2018 was one of the most rollercoaster of years I’ve ever experienced. Yet despite the many dips, there’ve been some incredible peaks too.
And HUGE learnings.
Here then are my 2018 highlights … I had wanted to produce a Top 10 but it’s been such a packed year, I couldn’t get it down to just ten.
1 – Joining NCT as User Engagement Lead
I was SO excited to start my 12 month contract in January 2018. This is a charity that I have been involved with since 2002 – as a volunteer, as a breastfeeding counsellor, as a peer support trainer and as a Baby Cafe trainer. THE perfect opportunity to use my many years of IT experience in an organisation I’m passionate about. I couldn’t turn it down and hastily put my coaching practice into semi-sabbatical.
2 – Digital Mums are amazing
Coincidentally (love how the Universe works sometimes), before applying for the NCT role, I had already started work with Lucinda via Digital Mums to manage my social media. Lucinda brought a breath of fresh air and I loved working with her.
3 – Carrie Eddins
Again the Universe at work – I had signed up to work with PR expert Carrie Eddins and she’s done brilliantly to get me picked up by BBC, Sky News and most excitingly at the end of 2018, interviewed for a documentary on the business of cancer.
4 – Breast cancer
I am very grateful to the wonderful NHS who picked up my early stage breast cancer in screening. From screening to biopsy then surgery and radiotherapy, I was treated kindly and professionally. It turned my life upside down however it’s been an amazing experience. I take so many positives from it – I have learned to value and acknowledge the amazing love and support around me; better prioritise family over work; and be more proactive in looking after my own wellness.
5 – Launched Book Club
I launched a subscription book club and far exceeded my hopes for the launch. A book club was NOT in the plan 12 months ago; a direct result of my breast cancer experience.
6 – Salesforce
Working for NCT – an amazing opportunity to develop new technical skills, learn all about agile methodology and do the Salesforce Admin training. I’ve loved it.
7 – Proud Mummy moment
Oh.My.Goodness. So proud of my eldest daughter and her amazing GCSE results.
8 – Sold out
I sold out my first Career Confidence workshop – the day itself was simply brilliant with amazing feedback. I can’t wait to run again in April. I sold out my City Conversationsnetworking dinners (plan to start again when energy levels are back to normal) and my biggest ever turnout for my LinkedIn Challenge in January.
9 – GDPR excitement
Wow, I never anticipated that I become such a data protection and GDPR geek and ‘expert’. That wasn’t part of the initial job description but with my boss out sick, somebody had to get it done. The shy data geek in me revelled in it. I think I was the only person in the organisation to get excited at the prospect of yet another GDPR meeting.
10 – Volunteering
Brilliant fun volunteering in 2018: the London 10k, the London Marathon, Petts Wood 10k and our beginners running course. If you’ve never tried volunteering, give it a go.
11 – At one with nature
It seems ironic that the reason I couldn’t complete my Macmillan Cancer marathon hike in July is because it was 3 days after my own cancer surgery. However I continued my training anyway, up until the week before surgery. I loved being outdoors at one with nature. (There was a lot of stomping, wailing and crying to be done in June after my cancer diagnosis). Post surgery, as a family we spent an amazing week in the Welsh countryside.
12 – Just when you thought it was all over
Just as I had finished radiotherapy treatment, feeling at an absolute low, my husband was rushed into A&E with appendicitis. He spent two very long weeks in hospital. For a while he was seriously ill. At times I don’t know how I kept going. Not that I had a choice. I will never forget the love and kindness shown to me at this time.
At first I couldn’t understand why the Universe had put me through so much, so intensively. I knew there was a message.
It took a while but I realised that the message is “I am loved”. This goes way beyond “I deserve to be loved” which is what I learned in 2016.
Thank you Universe.
13 – Shortlisted
Delighted in June to be shortlisted in the National Mpower Business Awards. Although I didn’t win my category, it was a special feeling to be shortlisted.
14 – Baking the vegan way
I love to bake – my favourite new recipe was Ottolenghi’s Monkey Bread. I also learned to ‘bake vegan’.
Best thing about this was the delight on the student radiographer’s face at Guy’s when she realised I’d baked vegan chocolate cake as a thank you, at the end of my radiotherapy treatment.
So yes very much an up and down year, but a year for which I am truly grateful.
These then are my 2018 highlights, what about yours?