, and I absolutely live by how incredible it has been for my business and life success. Having someone who has been there and done it, who can see your struggles, who can call you on your bullshit, and who sees what you’re truly capable of is incredibly powerful. 

This also ties into investing in yourself - let yourself know you’re worth it by making that investment. So you might not have the money sitting there ready to go, but you’re resourceful and you can make anything happen if you want it enough. Show yourself what you’re made of and find the money to make it work. 

7. Conversations & Relationships Are Key

Getting to know people is so very important when it comes to building and creating your life AND your business. Relationships form your life experience - and they also form your client list, too. People need to know, like and trust you before they’ll invest in what you can offer, and opening up a relationship is where that begins. Take the time to ask people how they are feeling and really listen to the answer. This will serve you in every area of your life. 

8. You Have To Make Yourself A Priority

Are YOU at the top of your priority list this every week? Looking after yourself is absolutely essential to nurturing yourself and maintaining the willpower and momentum that running a business (and running a LIFE, actually) takes. Because after all, if you fall down, so might everything else.

The smallest acts of self care can make the biggest difference - from taking 10 minutes for a walk, to sitting still with zero distractions, to brain dumping your whirring thoughts before bed, or sparking some energising scents in your hand balm or a diffuser, to eating your lunch and JUST doing that - whatever you need to do to remind yourself you’re a priority, do that, and make it non-negotiable every single day. 

9. It’s OK Not To Be OK

Sometimes we feel like we have to be super-motivated, super-happy; super 'on-it' all. of. the. time. And while it's true that there are certain techniques we can use to help lift us into that mindset, and high-vibe state when we want to, the first thing to master is to feel ok with not feeling ok! ⠀⠀

Often when we feel like crap, we make it a million times worse by punishing ourselves for it and by just being so mean: 'Why do you not feel happy, you've got all this stuff?', 'You’re this', 'You’re that'. In reality that's not going to help you, it'll just make your mood sink lower and lower.⠀

Be realistic and remind yourself that you're human, things happen and you might not always feel 'ok'; but that's ok! Don't tell yourself elaborate stories, or run away with exaggerations as to what it might all mean when you're down in the dumps. Just keep calm and remind yourself that 'this shall pass'.⠀⠀

This can be tricky to begin with because you may have had a very loud mean voice for a long time, but start with small steps. My favourite trick for this is to ask yourself: What would I say to my best friend if they felt like this? ⠀⠀

Because that response will likely be wayyyy kinder than the one you usually reserve for yourself...⠀

10. Stop Trading Time For Money

Ohhhh this one. It’s taken a long while to get to grips with this. But it’s been a total game-changer! 

We get conditioned to think that life is supposed to be ‘hard’, that earning money has to be ‘hard’, that for anything you want you really have to earn it, and that generally means putting in some ‘hard graft.’ - Yikes, that sounds hard, doesn’t it?! 

Someone said to me recently that ‘the pleasure comes from the suffering’ - which I don’t strictly agree with. I understand that you have to work for what you want, and boyyyyy have I done that, but that doesn’t mean for forever. If you have a plan of action and you know what you’re working hard for, then it becomes easy all the quicker. 

It really struck me when I heard this: “People say that you have to work harder to make more money. But show me a man that works three jobs and tell me he has more. It’s working smarter, not harder, that is the key.” 

When I stopped trading time for money, and started valuing my service and myself, everything changed. When I realised that clients are paying for results, not how many hours I put in, I finally gave myself permission to work less while earning more. It’s about the value you provide, not how long that takes you. Focus on that, and let your prices reflect that, too. 

11. Say Yes, Then Figure It Out

My speaking mentor stood at the front of the stage and introduced me for a showcase evening we’d put together. And the way he described me: “The kind of woman who jumps off a cliff and finds her wings on the way down.” And wow, did I like that thought. 

It’s a trick that’s really worked for me. Saying yes, then figuring it out along the way. It’s a nugget of wisdom I took from Richard Branson and one that has really propelled me more than ever before. That Branson guy knows what he’s talking about, doesn’t he? 

The voice in your head that might stop you from saying the ‘Yes’ may be one of ‘I’m not ready’ or ‘I don’t know enough…’ - and while they’re certainly voices I know well, I also know that they’re not strictly true. Because after all, I decide to believe that if an opportunity comes your way, it’s because you’re ready for it. It’s a sure-fire sign that it’s your time to go for it. It’s a nod from the Universe that you’re the one for the job. And you get to choose whether you step up to the plate, or throw it back in the Universe’s face. 

And no-one wants to upset the Universe.  

So, when an opportunity comes your way, there are three steps. 1: Feel into it - what does your gut instinct say? (If it’s, I’d flipping love to but I’m scared…then move on to step 2:) 2: Say YES! 3: Figure it out. Get support if you need to in the form of a mentor or coach. Study what you need to know. Take action and prepare. Visualise what it looks like to completely nail it. And then go be your kick ass self! 

(And P.S. if at step 1. your gut genuinely says: yuck, I really just don’t want to do that, or, that’s really not in line with my long-term goal or big picture, then it’s always OK to politely decline. Don’t say ‘yes’ to an opportunity just because it’s an opportunity. Check in with if it’s fear that’s holding you back, or a genuine disinterest. Fear, we can handle. Disinterest is a done deal. Trust your instincts on this - you know they’re always right.) 

12. It’s None Of Your Business What Other People Can Afford

Right? It’s not up to you to determine or even consider what someone else is willing to pay / has in the bank / wants to invest. It’s your job to provide a high level of value, to be clear about what you can help with, to make it simple for someone to make a decision, to charge an amount of money that feels right for *YOU*.  And that’s it. That’s all you need to do. The rest is up to the people who want and need what you have. 

