Article by Samantha Cullum, Director, Upstartr

At the start of the year you can’t open a magazine without seeing a headline screaming ‘New Year, New You’ and café table conversation is all about new year resolutions, heated debate about planning and sometimes even silent contemplation of life and career.

We know it is tough to talk about plans and progress without sounding like an enlightenment guru or a management text book, so we have penned, our honest, straight talking and jargon free tips for getting the most out of your 2019.

Be passionate

If you love that friend – being with them is wonderful. If you love your work, you will get up earlier and smile more. Find your passion. If you can’t make your passion your work full time, make sure you have enough of it in your life to mean you are fulfilled. Find the balance that works for you. Find a way to be creative, find a way to have an impact, find a way to smile.

Don’t expect a free ride

Most people don’t fall into their dream job. They don’t accidentally meet the CEO of their dream company in Starbucks and get offered a job. You have to graft. You have to show commitment. Most opportunities come from showing competence and making a difference – so work at it.

Things happen – accept it and get over it

You can’t control everything. You have to rely on others. You don’t know everything.

So you will make mistakes and sometimes you will have to deal with difficult people and difficult circumstances. Immaturity and lack of experience will mean you will sometimes fail. But be brave, even if it goes wrong you will learn something and next time you will know what to do differently.

Clarity helps

It is easier to do something if you know what you are doing and why. If life and work feels like a confusing maelstrom, sit down and make a plan. What is the objective? What do you and others need to do, by when and how? If you manage a team, be clear. If you aren’t, how will they be? Get others involved if you need to and share the vision.

Be open to difference

Find people to work and interact with who are different to you. Don’t try to make them you. Adjust your behaviour to help them shine and get the best out of them. They will challenge you, make you think differently and create a dialogue. Challenge creates energy, difference sparks ideas and ideas get things moving forward.

 Never compromise your integrity

You will regret it. You will worry about it. It is a waste of your time and is not worth it.

If you can’t do it – find someone who can

Many of us think we are super-human. We also like to control. Recognise what you are good at, what you can get away with and where you need an expert. Then find them!


A wise friend and colleague once said to me, BANJO – Bang Nasty Job Off. The amount of time you spend worrying about a tough task and stressing about not having done it, is often way more than the time it would take to do it. So just get it done. Save the space in your brain for something more productive.

Don’t isolate yourself

Work can be tough, particularly if you run your own business. You may feel alone even lonely and the pressure can build and build. Don’t let it. Find an outlet and find some support.

If you feel alone working at home, look for a way to engage with people. Go and work in a coffee shop for an hour where there is energy and a buzz around you. Go for a walk and clear your brain. Punctuate your day with a call or a meeting so you have some interaction. Get some fresh air and allow yourself to think.

If you start to feel isolated, find a friend or a friend of a friend to share some of your stresses and strains with, or to bounce ideas off. Join a network or go to a MeetUp with like-minded people. There are so many places now where you can take a laptop or notebook and create and many don’t cost the earth. Find your local go-to.

Make time for you

This is easy to say and challenging to do. It has taken me 20 years to work this one out! Health and balance is a choice, so choose to eat well and move your body. Choose to do things that make you laugh, create connections and stimulate your brain. Give yourself permission to take time for yourself.

Make time for others

Remember if you are feeling all of this, you bet others are too. So take time to reach out and support other people. You are unlikely to regret it.

Samantha Cullum, Director, Upstartr

For help with your business planning, product development or for project management support, contact Samantha direct on +44 (0) 7970 985 183.