The year 2012 was quite a year! There was much change, excitement, fear and risk taking that happened both professionally and personally for me. As the year is coming to a close, I wanted to share my Top Ten Takeaways for this year. I can’t guarantee that they will be as riveting as David Letterman’s Top Ten, but here goes…

10. Don’t concern yourself with what other people think about your decisions. I learned that I am the one who has to live with my decisions, so I need to be able to not lose sleep at night over them.

9. Feel the fear and do it anyway! I took a HUGE leap of faith in starting my own business this year. I was terrified, but I felt that fear and did it anyway. So far, so good…

8. Recognize that it’s okay to not have structure in certain aspects of your life. People who know me know that I’m quite regimented in my routines – I’m a list maker, organizer, planner, some might even say ridiculously stringent about some things. Upon becoming self-employed, alot of that structure went away and I didn’t know what to do with myself at first. It took me a while to calm down my thoughts and just be okay with it. Now, I embrace being able to grocery shop at 10 am if I feel like it!

7. Money doesn’t buy happiness…no brainer, right? Well, I used to think that having a great income should make me happy. WRONG! While I had a great wardrobe, amazing shoes (bit of an addiction there) I found myself unhappy, unfulfilled and wanting something more, but not sure what that was. Now, I have a different relationship with money – I consider my purchases carefully and thoughtfully, ensuring that they will meet a need, either spiritually, functionally or emotionally.

6. Workplace friendships can go beyond the workplace. The relationships we cultivate and nurture in the workplace are special. Often times, we tend to spend more time with the people we work with than our own families. While perhaps not ideal, I’ve learned that those relationships extend beyond the workplace and those individuals are extremely special and critical to our wellbeing as individuals. Those friends know you at your best and your worst. Just because you leave a workplace doesn’t mean you leave the friendship.

5. Never burn a bridge. If you decide to leave an employer or a company, do so in a respectful manner. Don’t “check out” and not fulfill your duties. Remember, that employer is paying you until the last minute of your last day. You don’t want the last memory of your employment relationship to be a negative one. I gave 5 months’ notice of my resignation at my last employer and I worked HARD up until 7 pm on my last day. Give it your all and you will be remembered for that.

4. Give back. I have had the extreme pleasure and honour of volunteering with 2 fabulous non profit organizations in my community. Being able to give back to the community in which I live has been both rewarding and fun. Added bonus – I’ve met some amazing people with great stories to tell!

3. Unplug. I used to be so connected to my Blackberry, for fear that I would miss something critical. Reality check – I’m not saving lives, here, just working in HR!

2. Never stop learning. I’ve always loved learning new things and this year was no exception. I had the opportunity to take some courses and in doing so, I was reminded how much I love to learn.

And…my #1 takeaway for 2012…

1. Give Thanks. Every day I am thankful for the life I have been given, the many friends and family that support me and love me even when I doubt myself and my intentions. Without their unwavering support, I would not be where I am today! I challenge you to give thanks to someone that has made a positive impact on your life this year and tell them sincerely how much you appreciate them.

2013 is a new year that will be full of hope, promise, challenges and who knows what else. I wish all of you that read this blog the very best for the year ahead!