- Alexis Alvarez
My 10 Take-Aways from 2018
Happy New Year friend! I am hopping on the blogging train of 2018 recaps with my twist: the lessons I learned this year.
1. You can't please everyone. I am a natural born people pleaser. I feed off of people's adoration & approval. I need to be needed & loved. It's why I always put myself in positions of service. It's not as selfless as I'd like you (or really myself) to think. But this year, after working with one particular client for the better part of a year & knowing in my heart that I served & loved them as well as humanly possible, the relationship still ended badly. I saw it coming too. I even called a spade a spade & tried to understand where they were coming from & sought reconciliation. Still the relationship ended poorly. Afterwards, I cried - literal waterfalls of tears for weeks. I honestly questioned if I could do this - if I have what it takes, but in the end I learned one very important lesson: even if you do everything in your power, you cannot please everyone & that is okay.
2. Community is the most important thing. Kenny & I lived in Indianapolis for over 3 years & had an incredible community around us. Since we're both from Chicago, we had no local family, so our community became our 2nd family. 3 weeks after Lily was born (and one terribly long story later) we found ourselves ripped out of that community, back in Chicago & although we've rebuilt most of our lives, our community never was. Towards the end of this year I started to notice that something was missing. It wasn't until I really started to build a group of wedding industry friends that it clicked - community was missing. In Genesis, God looks at Adam & says "It is not good for man to be alone" & while He was definitely talking about making a wifey for Adam, I also think His statement as a generality talks about the way our hearts are wired - for connection.
3. Ask for help. This one's been a hard one for me to write. Trying to figure out the way to start the conversation & what exactly to say, especially since there's really only one person on the planet who knows the full story. In November, after a really, really tough year of learning how to be a mom of 2, I was diagnosed with prolonged & undiagnosed postpartum depression. It was a week after Ellie's first birthday when I admitted I had no desire to celebrate it that I realized something was seriously wrong. I called the Chicago Mom's hotline on the way to an event & got connected with a counselor who I poured my heart out to telling her the extreme lack of connection I had with Ellie & what a terrible mom I felt like because of it. I finally said it outloud - I think I need help. Over the last 8 weeks I've done over the phone counseling about 3 times a week, working through all of the feelings I had stuffed down because I felt too guilty to admit them. And guys can I just tell you... asking for help (combined with working with Ellie's pediatrician to discover a dairy allergy that made her an honestly awful baby) has allowed me to connect with this little girl who I longed for relationship with for over a year. & I'm left to wonder, if I had just asked for help earlier, maybe I wouldn't have missed an entire year.
4. If you're not growing, you're dying. I come from a LONG line of know-it-alls. Honestly, I've known everything there is to know about everything since kindergarten. But at the beginning of this year, I had a new thought. What if - maybe, just maybe - there are people out there in the world with knowledge & gifts that I don't currently have. What if - *gasp* I don't know everything. In January I invested in a sales mastermind, which was responsible in large part for increasing my revenue by 5x this year over last. In June, I invested in a 1:1 mentorship. In July, I purchased an audible subscription (to which I will proudly admit I've clocked over 100 hours on over the last 5 months. And I've committed to listening to at least 1 podcast episode a day. I can feel how differently my brain works & how differently I process things. I have learned soo much this year & I get excited about learning more every day. And the best part is I get to take it all with me into 2019 to make smarter, wiser, faster decisions than I did in 2018.
