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Make 2016 the Year You Carve Your Own Path

Somehow, I managed to wrap up 2015 with my arms clasped around the cold porcelain bowl in the ensuite of my home. Perhaps it was my way of clearing out any bad vibes from the year.

Personally, I would have preferred taking Elizabeth Gilbert’s approach, which involves writing down the negative experiences and emotions on small scraps of paper and then tossing them into the fire.

But instead, I was hanging face-first over the toilet. (And no, the situation wasn’t red wine induced).

The fact is: some things are just out of your control. Getting the flu over the holidays and cancelling your plans for ringing in the New Year in Montreal happens to be one of those things.

I spent the majority of the next four days moving from the bed to the couch and back again. It wasn’t what I had in mind for my holiday, but I accepted it. I took it as a sign my body was trying to communicate with me; it was trying to tell me something I had been too busy to hear in the weeks leading up to this point.

It’s time for a break.

I needed a few days with no expectations, no pressure to perform, no deadlines to meet. And since I didn’t answer to these demands on my own accord, my body decided to make the decision for me.

Fortunately, the way my holiday ended does not represent the way the rest of the year unfolded. To be honest, I feel like I spent most of 2015 doing the ass kicking, rather than the other way around.

This was the year I built my own business from scratch.

I found my own clients, developed my own strategies. I put every ounce of creative and mental energy I had into my work. I spent long days typing on the keyboard of my laptop at my desk, attending networking events, travelling across cities and states. None of this is anything extraordinary. It’s simply part of the entrepreneur hustle.

But guess what? I did it.

I started out the year with a monthly income goal I wanted to achieve by December. In September, I hit that goal. In December, I tripled it.

These last four months have been the most challenging and exhausting months of my professional life. But they’ve also been some of the most rewarding. They’re what allowed my husband to quit his full-time job to join me on the entrepreneur ride. And it’s a dream come true for us to be in this together.

I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m sharing my story in the hopes it will help you understand that you can do it, too.

But first, you have to stop asking for permission.

You have to stop believing there’s only one way.

You have to stop saying there’s “not enough ______” (time/money/expertise…you fill in the blank).

Why? Because you are enough.

You have the power.

You have the skills, the experience, the passion, the determination. And if there is something you’re missing, you can discover/learn/create it along the way.

I hope 2016 gives you the courage to take risks, to climb new terrain. I hope you satisfy the yearning to build something real, to spend each day working on something for yourself; something you can be proud of.

I hope you carve your own path, and stop following the conventional one laid out before you just because someone told you it was the best route.

Because the truth is, it might not be.

You are the only one capable of making that decision. You are the only one capable of making a change, taking a chance, creating something new.

And you know what? Life is far too short to spend your days any other way.


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.