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~by Haley Lynn Gray~

To say that 2016 was a rough year in my life would be an understatement. My oldest daughter sustained a traumatic brain injury at the very end of 2015, and we had her in and out of the hospital for months this year. Now, 12 months later, she still isn’t completely back to being her normal self. And she isn’t back to school yet, either. She is slowly getting better, but requires a lot more love and attention than your average 18 year old. In July, after I suffered a major health scare, I decided to sell two of my businesses. It was clear that to continue with the amount of stress that I was under was not going to be a winning combination. Then, my younger daughter broke a leg in September, causing another round of issues. So, to say that there have been plenty of challenges would just about sum it up.

Aside from all the challenges, this year also brought me a tremendous number of lessons. I learned a lot about myself and about people around me. I learned who my friends are, and who can be trusted and who can’t.  

Here are my top lessons of the year:

1. I am who I am, and I’m not going to make everyone happy all the time. It’s okay if you like me. It’s okay if you don’t. Not everyone has to love one another, but courtesy, respect, and kindness are important.  

2. I learned a lot about who my real friends are and who is part of my support system. As a result, I’m on the hunt for a new church and I’ve made some tremendous new friends. It’s funny how when you find yourself at a point where you can’t give any more, people really show their true colors. One friend who had borrowed a lot of money from me took the opportunity to throw me under the bus, and then went around town badmouthing me when I had the audacity to actually expect to be repaid.

3. Not everyone is as they appear to be. Some people who come across as being super nice are actually evil incarnate. I believe that Karma has a way of dealing with those people. Sometimes people who don’t seem so nice to start with are actually quite amazing individuals.

4. Taking care of myself is not simply an option. It’s not a choice. It’s a requirement. If I don’t take care of myself, there won’t be a business, and I won’t be able to take care of my family.

5. I’m worthy of being loved and receiving gifts. Learning to accept gifts from others can be quite difficult, especially if you’re used to always being on the giving end — giving and giving, until it hurts. Gifts aren’t always material; sometimes they’re gifts of time, talent, or service. But beware of someone who expects you to believe that a half-baked job counts as a gift.

My resolutions for the new year are actually around the lessons I’ve learned this past year.  I will continue to focus on growing my business and taking care of myself. I am setting boundaries in my life and in my work. I’m putting myself first and making myself a priority.  I’m also making it a priority to reach out to friends and to continue to nurture relationships.  

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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

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