It’s February and we sure have reached the end of 2018. Obviously. I would like to take the opportunity to share with you some of my learnings from 2018. Better late than ever. Last year has been the fastest, the most chaotic and probably one of the most stressful years of all not counting my freshman year in US. But, I think have made some great steps towards my bigger goals.

The real question is whether I could have done it at the much slower pace that would not drain me as a vampire would. Because last year could literally be named The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.

So here I come with my drama.

Change of job

I changed jobs this year. Remember when I lived in Amsterdam for three years and worked for a big retail company in sales? And remember when I moved back to my motherland Slovakia and worked for a media agency? Yes, that happened. I moved from Amsterdam to Slovakia for a new job and so I could spend more time with my fam, never mind that I would be paid the salary of an average construction worker in Macedonia. As great as the job sounded at first, the position was called Media Strategist (wow) and nobody could tell me what my fucking job would be. Furthermore, my immediate manager was fired right after I came, so I did not have a manager for three months, and then even after a year, nobody could tell me what the hell I was doing there.

Lesson.1. : Before you move to a different country for a job, make sure you know exactly what your scope of work is going to be. Don’t get excited just because the job sounds or looks great on paper. Being a media strategist sometimes felt like being the go-to-girl for everything and nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it must be a nice position to have in a creative agency, but not so much in a media agency. WTF is a media strategist supposed to do if a briefing goes to a creative agency and by the time it comes to my media agency everything is already ready to launch. Done, bye, next. More on this in another article called – “Why everyone should work for an agency at least once. Not for too long tho. Three months is enough.”

So I changed jobs in April. I am now the Head of Branding and I manage a team of five. As one would say in Slovakia: Even a blind hen sometimes finds a grain of corn. WATAHELL, Slovaks and their sayings are truly weird. What I mean to say is that I got lucky to find my new job. I had never managed a team, (Not counting a kindergarten girls gang), so this was a new challenge for me since it’s not only about your performance but the performance of your whole team. I am responsible for all communication of a brand called Klarstein which are well-designed cookware and essentials. From managing all communication brand campaigns for 7 countries, including social media, influencers, offline and online channels to making sure that each team member is motivated to do their best job.

Lesson n.2: I am not much of an organizer by nature and I tried to have a 0 inbox policy once. For a week. Then I had to prioritize between my organized mailbox and execution. I work in a fast paced environment. Sometimes it’s way too fast even for me, but I am getting better with help of Asana to keep up with my projects and mailbox. For the future, I am planning to execute less and organize and plan more in order to stay tranquil. The moment I get flu or something like that I know that I did my job with planning poorly. Shame on you Klauds. 

New relationship

Having a new relationship is always a challenge, especially for me. Why especially for me? Well being a former athlete in an individual sport where all you care is about your business and your business only is one thing. Another is being completely comfortable with yourself because there is no mirror. Meaning that all relationships mirror the relationships you have with yourself. This is a good article about it. I am probably one of the most independent people I know. Being in a relationship means changing my ways and behavior. We celebrated our 1 year anniversary on December 17th and overall I could not be happier. Well, hold on, I could be happier. I could win a lottery and drink mojitos in Tulum, but let’s not mix love with money. Patrik is a sweet, loving, caring, sexy guy. He is also younger. When I turn 50, he will be 47. What a win. But hey, jokes aside, I still need to work on myself a lot to be the partner I would want to have.

Lesson n. 3: I completely stopped reading self-help books and guides about productivity, startups, business, and relationships. It really does not help to read a book, act accordingly to a book and then not know your true-self. Every time you read a book and you think you just found a key to insert yourself, you just found another way not to face yourself. Go back to yourself and to your body. More on this in another article, because these clichés are boring and totally not self-explanatory. 

Moving in with my boyfriend

Having a relationship is one thing. It is another to move in and share the same space with each other. You can’t take a day off and see each other in two days at the movies. All of a sudden you share your problems, your paychecks, your life. All of a sudden you get to know each other in different ways. You get to know the dark sides as well. Well, my boyfriend definitely got to know my dark sides. DART VADER SIDES. LOL. Our biggest problems were when we realized he loves order and I love my organized chaos. When I come home, first I put my bag on a hanger in the hallway, then I walk to the kitchen and I might or might not take off my coat right there or in the living room, following my jeans in the bedroom and so on. After some time I will collect them respectively and put them where they belong but this act just gives me a feeling of freedom to be home. Oh god, it drives him nuts. I mean I get it but why so much drama for a coat in the living room. Then there is the matter of how two people were raised differently. ‘We still don’t agree about getting a housecleaner, but we accept each other.. I am in favor of paying a house cleaner to get the regular chores done like washing the floors, cleaning the dust, cleaning the bathroom, windows, and so on. We don’t have a big apartment but let’s look at the facts. We both work the same amount of time. Once we come home we should enjoy our time together and not have to worry about the dusty cabinets. Well, his view is that we should make time to keep the house clean together because it’s our responsibility and we could use it as a bonding time. Urgh. Well, we decided to compromise and have a cleaner once in a while still doing some chores together.

