17 Outstanding Stars Share Their Biggest Life Takeaway From This Year (2015)

December 29, 2015

As 2015 comes to an end in less than two days, it's that time of the year, when most of us take a look back and reflect on our delightful and disappointing moments. 

If you have encountered many ups and downs this year, remember the 'downs' are meant to make you grow stronger and the 'ups' means that bad times doesn't last long. 

2015 has given me another chance to grow and get to know myself better. I also know this has been the case for most of you. 

That is why, I have invited 17 amazing personalities to share their biggest life takeaway for this year. 

It's a great honor for me as these wonderful 'stars in their own rights' have accepted my request to be part of my FIRST ROUND-UP POST! :) 

I would love for you to give my guests a warm welcome. I was greatly inspired reading my guests' responses. I am sure their personal experiences, advice, and encouragement will serve as a guidance to help you take on your dreams with greater enthusiasm and a positive mindset. 

 What was your biggest life takeaway this year   (2015) and what did it teach you?  

Harleena Singh 

My biggest life takeaway was the importance of management in life, whether it is time management, blog management, or life management.

Though I've always been knowledgeable of these concepts, and aware of their implementation, 2015 had given me the opportunity to put them to practice and professional use.

I've always been obsessed with planning and good with management as a student, as well as managing my family life. However, blogging brought a twist and increased the difficulty levels, which made managing blogging and life a challenge.

I learned to make good use of every minute of life, recognize and avail all opportunities that knock at my door, and believe in myself to get the confidence for being successful.

Planning and management taught me how to be productive, do the right things at the right time, and maintain a healthy balance in the three sphere of life - personal, social, and professional.

As I mentioned, management was not an alien concept to me, but 2015 helped me align myself to my best of abilities and put my self to a rigorous test.

Philip Verghese Ariel 

There are a good number of takeaways to mention this year from my life. The number one comes in the list is the wonderful testimonials I received from some of the reputed bloggers and writers from around the world.  I compiled all that in a blog post under the title: “What Others Say About Philipscom: Few Testimonials

That was in the beginning month of this year, in fact, that prompted me to go forward with my blogging journey and that lead me to bag some more applauds and recognitions from some of the reputed blogging orgs. The first in line comes from “Baggout.com” They published it under the title: “Top 13 Spirituality and Religion Blogs in India”.

Last but not the least is the a priceless gift from AhaNOW (November 2015)—(last year also my page has been selected for this priceless award) —  published under the title: “Top 10 Inspiring Men Bloggers Of AhaNOW – A Tribute”. These types of giveaways or encouragements helped me to move on with my blogging.  
Rohan Chaubey

Jump off the bandwagon. Be a misfit. 

In 2015, I found the courage to be a misfit. 

By being a misfit, you end up being vulnerable. Ask yourself are you strong enough to be vulnerable? Because the uncomfortable truth about being a misfit is -- it isn’t easy. 

I realized that it is absolutely fine being controversial. Here, “controversial” means “having opinions and beliefs different from that of the general population”. Your raw thoughts are always going to be controversial. 

And I’ve learned that we all have the desire to be distinct individuals, yet most of us are afraid to do things differently. 

I wholeheartedly agree to Derek Sivers’ saying,”Doing the opposite of everyone is valuable.” 

The day I started breaking the mold, I got people talking about me. Some initially disagreed later I found them copying me. (Here I’m referring to the way I dance through my life - online and offline). 

I live by my own quote: “The world accepts normal, but never admires it.” 

I believe we all are misfits, but many of us get influenced by the people around us and unfortunately we lose our originality. 

The only way to lead is to go against the culture. 

You’re a powerful leader if you’re not trying to be like someone else. Being a misfit is scary, but it's liberating.

Stella Chiu

The biggest takeaway this year was the word "REST". You and I must rest from our "toiling" in order to move forward 2016. God has put His ability, wisdom, and power in us to be successful. Believe in and be confident in this aspect. The picture with quote will explain it better: No matter where and when your darkness is, God has put the "light"in you. "let It Be Light" by turning it one.   

Yatin Khulbe

I realized the power of online learning. I have learned a lot from the online community. Thanks to all who have supported and motivated me in my journey. 

I got the real push to turn my passion into profession. When I jumped in the blogging world, I didn't even know about my future plans. Today, I have started my content marketing blog. 

I have big plans for next year. All credit goes to this single takeaway. I am going to give back the same love to online buddies by providing valuable content.

