Last Sunday I celebrated my 25th birthday, another year has passed and as always I’m forever grateful for every single day and excited to see what each new one has to offer. When I look back over the past year I realise this year has been full of learning curves (in the words of Kylie Jenner – it’s the year of “realising stuff”). A few of these life lessons are simple, like don’t leave cheese unattended in the back of your fridge for too long (it gets weird) but some are a little bigger and a little more life changing. I’ve learnt a lot over the past few months. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been an amazing journey, and I feel positive that my 25th year will be one of the best yet.
“Yes the world may throw you some lemons, but life is what you make it and you choose how you respond to every lemon that comes your way”
WORK SMART AND ENJOY YOURSELF
At the start of this year, it would be rare to catch me working from the hours of 9 – 5. My working hours were 8am – 11pm and over the course of six months this really took it’s toll until July hit and my body just couldn’t keep up with me anymore. It literally shut me down one night whist away shooting the images for my jewellery line, and ever since I’ve been slowly working at getting back up to speed, but I can guarantee even though I’m back to producing the same level of content and my life is way more organised, that I will never be working those hours again.
I spent most of the year trying to run every single aspect of my business myself, from content to brand negotiations, meetings and accounts. This summer I realised it’s okay to accept help, whether it’s from your management or letting your organisational goddess of a mother take care of your filing and admin (no joke on that last one – thanks Mims). It’s okay to not be able to do everything yourself, and there’s nothing wrong in asking for help.
I also spent a lot of time over working myself because I felt guilty for having such an amazing job, and I felt as though I should work more hours because it wasn’t fair that I got to have such a great job and still work what ever hours I wanted to. But newsflash, there’s no point in having an amazing job if you don’t get to enjoy it. Now instead of working longer hours, I’m more efficient. Still producing the same quality and quantity of work, but not at all hours of the day. In addition to weekends now I have a Friday off each month where I spend time with friends and family and I honestly feel like my quality of life is so much better – this is the balance I dreamed of having when I left my last job (but instead things went the other way). Don’t get me wrong I’m hardly slacking, but the way I’ve structured things now is different and a little more similar to the way I worked at my previous job – get as much done as you can in the time you’re given, and then switch off and go home. Except I already am home…
DITCH THE “I COULD, SO I SHOULD” ATTITUDE
Something I’ve struggled with since I entered the working world, lies with being a “yes” person. It’s something you’re advised to do when you start out as an intern or in your first role, but no one really tells you when to stop. I used to say yes to everything that I could physically manage to cram in to a day (I say used to but this only really stopped last month, even so every couple of weeks I still slip up). This attitude was fairly harmless in previous jobs, as a good manager will always step in when they see you’re taking on too much, but when you’re riding solo there’s no one to speak up (aside from the occasional “don’t overwork yourself” comment from your mummy that falls on deaf ears). Over the past nine months I’ve been offered the most incredible opportunities and it felt mad to turn them down, I was being offered amazing opportunities that I could go on, and therefore I felt that I should. But when you end up being scheduled to touch down in four countries in one month (at one point I went from Crete to London to Paris and back in the space of four days) it all adds up and really takes it’s toll on your mind. From now on when I accept new opportunities, it’s going to be because I really want to, not because it feels like madness to turn it down. This doesn’t just apply to travel but work opportunities and anything that pops up in daily life.
YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYONE ELSE
Another thing I learnt this year which really has been a lightbulb moment for me, is that I put a lot of responsibility on myself for other peoples feelings. Whether it’s my mum and dad worrying about me and I feel guilty, or someone having a bad day or feeling bad about themselves, and I feel a responsibility to make them feel better. Or a viewer who didn’t like the content I spend days producing. Lots of these things affected how I felt about myself. It took someone saying to me “You are not responsible for other peoples feelings” and it was the most liberating feeling. The only thing I’m responsible for is how I feel about myself… and taking care of my dog.
THE WORST CASE SCENARIO IS NEVER REALLY THAT BAD
“What’s the worse that could happen, Suzie?”. When ever I was asked this I would ramble off a long list of worst case scenarios in a panic. But really, is it worth getting that stressed out over? I used to worry about letting people down, or inconveniencing them all the time. But often we put pressure on ourselves to meet deadlines or attend events and think people will be mad if we have can’t make it or have to leave early. Like that conference call you’re meant to be cramming in this afternoon? Instead of thinking how mad someone will be that you need to reschedule, think about the fact that maybe they haven’t had time for lunch, and your postponing might give them that time to go out, eat and get some fresh air. Having to leave an event early? Instead of worrying your ride home might be pissed, maybe they’re secretly thrilled because bake off is on and they might have time to catch it. Sometimes things aren’t as bad as we make it out to be in our minds.
(But of course, sometimes you’re surrounded by people who won’t see you cancelling as positive, and I’m not saying suddenly cancel everything and anything because you don’t want to get dressed that morning. But if I’m over worked and can’t make it to an event and that makes someone angry – it’s their choice to to respond negatively, but it doesn’t mean you should prioritise their response above your wellbeing.)
YOU DO YOU – STOLP LOOKING AT EVERYONE ELSE
Flashback to four years ago and I generally had a really good sense of tunnel vision, I never really looked to much at what others were doing and just did whatever I felt like. I rarely compared myself and didn’t have a clue what a thigh gap was. This year has definitely been one of the hardest in terms of comparisons from all angles. It’s the nature of the beast in any part of the media industry really, and I guess it’s up to each individual as to how they respond to it. Do you drive yourself mad trying to figure out where you fit, why some people don’t like yoy, and listen intently and write down every single piece of data that a boardroom of people recite to you about yourself, your brand and who you are? Or do you pop on your tunnel vision glasses, take it all with a pinch of salt (and imagine it being a piece of salt you can easily wipe away), listen and take it in but ultimately follow your gut and carry on doing you – even if that doesn’t always fit with what every one else thinks you should do. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be a presenter who is perfect for all ages and you don’t always have to be filled with happiness and excitement. Tunnel vision and being content in your own skin is so important in life, but for me when it comes to YouTube, it becomes an essential skill to hone.
I’m going to be honest here, YouTube views are down across the board right now (gamers, beauty, you name it, average views are down for most. It’s a change to the algorithm and it’s not the end of the world by a long shot. YouTube isn’t going anywhere and neither are the loyal loving viewers. But whilst some choose to panic, there are those who see this as a more liberating opportunity to keep creating, striving to create something new and a little bit different (and take “different with a pinch of salt, because, come on – what hasn’t already been done on YouTube? It’s a tough market), but ultimately something that is very “them”. Their tunnel vision is on, they have their feet on the ground and they are choosing how to react to what life has thrown at them.
And that’s my bonus sixth and final lesson of the past year really. Yes the world may throw you some lemons, but life is what you make it and you choose how you respond to every lemon that comes your way, no matter how big or small. Your life is your own and your future is whatever you want it to be.
Here’s to my 25th year on this bizarre little planet.
WHAT I’M WEARING HERE