5. You can't do it all alone. I guess I technically learned this lesson the hard way last year, but I learned the benefit of not trying to do it all alone this year. Let's start with Rosie: She was my 2018 social media doll from January - April. If it were not for all of the things she taught me about consistency & making a social media plan, we would not have experienced the growth we did in our social presence & engagement that we did this year. Starting in August of this year I welcomed several lovely assistants to the team, but Nina & Bri (or as they've been affectionately called by guests, Brina), are the girls you've all come to know, love & trust as my right hand gals. Without these two angels, our couples would not have been served at the level they were served this year & LRE would not have been as successful as it has been. I am SOO excited to bring them both on as LRE's first 2 Coordinators for the 2019 season. Ladies, if you're reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
6. Not everyone is going to like you. I was coming off the heels of the most challenging & exhausting week LRE has ever had. 4 weddings in 7 days. Honestly, I'm a nut bag for even thinking it was an option. The following week I received an inquiry & subsequently a consultation with a potential new bride. I thought the call went really well & we connected. I sent the proposal & waited. A few days later I received a scathing email that basically boiled down to "it's not a good fit" in not so nice words. I know you're all probably thinking what everyone from the outside would reasonably think: bullet dodged. & it was, but from the inside, I can't even tell you how hurt my feelings were. I kept reading & re-reading this email and crying and crying some more. Why didn't she like me? Why did she have to be so mean about it? How can I make sure that this never happens again? Reality check time: NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LIKE YOU. & there's nothing wrong with that. Now, it's a moment I am so grateful for. It was the turning point for me discovering what my uniqueness is, what kind of couple is going to be attracted to it, & being ok in not being a fit for everyone. In fact, 2 days ago I got a response back from a prospective bride saying that she went with another planner because she didn't like something about my personality & I was able to say confidently (and sincerely) "Sorry to hear it's not a fit, but I am SO glad you found someone who is."
7. It really is ok not to be ok. "Hold it together. Make the bad look better. Say all the words that I'm supposed to... Making every dead end look like Heaven, like being okay's the way to reach you." Lyrics from a song that has been my soul cry this last quarter. I have gained so much power & control of my emotions by just being able to say the words I'm struggling whether it's to my husband, to a friend or to God.
8. If you want to see change, you're going to have to take some risks. We maxed out our capacity this year, which meant no room for growth. Kenny has been traveling 120 miles round trip every day for work for the last two years, so that he could provide for the family while I was at home with the girls & starting LRE. Towards the middle of this year, we realized that we were spinning our wheels. He wasn't doing anything that filled his soul & was too exhausted after the work day & commute to start experimenting with anything new & I couldn't grow LRE the way I wanted to because we had no time in our schedule for me to do the footwork needed to seed the growth I planned. So we took a huge risk in faith it would pay off later. We decided after a lot of prayer & visualization that he was going to leave his corporate 7-7 plus commute, take a giant pay cut & accept a Shift Supervisor position at a local Starbucks. We picked this very specific position & company for a few reasons: the flex scheduled, allowing me more time to work on LRE & him more time to not only figure out what his passion is, but also reconnect with our girls, but also that Starbucks would pay 100% for him to go back to school, if he so chooses. We're very much still in the middle of this risk so it's not a "we took this huge risk & here is the incredible return" story, but we are so excited to see what opportunities this risk opens up for us!
9. It's okay to change your mind. When I was goal setting for 2019, I reviewed my goals I set at the beginning of 2018 & the goals I set at the beginning of the mentorship I started in June. Most of them have changed throughout the year. I remember telling my mentor that I feel like we started out on one path & have completely changed the direction we're going as the year has gone on. And here's why that's totally ok: as I've gotten more clarity on who I am as a business owner & what I want, I've been able to create goals that serve that directive better.
10. You HAVE to get back up. 2018 was a year of stretching for me. There were more times than I can tell you that I wanted to quit. Hide under my blanket & refuse to come out, but you HAVE to get back up. Your life - the life you are destined to live, and your legacy literally depend on it. My mom tells this story that when I was learning to walk she'd knock me down after I stood up to teach me to do it again. Whatever knocks you down this year, stand back up. If it knocks you down again, stand up again. Keep rising, keep standing & you'll keep growing.
What lessons did 2018 teach you? I'd love to hear them!! Especially since I now know that I don't know everything. HA! Drop them in the comments :)