Erika Mohssen - Beyk
I have to say in my life there are not very much new takeaways ,there is more deepenig of past experiences. This year it really made me more certain that the most important thing is to find your true self and accept yourself.

I got certified as a life coach this year and met many other coaches,but I have to say it is not a title which makes you a coach, our host Hema here is the best example ,it is life experience which makes you a teacher and the willingness to make it a gift to others .

Even a stranger who dissapears again can be a powerful teacher,like we see from her story here.

If you care for yourself and find your true self ,you will find the way through life, no
matter what comes in your way. You will be able to master it and help others.

Learn to listen to your intuition ,which is the voice of the universal mind the divine and you will have the best guide. This is what I realized even more this year.

The Self is the goal of life; attain this goal.Upanishads “‘Know Thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world,” 
 “Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be Thyself’ shall be written.”-Oscar Wilde

Ikechi Awazie

My biggest life takeaway is to know that there is beauty in imperfection. 

This made me realize that no one is insignificant. Each and every individual is unique is his own way. 

I discovered that imperfection enables us to grow.

This insight helped me to never disregard others. I gained a lot from looking at life from other peoples’ perspective apart from mine. 

It improved my communication with others and I gained so much dose of inspiration which has made my life worthwhile.  

Swadhin Agrawal

My biggest life takeaway this year was finding that the best thing you can do for yourself, is to believe in yourself when no one else does.

In the passing year, I had a tough time proving myself. I knew I had a passion for writing but hailing from a rural background, I had no one to back me in this career. Even my parents were against my choice of making writing my profession. It’s not that they did not wish my success but the point was they did not agree with me on what I wanted to “define as success”.

My father did not talk to me and was constantly sending people I respected to talk to me and influence me. In India, every father wants his child to be financially secure and land a job that is proven as moneymaking. 

Even my friends abandoned me saying I was being stupid. This is what pains me. 
This is when you have to keep strong and work to prove not only others but also yourself.

I used to work on my laptop when everyone slept (11 pm to 4am) and by day I had to help my father in the shop. This was because I did not want to hurt them by working in front of them. Simultaneously I did not want to hurt myself by not following my passion. 

Gradually when I was able to earn good, I started showing my income and my work to my father. I subtly hinted him my plans of freelance writing and eventually I was able to convince him that freelance writing is my destiny. 

Today, I am writing this in my own office! 
This taught me to have faith in myself. If you have faith in yourself and the passion to pursue your dreams, you can cross the highest obstacles. 

Joan Harrington

My biggest life takeaway for me, in this last year (2015) was learning how to be more patient.  I have struggled with patience my entire life and since 100% focusing on being an entrepreneur and blogging expert this last year, I have finally learned the skills that I need to become more patient, not just in my life but in my business as well.

Learning to be more patient in this last year in my life, has taught me to just believe that all good things happen at the "right" time and only in the "right" time that is best for me.

Going into this new year, and being so much more patient will give me the right mindset to start this year off to a great start just knowing that in time all good things happen in the right time that is best :)

Gurunath Nakka

I have worked for some MNCs for the past 15 years in various streams. In 2011, I met with a major accident and I got a major surgery to my acetabulam. Before the accident I was a Brand Head in a reputed Insurance company and in Marketing field. 

As per doctors advice, I was advised to look for a less physically demanding job and I worked for a low salary which is 1/3rd of which I got in Marketing. This year May 2015, I left the same job due to dissatisfaction, as I used to get only 20 days salary because I used to take sick leaves every month for about 4-5 days. 

The stress both physically and mentally in the 10 hours of office work got immense recently. I have decided to take a risk of leaving the job and searched for work from home jobs. Blogging is the one that has inspired me than any others I looked for. 

So took blogging as a career no matter what may happen in future. I am also learning Web designing (CSS, Java, PHP, etc) to enhance  my blogging career . Although majority of my friends, family and colleagues not happy with my decision, I have self confidence that I can succeed at blogging in a year or 2 from now. 

By god's grace I have developed good relationships with a few great bloggers in the past few months. Hoping for the best in the year ahead. Let's wait and See ...:)

Cori Ramos

2015 was definitely a rollercoaster for me, both in my personal and professional life. 

I had a number of challenges come my way. From having my daughter move away for the first time to attend school, to my parent’s health issues and promoting a web design business. 

The one thing I learned from the ups and downs was that no matter what we are up against, if we persevere and stay in faith, we can overcome any obstacle. 

Archana C Kapoor

'And life goes on'.... this was my life's biggest learning this year. 
I moved to the United States and it's my husband and me in Atlanta now. 