Think about it like this: those sh*t-hot suede leopard print boots you had to get your hands on - perhaps you didn’t have the money right then and there to buy them with. But you did the maths, and you decided you’d swap something else out of the budget so you could get them for yourself. Because you had to have them. Because they’re going to change your life. 

All the boots had to do was show up, be themselves, attract the eye of their ideal client, own their price, and BOOM - you walked out of the shop feeling like a million dollars. 

Be a pair of sh*t-hot suede leopard print boots. Your clients will thank you for it. 

13. The Universe Works Fast When You’re Having Fun

How many times have you been sitting at your laptop, staring intently at your inbox, wishing and waiting for an enquiry to come in, or a response to a social media post, or inspiration for your latest programme...and nothing happens. You feel the forcing, striving, pushing feeling that you know isn’t going to get you anywhere fast. But you sit some more, staring at a blank screen and feeling increasingly impatient and resentful. 

Compare that to when you’re out with friends, when you’re taking an adventure, when you switch off your phone and look out of the window instead, when you’re partying like wild, or killing it at the gym, or getting lost in a romance novel - anytime that your mind is allowed space to breathe and recharge - and BOOM - you get back to check your phone and there sits the email enquiry, there are the stream of responses, up springs the inspiration. 

The minute you get out of your head and have FUN, is the minute you give the Universe some space to get to work. 

14. You Have To Learn How To Root For Yourself! 

If you can’t back yourself, how do you expect anyone else to? Self-belief will carry you through pretty much anything. When you’re rooting for yourself, other people rooting for you is simply a bonus.

This takes practise, of course. We’ve been taught for years and years that it’s ‘not OK’ to root for yourself - that it makes you a bad person, or it means you think you’re better than others, and it certainly intimidates other people who absolutely aren’t rooting for themselves. But in your strength, comes theirs. You have to go first. 

I’ve found that the easiest way to root for yourself, particularly in your business, is to remember WHY you’re doing it. Because when you connect back to that, you realise again and again that you’re doing really powerful, incredible, purposeful work, and that you’re supporting others from a place of love and passion and heart. And that - well that’s worth rooting for. 

For me, my why is so that no other woman has to go through their life the way my Grandma did: severely depressed, feeling alone even when surrounded by love, not realising her worth, and never being an active participant in her own life. 

And wow, when I remember that, and how the work I’m doing stems from this very personal, very real and very powerful intention, then there’s really no room for anything other than rooting!

15. Other People’s Feedback Just Tells You What’s Important To Them

When I read this in Tara Mohr’s book - Playing Big: Finding Your Voice - I breathed the biggest sight of relief, because it made perfect sense to me. Other people’s feedback tells you what’s important to them - and that’s IT. You get to decide whether you take it on as true or not. You get to decide whether it’s feedback you value and will act on. And you also get to decide whether to leave it on the table or throw it in the bin.

How freeing is that? Suddenly, another person’s opinion doesn’t matter, unless you want it to. You get to choose.

So for example, if Aunty Sandra who has worked at the County Council for 33 years cares to tell you her thoughts on how it's 'hard to get a job and that you should really think yourself lucky for the one you're in', when you share your plan to quit the job that is depleting your soul, then you get to decide whether to take that as true, or to smile, nod, put on your protective cape and let the BS glide past. 

16. Your Gut Feeling Is Always Right. No exceptions. 

And you already know that, don’t you? Think about the amount of times that you didn’t follow that pang of instinct in your gut, only to discover you really, really should have. You’ll find yourself saying: ‘I knew I shouldn’t have done that!’ ‘I knew something didn’t feel right!’ 

‘I wish I’d listened to my head.’ Said no-one ever. 

Whenever you have that gut feeling, even if you don’t have a logical explanation, listen to it. The churn you feel in your stomach when speaking to a client who is less than ideal: don’t work with them. It’ll save you a lot of stress in the long run. That uncertainty around the house you’ve put an offer in on: pull out. That sigh of relief as you do speaks volumes. The rush of fear you feel at that man sitting opposite you on the tube who’s swearing more than you’d care to hear: change carriages. So what if it’s just for peace of mind? At least you’ll have peace of mind. 

17. Feed Your Mind With Love Instead Of Fear

I’ve not watched the news for about 18 months now. Sometimes I feel out of the loop, sometimes I feel ignorant and heartless. Most of the time I feel full of enthusiasm and joy about the world. I don’t know how many news watchers feel that way about the world these days. And sure, I stay up to date with the things I feel I need to stay up to date with. I do research so I can hear different sides of any story. I stay informed in my own way. 

The way I see it is: am I more equipped to help the world be a better place if I’m a) hearing about a brutal murder, the decline of the economy and the well-rehearsed scripts of politicians, over and over again all day every day, OR if I’m b) feeding my mind with positive people, feelings, information, doing what I can to feel good and remind myself how wonderful the world can be, and enjoying my life with my nearest and dearest? 

So switch it off, and see how you feel. Even if it’s just for a week. Even if you just listen to the updates once a day rather than on the hour every hour. 

I believe we have a collective responsibility to leave the world a better place than we found it. But it’s not an easy job if we’re all fearing for our f*cking lives. (And I think that’s kind of their plan.)

So there you have it - my business and life lessons of 2017 that have truly served and supported me in going from strength to strength, at times to the pits, and back to strength again. I know they're really going to serve you too. 

And as for what 2018 holds? If you’re ready to show up for yourself, if you know it’s time to stop pissing about and get fierce about what you want, if you’re truly serious about creating a life that is Delicious all over - then let’s make it happen.

Book a complimentary intensive coaching session to explore exactly what you want for your life and how you can get fiercely focused + make it happen. I’m so bloody excited to have a life-changing conversation with you. 

Sophie French