The Top 12 Things I Learned in 2022
This time of year it’s hard not to be reflective of all my learnings and then also put into play some practical optimism for what’s to come.
My business is so deeply integrated with my everyday life, I truly find that balancing both is sometimes a magical act, but also a necessity to fuel my happiness.
For those who have been following me for a while now, you know that I rant and rave about how much I enjoy the work that I do. And if this is the first time you’re visiting my blog, I want you to know that I really enjoy the work that I do.
Let me quickly introduce myself again if you don’t know who the heck I am…
I am Suttida
Here’s the reader’s digest version:
- I stumbled into digital marketing back in 2009 and never looked back. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to build my career doing this, and that I’d eventually want to run my own business.
- I finished my MBA in 2012 after going strong two years straight and working full-time. Nothing was more valuable during that time than working experience plus an MBA.
- Post MBA, I was recruited into multiple leadership roles and also started my marketing agency, Fastmarkit, as a side hustle.
- Between the years 2008–2014, I 4x’d my salary and my marketing agency side hustle grew to a quarter of a million dollars.
- Towards the end of 2014, the tech startup I worked for was acquired by Google’s Nest. The exit was a successful one as everyone’s vesting was accelerated so we all walked out with some money.
- In 2015, I leaped into entrepreneurship running my marketing agency full-time and I’ve since grown it to a profitable 7-figure business with low overhead and a sustainable client base.
Now I’m here at the end of 2022 and I couldn’t be more excited.
This was the best year yet for Fastmarkit. I oscillated between growing now or waiting until both of my kids were in school and I made the decision to just go for growth NOW.
What does that mean?
Slow and intentional growth that is. I’m pushing to get the following roles:
- Business Development Manager
- Content Writers
- Content Creators and Editors
- Graphic Designers
- Project Manager
I believe in being 100% remote. I believe that it is possible to get your best work done where you want to without the pressures of commuting to a specific location. Honestly, who made up that rule?
Don’t get me wrong, I think there is value in being face to face, but not when it feels like a chore.
Does that make me a millennial with too much of that Gen Z view? Nah, I’m just me and that’s the way I have always viewed work.
I commuted for nearly 6 years before running my company and it sucked. The traffic. The rush to get out of the house. The wasted time just sitting in your car before work would start and then doing the same before being able to relax at home.
Productivity is important. Maximizing the time you have when you’re awake is even more important.
What have I learned this year?
The short answer: a lot.
Not only has my business grown a ton this year, I’ve also grown even more as an individual.
I’ve become more comfortable and at peace with who I am, I’ve let go of relationships that no longer serve a valuable purpose in my life, and above all else, I am the happiest I’ve ever been.
Instead of highlighting the numerous things I’ve learned in 2022, I’m narrowing it down to my Top 12 and I hope that you find them insightful as well as meaningful for you.
1. Happiness is a journey, not a destination
I’ve realized that the path to happiness is not linear and that being happy one day doesn’t mean you’ll be happy the next. Yes, I believe that happiness is a choice, but at the same time, life happens.
Despite choosing to be happy, there are small and sometimes big things that can still happen, which flips your state of happiness into a ball of “Ugh, this sucks.”
Much of life is a combination of some things being within your control and a larger majority of things NOT being in your control. And it is in the moments where I feel that I don’t have control that the emotion of happiness subsides. It’s all situational.
For this reason, being happy takes a lot of work. Wait, let me rephrase that: being happy takes a SHIT TON of work.
First, you have to make the decision to be happy, then ensure that you try to maintain a greater sense of perspective despite challenges that you might encounter.
2. Boundaries are good for your mental health
Being able to make decisions based on what you feel is best for you is ideal. I’ve learned that saying no is okay, but more importantly, obligation yields some sense of resentment and guilt that was somewhat implanted into my head as a child.
Getting out of that practice as an adult has taken more intentional work on stopping to take a breath before making decisions. Every decision you make has to feed into the trueness of serving your values and interests, not other people’s.
When you put yourself first, it’s less about being selfish than it is about being able to create the right type of energy that you can give.
More specifically, you can only give what you have. Good vibes will breed more good vibes all around; and of course, the opposite is true too. Anyways, you know what I mean.
3. Change and discomfort are magical
I love change especially when I’ve made the decision to do so. Examples would be moving into a different house, buying a different car, and going for a long seven mile run. It’s when change meets me in a reactive state that I feel off balance and discomfort.