From a big joint family to a nuclear two-people family, from a successful career to a homemaker for the time being, from Indian faces all day long to cars, houses, and greenery night and day, from small talk and long conversations with myriad people to television and long conversations with the husband... life has come a long way. 

Not that I regret the change one bit, it was something I was looking forward to. But it is a big change nonetheless and it has taught me that come rain or sunshine the show must go and life must move on. 
That's the law of nature and applies to us all. The quicker we acknowledge it, accept it and learn to make it part and parcel of life,  the more inner strength we draw to face all the eventualities of life. Change is inevitable and change is the only constant. 

To be able to change with the changing times, flexibility is a must too. 
Flexibility of the mind, because that is the point of acceptance. 
So, embrace change and live a happy life! 

Toby Nwazor

My biggest takeaway this year is that you can achieve anything you set your mind on. 

I learned that if I am determined to get a door open, and I persistently knock on it, it will definitely open for me no matter how big the door is.

Sonal Talwar

Today when I sit back and reflect over the past year, I would say that nothing major happened like change, in my job or some illness. But still I would say 'what a year'! The biggest takeaway was “Do what you love”. If you don’t love what you are doing, then change it. 

We all know where our interests’ lies but we don’t know what our PASSION is. Pursue your passion. Secondly, I realized that things won’t change for themselves. 

If I want to be happy, I don’t have to wait for someone to come and change things for me.
I have to do it myself. 

The year 2015 gave me a lot – an increment in my job and most important I started my blog which helped me pursue my passion of writing.

Thanks 2015! Bring it on 2016!

Lori Henry

When I reflect back on 2015, I realize that it’s been a year of self-discovery. This year I launched L Knits, LLC and then completely changed its focus. In doing so, I learned more about my own sense of clarity, resiliency & grit. 

No one can fully prepare you for the internal struggles that entrepreneurship brings, but there’s comfort in knowing that no one who’s growing and developing a business can escape this critical process.  

There are tons of experts dispensing advice of what worked for THEM, but no one knows L Knits better than I do, and a great deal of what helped those experts, won’t apply to me or my business. 

I only need to listen to & watch my customer. I learned to have faith in my decisions and trust the vision I have for L Knits. I now honor the growth process and have trust in the God I serve, knowing he didn’t bring me this far to only bring me this far.

I boldly step into 2016 with a clear vision, plan and a renewed self-confidence. 

Yvonne I. Wilson

My blogging journey this past year was one that I consider to be extraordinary as well as one filled with many great memories that will remain with me for life. It was a year that proved once again that blessings come from people and places that you least expected.

My biggest moment though was back in September when my blog was awarded its very first badge of honor and was featured among the ‘Best 25 Personal Growth Blogs 2015’ by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

What was so amazing for me was the realization that some of the fruits of my labor were finally paying dividends. You build from the ground up and never quite believe that what you built will grow and what you share each time will impact the lives of so many around the globe. 

That gave me hope and I was encouraged beyond what ordinary words could express to press my way through the discouragement and difficulties that often comes in life, especially that of a blogger. 

Rebekah Josann Samuel

I’m not going to lie. Personally, it’s been a hard year for me. I married, moved away from family and friends many states away and then again for my husband’s career, losing 6 more months of time with him. All while digging around in the graves of my past through intense counseling/therapy and working hard to lay the framework for my own brand.

Looking back over this year, there are two ways I can look at it: 
1) Viewing it as one of the worst years of my life because I faced so much depression, anxiety, and uncontrollable instability; or 

2) Recognizing that, I have not gone through any of this alone. I have my God and the husband He brought to me. I’ve learned lessons and truths about myself through the valleys that will propel me forward into the new year.

The second view is what keeps me going.

Last year, I tackled some great fears and weaknesses of mine. The fear of failure, the weakness of perfectionism, and the “you can’t do it” attitude that threatens my success every day. I decided it was time to shackle these fears and work with my weaknesses. 

As a result, I found myself being paid to feed my passion of blog designing and people gaining interest in my brand, cause, and purpose. Opportunities in tech repair/troubleshooting and financial advice (two of my other passions) repeatedly dropped in my world where I was making a real difference in little ways with a big impact! 

Now, I’m standing at the door of the New Year with a client list and a subscription list that keeps growing for my new blog. This is just the beginning and not even half of what was accomplished this year.

It’s true that if you keep fighting what holds you back, you can overcome and gain victory over it. Every day is a new day, a fresh chance and another avenue full of possibility. Never pass up the opportunity to pursue your passions. 

