My top three life lessons from 2017


I was given free rein for what to write about in this blog for 5 Days of Women and seeing as it’s nearing the end of the year and I’ve been feeling nostalgic, I thought I’d pick my top three life lessons from 2017.

1.        Enjoy the rollercoaster of life

I started the year with two clear objectives: to get promoted and to run a sub 4:15 marathon.  Let me tell you that neither of these things happened and at points during the year I felt really disappointed in my achievements and questioned what I was capable of.  But I remained focused on my long term aims, gave myself daily pep talks and relied on my support network.  What I found through that process was that the vast majority of people that I spoke to had experienced set-backs and not only lived to tell the tale, but had prospered as a result.  I began to realise that this is part and parcel of striving to succeed and really does shape you as an individual.  Funnily enough, once I had overcome these set-backs I was presented with an opportunity for a new role at work which was a big step up from my previous role, more challenging and rewarding.  At the beginning of the year I would have never dreamed I would be doing what I am now and I’m so pleased that I was able to hunker down and weather the storm.  Next time I am facing career challenges I will remember this as a life lesson and see the positive in it as it’s shaping me into a better woman.  As for the marathon, I’m still working on it but I will get there.

2.       Prioritisation still remains key

I have held a belief for a long time that prioritisation is the key to success and I know it sounds incredibly transactional, but I see my life as a series of lists of actions which I am shuffling the order of and ticking off as I complete.  To me all you need to do is understand how important each task is and then give it your upmost focus whilst you complete and move on.  Moving in to a new role this year has tested this theory as I have juggled new areas of work, been busier than I knew was possible and still maintained a healthy work life balance.  The two things that I have found work for me and now consistently try to do, are to do my workouts first thing in the morning (whatever time that needs to be) and do the tasks you don’t want to do first.  Seeing that written down I now understand it is one piece of advice and one application of that advice…but whatever, I’d encourage you to give it a try as it has worked really well for me.

3.       You can only do your best

I have always been envious of people who can have a ‘that’ll do’ attitude.  I am plagued by a perfectionism and commitment to a task that is quite painful at times, and means I live in fear of what may happen if I’m not on my ‘A’ game.  However as I have progressed in my career, and particularly this year as I have started my new role, I have learned to not be so hard on myself and that actually, sometimes being not quite at your best is no bad thing.  I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything to the absolute best of my ability and this has forced me to understand the importance of each task I am doing.  At the end of the day, my priority is having a happy husband, happy clients, happy teams, and a happy me.  So this year I have learned to just focus on doing my best and when I hear that voice of disapproval coming into my head I push it back and tell myself that my best is good enough.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading what I’ve learned this year and I’m intrigued to find out what I’m going to learn next year.


Cathy Wilks, PwC - Data & Analytics in Assurance

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