Lesson n. 4: When two people are raised in different environments, opinions will differ, whether it comes to cleaning, tidying up, or cooking. But it’s better to date someone with different views than to date your own sibling. Not good for the kiddos. 

Renovating a flat

We moved into my apartment in July. The apartment has everything but it’s old and I want it to look a certain way. My boyfriend is a construction and architecture engineer so he projects the buildings and he does 3d visualizations. He projects the apartment and then we execute. Of course not by ourselves, but what we did completely on our own or with the help of our friends is the brick wall. The apartment building was made out of bricks and then painted white. I really like the old industrial look with modern twists so we decided to take down the white coating and have a raw disclosed brick wall in the living room. Oh wow, this also showed the tiny differences between us because I was like well let’s do this little wall over the weekend and we are done. My boyfriend knew what it takes to take the coating down and he warned me. Yes, he did. But I am unstoppable. It took the whole 5 days, 350 kilos of trash, and a bit of stress. But I am proud of it and I don’t regret it. It really gave the apartment the authentic raw look I was going for. Next: a wooden wall in the kitchen and a living room.

Lesson n. 5: Listen to your boy sometimes. 

Coaching

First, I owe you the explanation of what coaching is and what it is not. Coaching is a technique that could help people to solve their problems. It’s not therapy and it’s not athletic coaching. It’s really an art of giving good questions. This year I decided to go through coaching training to become a certified coach. Oh wow that was tough. Coaching is a great tool to know yourself and others. But it could turn ugly because you could find some hidden issues that you might have. I attended the coaching school of Dalibor Bednarik, he is a certified ICF coach with huge experience. So now you can expect some nice coaching articles up on my blog soon 🙂

Life after sport a.k.a Balin Club

Last year I connected with Martina Sucha, and we decided to move on with the project about athletes transitions together. Together we organized 5 events that were designed for current and former athletes. In December 2017, I organized an event that has opened the topic of life after sport in Slovakia, but this time we wanted to focus on specific topics that athletes might struggle with right after retirement. We decided on the following topics: Networking, How to find new passion after sport, How to become an influencer, Dual Careers, meaning if it’s possible to study at the university and also play sports professionally at the same time, Personal Finances and Success Stories which was the last event in 2018 where we invited top athletes and had a panel discussion about their transition. Overall I am happy with the events, we could have more people, that is for sure but I’m glad Martina and I did it. In November, we were invited as speakers to a conference which was great. We talked to many managers of clubs, sports associates and others about athletes transitions. However, I am a bit bummed that I did not write more interviews this year because that’s what I really liked in the first place. Well, there is only so many hours in.

Lesson n.6: Plan more realistically, because things could take more time than you’d expect. 

Getting a puppy

Not long ago, in December, Patrik and I got a puppy, a pug puppy. A little pug pig baby puppy. OMG. I always wanted to have one so I still can’t believe I have one. I was literally crying over a pug puppy for 6 months, so he said enough and we went to Prešov to buy the angel. His name is Enzo and he is the best. Really. I take him to work almost on a daily basis which can be tough sometimes, but if I’ll train him, it’s going to be sweet at work. I am not saying it is not hard and that it’s all rainbow and unicorns but the feeling when you come home and Enzo is peeing his pants from excitement is priceless. HA. Everyone should be ready though for making compromises and a schedule according to their puppy. We also got lucky with a puppy kindergarten here in Bratislava. If I have a tough meeting or work-related stuff we take him to a daycare where he plays and socializes with another 10 dogs. Sweet.

Lesson n. 7: No lessons, it was love at first sight. 

Traveling

In 2018 I hadn’t saved much money but I went to three countries on my list. Venice, Tel Aviv, and New York. OMG it was worthy. Loved all three of them. Other than that I have visited Alps twice, Budapest, Vienna, and Lisbon. This year I want to travel less and save a bit. Since I am almost 30 YO (April) I should probably spend money more responsibly.

Lesson n.8: Well I honestly don’t regret any travel plans, I just wish I could have more time and money for all my traveling dreams 🙂

The bigger picture: Social media is here so embrace yourself. Many of my friends got engaged, pregnant or delivered a baby or multiple babies right on Instagram. This might get very stressful itself because us humans, we love to compare our lives to somebody else’s life. You might not even want to have a baby or get engaged, but your environment suggests you things. I had so many moments in 2018 when I was like “awww I should get a baby” but then when I was late for my period for even a day I got right into a panic attack because somewhere inside I knew I don’t want a baby just yet. I want to travel, see, explore, work some more and when I am ready I will be ready. Don’t get fooled by social media or other influences like your over-motivated mum telling you over Sunday lunch you should get a baby, because you are old enough to have one. A great example was when I got Enzo. I wanted it from the beginning. I knew it was a great idea, I was constantly thinking of getting a puppy and when I got him I was so happy. It felt right the whole entire time. It needs to feel right, not suffocating. 

I wish you all a happy new year, even if its February. K 🙂

Enzo has an Instagram account (of course) follow him on @theenzoofficial