Work hard, be determined and stay focused. The best advice I could ever give myself is: “You’re going to mess up and it’s ok. Keep trying and eventually, you’ll find your niche.” 

Hema Unnoop

As I look back on 2015, I see lots of laughter, sadness but most of all satisfaction on what I have achieved. As the previous years, this year has taught me a number of life lessons. 

My biggest takeaway is that if you want to succeed you have to be willing to get uncomfortable. 
There were many situations which prompted me to question myself. 

Do I want to remain within my comfort zone and accept mediocrity or do I want to get uncomfortable and live a life of greatness ?

I chose the latter. I chose to step out of my comfort zone over and over again. It felt terribly awkward but I kept going as I knew those were opportunities for growth. 

Many of those uncomfortable decisions I made will see the light of the day in 2016. 
I can't wait to reveal them to you as the year unfolds :)

Over to you - 

What has been your biggest takeaway? What inspired you most this year? 
Do share your thoughts with us and our our readers. 

On this note, I'd like to wish you you a Happy New Year 2016 with the hope that you will have many blessings in the year to come.

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  1. Thanks Hema for including my voice in your first round-up post. From this single post, I have learned a lot.
    Ya, it's all about breaking the shell and living life as if no one is watching.

    1. Hello Yatin,

      Thank you so much for being part of this round-up post. I did learn so much too. It's amazing what great lessons can come from a year.

      2016 is surely going to be promising for us all :)
      Wish you and your family a year full of laughter, health and prosperity :)

  2. After reading one by one of the experiences ,I can say this is a post full of life lessons and very valuable. Believe in your self ,dare to be a misfit ,be patient all comes to you in the right time ,do what you really love, keep your vision no matter what others say ,embrace changes,know if you keep going and you will get to your dream and on the way you will find your true self and shine your light :)
    I wish all a successful happy and healthy Year 2016
    Here is a key to get to your dream:
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
    and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will
    meet with a success unexpected in common hours.-Henry David Thoreau

    1. Dear Erika,

      Thank you for stopping by. You have beautifully summed up the contents of this post. Your contribution was indeed valuable. Thank you for mentioning my experience in it.

      What a great quote by Henry David. We often doubt ourselves and think that our dreams are too big or impossible to achieve. Confidence is sure the key to making our dreams come true :)

      Thank you for your insightful commment Erika.
      Wish you and your family a great year :)

  3. Hi Hema,
    It is indeed a great joy to be in this wonderful list.
    Thank you so much for the kind invite. I am glad that
    my voice too included along with some of the amazing
    people from around the world.
    A job well done, very nicely portrayed with good designing!
    Nice to know that it’s your first roundup post.
    Good. Keep going.
    Season’s Greetings to you and all the bloggers who aired their voices.

    1. Hello PV Ariel,

      I am so glad to have you amidst all the other wonderful people.

      I have tried to put my artistic skills to work with this one as I wanted to showcase all your blurps as beautifully as I could. I'm humbled to know you liked it.

      Thank you for your comment of appreaciation and wishes.

      Wishing you a great year :)

  4. Hi Hema, I just see this post from my mobile and happy to see many of my blogging friends here. I will get back here again after going through it completely.
    Have a great day.
    Reji Stephenson

    1. Hello Reji,

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your comment. Truly appreaciate your for that. It's amazing how blogging makes helps us connect with each other. Glad to connect with you too :)

      Wish you a great year.

  5. Hi Hema,

    It has been a great year, and I am equally taking stock of the year. It is an honour for me to be mentioned in your post. Equally interesting to read what everybody here has to say too. I also love the opportunity to connect to other great bloggers. Thanks for this wonderful networking opportunity dear.

    Looking forward to a much more successful and exciting 2016.

    1. Hello Toby,

      So glad to see you here. Thank you for accepting to be part of my first round-up post. Such an honor for me. I really enjoyed putting this post together. I learned a lot from every single one of you.

      Networking is what I love most about blogging!

      Wish you a great year :)

  6. Hi Hema,

    Awesome roundup indeed :)

    Let me start by thanking you for the kind mention, along with so many blogging friend's, and I think I know most of them, and would love to connect with the others.

    A pleasure to go through the life lessons each one has to share, which would help a lot of other people. I think we all have something to give, and such posts help to bring out the best takeaways from us, isn't it?

