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I have managed depression and anxiety my whole life. And these last two years have certainly tested my resolve.

(I don’t do long rants or post frequently but bear with me, I promise I have a point)

I’m a big proponent of self-reflection. I think it’s important to be critical and real with oneself in order to keep growing, evolving, and becoming better. And that’s not just for work (which often does consume me), but also for life in general. This year has forced me to take a critical look at what I’ve been attracting. The past few months have brought me to a few conclusions:

Time – We all have the same 24 hours a day to do what we want with it. I’ve found there’s tremendous value in knowing, understanding, and respecting that. Through this last year I have stretched days too thin, not made the most of others, and everything in between. Ultimately time is what you make of it, and this year I seemed to fight it often. Which brings me to my next lesson…

Control – Control what you can. I have fought this my entire life, and still do. From moments in time, certain situations, and even people’s perspectives, I’ve always thought I had a hand in every aspect one way or another. What I’ve learned this year is when I’ve relinquished control, I’ve shed the instances that I couldn’t control to begin with, ultimately leaving me more options. For someone analytical it makes no sense until practiced, which is easier said than done. Learning what I can and can’t control has given me a better understanding of situations and people and how my decisions play a role in those instances. That work has begun to alleviate unnecessary anxiety I’ve caused myself where I had placed that blame on others.

And my final lesson…

Values – We all have values we follow, some more aware than others. I’ve realized that as a business owner I’ve sacrificed my values I built Squid on as we grew out of fear. I also thought I could change the behavior of people and organizations who didn’t fit my value structure because I could show them a different side (back to me learning about control). Sacrificing my values has burned me out. Spiked my anxiety. Deepened my depression, all because of fear. And while change is tough for everyone getting back to my values has created some tough decisions, forced uncomfortable conversations, and led to some big shifts in business and personally. But that has led to greater health overall. Our business continues to grow faster than I could ever imagine, and I’m finding people and organizations that share the same values. I’ve found that being led by certain values has attracted those values and made me better. Getting back to the values was the best lesson I could’ve learned this year.

I write all of this because it’s the holidays and mental health issues historically spike. The pressures of everything mounts, yearend business takes over, and COVID hasn’t helped. Ryan Reynolds said, “To all those like me who overschedule, overthink, overwork, over-worry and over-everything, please know you are not alone.” For anyone going through something, know you’re not alone. And although I haven’t figured it out, I’m happy to offer perspective on my journey if it’s helpful.

In the meantime, I appreciate you reading this and to my network I wish you all a Happy Holidays and hope you start 2022 on the right foot.

-Miles, Co-Founder of Agency Squid