A Year in Review: Lessons from 2019

Wow, it’s a new year and a new decade! How are you feeling about that?

I won’t lie, it was a little overwhelming and took me a minute to wrap my head around. The last decade was the best one yet, and 2019 was a year full of changes and growth. It was challenging, but I couldn’t be happier about where life is headed!

As I look back on the past twelve months, there are definitely a lot of bright spots! I was able to explore more of the world with people I love, start a business that helps women by bringing together so many of my passions and strengths, and focus on showing up as my most authentic self without fear of judgement. 

If I had to choose one word to describe 2019 it would have to be “Growth”. So damn much of it! Gah! There were some big lessons learned, and today I share them with you in hopes that you may find them useful as well.

Community is essential.

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Just a small, but essential part of my new community. <3

This was probably the most profound lesson I learned last year. It was something I didn’t even realize was missing from my life until I found it! I’ve always had close friends and family, but I learned that true community is something different. 

For me, community is a group of humans that share common interests and values. The people in my life obviously have this, but I’d never really experienced it in a larger group. Then I went to The Everything Conference in Portland and it rocked my world!

It was three days in close quarters with people who totally “got me” and made me feel less “other” than I ever had before. I came home with a clearer vision, more support than I ever imagined, and a whole group of new friends who were walking their version of the same path! It was magic. 

What I learned and experienced during my time in Portland, was the catalyst for starting another community, the Wandering Soul Sisters group that’s now become one of my favorite places on the internet! Through the process, I discovered a new love for bringing people together in meaningful ways and helping them find their tribe! I never even saw it coming. 🙂

Live your purpose.

It’s one thing to know your purpose and your “why”. It’s something else entirely to live it! In starting Beyond Reservations, I was pretty sure about both of those elements, though they have definitely gotten clearer with the living part of this. 

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Learning to love myself and all my unique aspects was part of the journey. Plus, I got to see the Napali Coast for the first time!

My purpose is to help women find their greatness and transform their lives in the most amazing ways! Travel is my medium to help them get there. Well, if that’s what I want to do for others, I better walk the walk, right? 

2019 required me to dig deep to find my own greatness and fully embrace it, love it, believe it, and stand rock solid in it. This meant I had to look closely at the parts of myself I’d kept hidden, and sit with the uncomfortable feelings this sometimes brought up. 

My self-love and self-worth had to get an overhaul, and I had to learn how to believe in myself like never before. None of these were easy tasks, my friend! Worth it, but damn, it came with tears, challenges, and some seriously hard days. Don’t kid yourself, it’s also come with celebrations, solo dance parties, high-fives via Zoom calls with my community, and feeling on top of the world!

It wasn’t all just tough inner work. The other part of living my purpose is exploring this amazing planet with as much depth as possible, allowing it to teach me, stretch me, and fill my senses with all the wonder they can hold! (I’m going to do a whole separate post about the awesome travel adventures of 2019.)

Trust yourself.

This is probably the scariest thing to live on the daily. Sometimes what my intuition says is the right thing doesn’t make sense on paper or seems like it’s taking me in the opposite direction of where I want to be going! At the end of the day though, it has yet to steer me wrong.

Leaving my day job was definitely the biggest leap of the year. I wasn’t ready! Not even a little bit. I’d started Beyond Reservations, was working with clients helping them to plan their own travel adventures, but definitely wasn’t bringing in a steady income yet. The idea of leaving so soon seemed totally insane! My plan was to stay until the fall of 2020! But, plans change.

Due to the seasonal nature of said day job, my choices were:

  1. Stay through the holidays and let my business die. There would be absolutely zero time to spend on it, so I would have to start over in January. 
  2. Leave and do my best to build a business that allows me to do fulfilling work, and trust that it would work out and provide the financial resources I need to sustain my life. 

When I told my boss I was leaving, I immediately burst into tears as soon as it was out of my mouth. I knew it was the right thing, but dammit, this was scary! There wasn’t a clear path forward or strategic plans laid to make it all come together, but I knew that I wasn’t willing to put my dreams on hold any longer. So I left at the end of August. 

Here’s the thing. If I had stayed, I wouldn’t have been able to go to the conference in Portland and learned the lesson I needed about community. I have no idea if I’d have started the online community or made the pivot to helping women with solo travel. I know for sure I wouldn’t have ANY of the amazing humans in my life that I met there and who have helped me get where I am now! 

Absolutely no regrets. There’s still much that is unclear about where this will go and how we’ll get there, but I’ve learned to trust myself. Life will continue to show me the way if I continue to stay aligned with my purpose. <3

Your Turn

What were your big lessons in 2019? What challenges did you have to overcome to learn them? 

Annie

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