On the flip side, my mindset immediately goes into an oddly fun place of: “This discomfort that was brought on by the change is f’ing awesome!” Meaning that I’m an absolute masochist.
Seriously though, I know that what I’m feeling in the moment will pass, but beyond that I believe something super incredibly awesome is about to happen.
When I look back at my career, for example, anytime I stepped out of my comfort zone, I was able to create as well as encounter more opportunities. That’s where the magic happens.
This is why I embrace change and discomfort because I know that growth is happening. I don’t want to stay in the same place. I don’t want to stagnate. I want to keep learning, growing, and sharing the valuable lessons along the way, in hopes that it’ll help others too.
4. Don’t force anything
You hear this more when it comes to romantic relationships, but not forcing anything also comes in handy when it comes to ALL relationships in life. From work to friends and family, they all encompass an expected sense of what you want out of all of these.
But, when you are able to let go of these expectations, you find that you’ll be able to build more meaningful relationships. Less projections and more objective assessments.
Here are five key things that I’ve learned in not forcing anything to happen but embracing the movement of staying disciplined, having a different perspective with what I can control and being patient with the results:
- Ask yourself on the daily: Am I assessing every situation accurately or am I projecting how I feel onto what’s happening? 🤔
- Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it. 🙏
- Your trauma is not your fault, but healing from it is your responsibility. ✊
- Your family’s dysfunctions don’t define you, your choices do. 🙌
- The universe has a way of filtering out the people that should not be in your life. Embrace that. 🤗
By not forcing anything to happen, you’re also in a better state of mind that peacefully serves your desire to be happy. I’ve found that anytime I would get disappointed about the loss of a friendship or results taking too long with my business, it was just purely teaching me a lesson of doing what is in my control and allowing the rest of the process to take its course.
Taking this approach has given me some ginormous wins and I’m celebrating those with the greatest amount of gratitude known to the human race. Wow, that just sounded like a big hyperbole, but truly, I genuinely feel this way.
5. Your growth is subjective
Anyone can make judgments about other people. It’s when you can be more retrospective and look inward without passing any judgments onto others.
I mean seriously, why are we judging other people? I get it if you want to judge me for wearing my Hoka Bondi 7’s because I’m judging myself too, but the judgment of other people stems from a deeper place of insecurities. And on some rare occasions, it’s your intuition telling you that something or someone is not good for your mental health.
My point is however you want to grow is up to you. You’re on your own timeline, not someone else’s. But don’t ever lower your standards to serve someone else’s needs because even though it’ll feel great being able to ‘help’, it will drain you from truly growing.
You’ll find that, in general, when you get rid of the things that take too much from you, you make room for better things and your growth becomes even more limitless. Remember that.
6. Gratitude is the best attitude
When I start to fall into the realm of criticizing myself well into even comparing my progress to someone else’s, I immediately stop. I stop, drop, shut ’em down, open up shop… Okay, I don’t do that, but it’s so hard not to immediately gravitate towards quoting DMX when I shape the sentence that way.
Back to the topic…
Anytime you start to feel inadequate, start thinking of all of the things you are grateful for. It is easier to think about the things you don’t have than it is to think about the things that you do have.
When you are used to something or someone, there is less of a thrill there; less of that dopamine and serotonin that always makes you feel like you’re on cloud 9.
However, getting into the practice of deep gratitude is a sure fire way to staying grounded with where you came from, where you are now, and the potential that is ahead of you.
In other words, be happy with where you are as you continue working for what you want.
7. Keep feeding your curiosity
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve randomly woken up in the middle of the night and thought of random things like, “How exactly does cloud computing work?” or “Kipchoge runs 215 KM a week, how many miles is that?”
First off, why the hell am I thinking about this right now? And secondly, am I really that productive while sleeping? Thirdly, why am I not just in some sort of REM or deep sleep dreaming that I’m a badass Marvel character like Black Adam and flying around eating the way The Rock does on his off days?
Case in point with feeding my curiosity. Or perhaps, I’m just good at going off in tangents in an effort to be comical.
I love learning. I’m just curious by nature which then leads to being very inquisitive and wanting to figure out how to do things better, more efficiently, and effectively. This is a big reason for my business success and why I climbed the corporate ladder so quickly in my 20s.
Once I get into something, there is no half-assing it. I have to learn what I need to until I fully understand what it is I am doing. I know I’m always a work in progress through the process.
