I never thought I’d miss the formal management reviews I was forced to endure when I worked in retail, but I do. Sometimes external expectations, accountability and encouragement are nice things to have at your disposal. Being my own boss means it’s up to me to review my progress, cheer myself on, and have a stern word whenever there’s room for improvement.

So, at the end of 2017, as I do each year, I compiled a list of all my professional achievements from the previous 12 months. When you’re busy doing the work, it’s not always easy to be subjective about the systems and processes that keep things ticking over. I find examining what went well, and identifying things that didn’t, helps me adapt and change.

‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.’ – Steve Jobs

Looking back at the best work I’ve done also helps me figure out which tasks and projects have given me most pleasure. As I read through my list from last year, I asked myself: ‘What do I want to do more of in 2018?’.

Love Audrey Workshops the Wedding Sessions at Bakesmiths in Bristol

The Wedding Sessions

For me, the highpoint of 2017 had been hosting a workshop with my friend Kirsten, otherwise known as The Little Wedding Helper.

Kirsten originally founded The Wedding Sessions in 2014 with our mutual buddy, Emma Woodhouse. Aimed at both fledgling wedding entrepreneurs and established businesses that have lost their motivational mojo, the inspirational day-long workshops promise practical advice, anecdotal tips and lots of little lightbulb moments.

With Emma busy building a new empire, Kirsten asked me to take the reins with her. We spent a day surrounded by inspiring female business owners, telling them everything we know about chasing dreams, working for yourself and running a wedding business.

The Weding Sessions workshop Think Bigger Shine BrighterThe Wedding Sessions business workshopFemale business owner at workshop Female business owner taking notes at workshop

What Did I Learn?

Sharing knowledge and expertise is something I’ve always had a knack for and I’m generally happiest when I’m helping others. When I was little, after published author, teacher was next on my list of dream jobs. It was an idea I held on to for years and I always intended to do a PGCE after my undergraduate degree. When I worked in retail, recruitment and training was a huge part of my role. Whether I was showing a small cohort of Christmas temps how to use the till or inducting 100 new employees for a big store opening, I always found the experience fulfilling.

Writing will always be my first love, but it can be a lonely pursuit. The Wedding Sessions reminded me how much I enjoy working in a team and spending time with like-minded people. It also helped me recognise how important it is to keep challenging yourself and doing things that push you outside your comfort zone.

Looking back and realising how much I’d enjoyed working with her in 2017, I sent Kirsten a text, suggesting we team up again in the new year. Fast-forward to the end of last month, and we were hosting another workshop together at Bakesmiths in Bristol.

I enjoyed the experience even more than before and came away feeling incredibly motivated and inspired. The response from attendees has been excellent and we’re preparing to release tickets for two more events in the autumn.

The Wedding Sessions workshop BristolLove Audrey workshops The Wedding Sessions BristolFemale business owner taking notes at workshopThink Bigger sign at The Wedding Sessions

How to Do More of What You Love

Don’t wait till the end of the year. Write down all your professional achievements from the last 6 months. What is it about them that makes you feel proud? Which ones make you smile the most? How might you create similar opportunities for yourself going forward?

Once you’ve figured out what kind of work you’re seeking, set yourself some goals and make a plan! If you feel stuck or uncertain, Kayte’s post about Goal Setting for Your Creative Business is well worth a read.

I don’t think the benefits of this process are limited to the professional sphere. Looking at your personal life and identifying the things that feel most nourishing is also a good idea. We can’t necessarily remove everything we hate doing {the laundry won’t wash itself, sadly}, but if we prioritise the things we love and commit to doing them more often, life can only get better, right?

Love Audrey xxx

All images shot by Evoke Pictures for The Wedding Sessions.

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