    Thanks for taking out the time and putting in the effort to put up such a wonderful post, and each one's contributions. Wishing you a wonderful and success New Year ahead :)

    1. Hello Harleena,

      Thank you for your appreciation here and everywhere on social media. My heart is filled with gratitude for you.

      You're right. I have learned a lot from other round-up posts hence thought to do one of my own and here it is. Reading your account was inspiring indeed. I especially loved how you make good use of every minute.

      No wonder you have been able to achieve so much in such a short period of time.

      When you agreed to be part of this post, I was over the moon. I was greatly motivated to put the creative side of me to work and here's the result.

      Wish you too a great year :)

  7. What a great way to end the year. I loved this post Hema! Each one of your stars had a great takeaway from 2015, but the one that really stuck out to me was Sonal's! It is so true if you are not loving what you do you had better be looking for something else.. Life is just way to short to Not Love what you do..

    This was my biggest take a way as well Love what you do and do what you love!
    Great Share, Thank YOU
    Happy New Year
    Chery :))

    1. Hello Cheryschmidt,

      Thank you for the heartwarming compliment.

      I agree they are all awesome. I agree with you. Sonal was spot on with what she said. Why while away precious time of our lives doing what we hate doing?

      Let's find our passion and purpose and see it through.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your thoughtful comment.
      Wish you too a Happy New Year :)

  8. Thank you for featuring me in your post. I enjoyed reading everyone's response. There are several bloggers here I know and other's who are new, so thank you for introducing me to them :).

    Have a great 2016!


    1. Hello Corina Ramos,

      It was a pleasure to have you amongst all the other wonderful bloggers. I'm glad you have come across some new ones.

      Wish you too a great year :)

  9. Hi Hema,

    Its good to see you all Stars at one place. I learnt so many things from Harleena, Ikechi, Rohan, Yatin & Swadhin, I always thankful to aha-now community because of this I gain good knowledge about blogging and get motivation.

    Happy Holiday and Thanks for sharing this post on your blog!!

    Stay in touch

    1. Hello Anant Patel,

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your comment. Glad to connect with you here and on social media. The names you have mentioned are all indeed worthy of appreaciation.

      I have also learned a lot from the Aha Now community. Being part of it has also helped me take my blog to the next level.

      Wishing you a great year :)

    2. Hello Anant Patel,

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your comment. Glad to connect with you here and on social media. The names you have mentioned are all indeed worthy of appreaciation.

      I have also learned a lot from the Aha Now community. Being part of it has also helped me take my blog to the next level.

      Wishing you a great year :)

  10. Hi Hema

    Thanks for including me in your round-up post. Greatly honored to be among top bloggers. Lot to learn from everyone here.

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hello Hema,

    I have been seeing a lot of lists that are actually a compilation of some great bloggers sharing some awesome stuff for the readers. And, I must say that your list has been presented most beautifully and cleanly.

    I love reading such lists and it helps me relate with the top bloggers of the industry..

    Thanks for sharing..

  12. Hi, Hema

    I greatly appreciate you including me in this round-up post which was done beautifully.
    I know most of them. That collections of life experience of each blogger in 2015 will shape my direction in 2016.

    Wishing a successful year of 2016.

    - Stella Chiu

  13. Hi Hema

    Happy new year.

    I should made a comment. I thought I did so.

    Let me say congratulations for such a wonderful Roundup post.

    It is great to see how others perceive life which is revealed as their biggest takeaway. It is great to know so many awesome bloggers.

    Thanks for mentioning me. I appreciate it so much.

    Have a swell week. Take care.

  14. Hey Hema,

    I have been wanting to read this post for a couple of weeks now. Finally got to. What a great round up I might add. I loved the questions. You made people reflect and I am all for that.

    Many had their own battles, but none ever felt defeated that is what I got from the overall post.

    As to your question. I found that once I knew what I wanted to do, discipline was a lot easier. Being disciplined when you are struggling with bordom or jobs you don't like needs to be congratulated.

    And I am with Harleena, I have been an organised and time management freak. I prided myself in these areas. But when I started blogging everything I knew in these areas had to relearned and adjusted. I really struggled in this area, always feeling overwhelemed. I knew feeling like this was a waste of time so I had to really focus in on trusting myself more than I have had before.

    What a post Hema. Really enjoyed it - thank you.


  15. Hi Hema,

    Wow! There's a lot of insight from all these professional bloggers.

    They mentioned things I had experienced or I'm currently going through.

    A lot of my friends here I witnessed their journey and it's amazing to see their growth.

    This year I'm taking a lot of risk and getting out of my comfort zone.

    Awesome post!


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