8. Taking action will decrease anxiety
Anytime I’ve felt anxiety creep up due to all of the things I’ve had to get done or even due to overthinking, I push myself to move. Moving doesn’t have to be productive, but it has to be effective. For example, going for a 60 min run to release some endorphins and tension is a good one.
Another thing is to write and get creative.
I think of the exact challenge I’m facing or that my clients experience and I make something creative of it. I push to write small snippets and summaries all the way to full blown 2,000 word blog posts.
From there, I turn these assets into videos and organic social media posts that spam the 10 people who are my biggest fans. (Side note: 5 of those 10 people happen to be my nieces, nephew, and kids. Don’t even judge me). In the marketing world, that’s a 50% engagement rate, which is AWESOME!
9. Grief makes you realize how short life really is
In the past two years I’ve lost two of the most important people in my life: my grandparents.
They’ve shaped me into the person I am today. Growing up in a household that didn’t feel safe all of the time, I found safety in them. I found unconditional love that was empowering, encouraging, supportive, and happy.
I have found that it can be easy to always push to attain all of the things you don’t have, but when you want what you already have, there is a sense of security as well as satisfaction.
Spend your life with people you genuinely enjoy being around and that bring out the best in you and vice versa; Spend your life working on your craft — something you deeply care about — so you don’t have to settle working a 9–5 that makes you question your life decisions.
And finally, don’t take yourself too seriously. Nothing is perfect. Progress within the process is the new mantra. Yes, I just made that up, but pass it on because I think it has the potential of going viral.
10. Create your own opportunities
No one is coming to save you. No one is going to hand you a key to open all of the doors to the amazing opportunities that you want.
I have found that when you take on the responsibility and accountability to create the life you want, you no longer seek validation from other people and you get more comfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone to achieve greater success.
The biggest secret behind bridging the gap between your desires and the reality of encountering opportunities boils down to your willingness to take risks and action.
Obviously, you don’t want to be reckless with the risks that you take, but it’s about being pragmatic. Focusing on what is in your control and what you can influence.
More importantly, I’ve found that when you are at a place where you feel good about yourself and the value you bring to the table, you begin to positively impact your surroundings.
And that’s where opportunities begin to meet you tenfold.
11. It’s okay to have bad days
Oh goodness gracious, if I only had a dime for every single time I’ve had to give myself this pep talk.
“It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to have shitty days. It’s okay to feel like you don’t want to do anything today.”
Mishaps and missteps will happen. Sometimes you play a role in these and sometimes they just happen. However, you can’t let them hinder you from moving forward.
Shifting my perspective on the bad days has helped me go from amplifying the feelings of helplessness to feelings of validating myself and then also being a problem solver.
You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it, so that’s why shifting your perspective is so valuable. This isn’t to say that I avoid the bad days by pretending they aren’t there. I know I have a choice. I can either sulk in a “poor me” mentality or figure out a way forward.
12. You attract what you give
Knowing that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea has made navigating this life and business thing better such that my ego is in check and I have less expectations of others.
Let’s be real here… There will be people in your life who walk in to drain your energy because you simply have what they don’t. Then there are those who will lift you with an abundance of the great things you desire.
The common denominator here is YOU.
Think about it. How do you really feel about yourself? How do you feel about your life? How do you feel about the people you surround yourself with?
The answers to these questions are a direct reflection of the type of energy you are pushing out into the universe.
I’ve been so damn proud of the following:
- Giving more to my personal growth
- Giving more to my health
- Giving more to the relationships that fuel my needed dose of serotonin
- Giving more to my business
And in turn, I’ve attracted so many amazing people and results.
Let’s conclude, shall we?
Nothing in life will ever stay the same. The only permanent thing in life is death.
Whoa, that sounded really morbid and black and white, huh?
Okay, stay with me here… give me a quick moment to expound. For me, I look at sacrifices my family has made to immigrate to the U.S. during the Vietnam war in pursuit of a better life.
I was lucky enough to be born here in the U.S. And I take that emotion and carry it with me in all that I do. I want to unleash my potential and it’s a ME thing. That’s why I don’t care what others think.
I want to see what I can make of this ONE life I’ve been given. I owe it to myself and to my amazing grandparents who led the way to bringing their family here to the U.S. to pursue The American Dream.
Signing off, y’all. Thank you for reading — I appreciate each and every one of you. ❤️
Original post can be found here.