IT has been a whole year. We have been through this journey together for 12 months. You have been kind enough to read my words and thoughts for a year. I have managed to find enough things to ramble about for this long! It's because of all of you that I get to do this, and I was extremely honoured and grateful when I was asked to continue #theimandatoryread for Flair. I hope you're as excited as I am.
I have to be honest and tell you that I don't often know what I am going to share with you till the very last second when I sit in front of my computer and force the words to flow out. Sometimes they come very easily, and flow from one paragraph to the next. But other times it's almost painful as I type and re-type the sentences that don't seem to fit.
When that happens, I remind myself that it always works out in the end. I manage to meet the deadline (except that one time, but we won't talk about that, ha ha!) and another edition of #theimandatoryread gets published and shared with all of you. Many things have happened in 2017 which have changed me.
However, there is a story I have kept to myself for a while, but I think it's time to share it in the hope that it'll serve not only as a good reminder to myself, but maybe help anyone who needs it too.
A few months ago, I seriously considered quitting. I had just moved to The dUCk Group after being Girlboss' personal assistant at FashionValet for two years. I joined the marketing team at dUCk, which was a move Girlboss and I had agreed that I should make; I did not quit my role as a PA, neither was I fired by Girlboss, ...both are rumours that I've heard, ha ha!
It was a petrifying experience for me — I had no experience in marketing and jumping into a brand that had such a large following made me scared. On the outside, I was gung-ho and ready to try something different, but once I broke down the layers and truly realised the responsibility I was taking on, I was terrified.
Not only was I going to be held accountable for a brand that I loved but also, a brand that someone I loved had built from scratch, so it was a lot to handle. I doubted my skills and capabilities and could not handle the pressure. I couldn't catch up with the events, details, campaigns, launches, social media — everything! I felt like I was drowning.
Many people have asked me which is harder, being a PA or a marketing executive, but they are two very different things. I cannot compare them because each has its own set of challenges and I would never dream of undermining one over the other because they are both demanding.
It was that demand that I felt I could not answer to. After a few weeks on the job I mentally retreated and told myself that I was not built for this marketing role. I wasn't built to be a "marketeer" (sounds like musketeer doesn't it?). I didn't want this huge responsibility, and I knew I was going to fail.
I also wasn't happy dealing with the pressure. I told my husband that I didn't want to do it anymore, and after three weeks, I went to Girlboss and told her that I wanted "out". She very calmly took me to our (her) favourite lunch spot (Boat Noodle) and gave me the biggest reality check.
Nothing is going to be easy — if everything is easy then everyone would be a marketing executive, everyone would be an entrepreneur, everyone would be flying a plane! She then asked me "How do you think your readers would feel if they knew that you were quitting something after three weeks? This goes against everything you talk about in your articles." That hit me in the heart.
She was right. I immediately thought of all of you — all the sweet, kind, supportive people who send me messages, emails and who come up and tell me how much #theimandatoryread means to them. I am getting emotional now. You can't see it, but trust me when I say I am trying to hold back tears.
I was doing the exact opposite of what I advocate — to be strong, fearless, and to never give up. To fight for what you want, to work hard and to be proud of everything you create.
I was being meek, weak and running away from something that scared me. I felt ashamed, and I knew that if you knew, you'd be disappointed in me. I thought about how I would want others in a similar position to fight through their insecurities and to give challenges a fair chance before deciding it wasn't a right fit.
Girlboss gave me the reality check I needed and we concluded the Boat Noodle session with me agreeing to give my 100 per cent till the end of 2017, and then we would reevaluate if this position was the right fit for me.
I am happy to report that it's now 2018 and I am in love with my work. I have grown out of my doubts and I feel in control of my responsibilities. There is no better feeling than knowing you are part of a team who believes in a collective vision and who works as hard as you do in building a strong and value-driven brand.
These days I find myself thinking more and more like a marketeer and I giggle when I see how far I've come. But truly, the biggest reason why I am where I am now is because of you.
You have no idea how much you mean to me. I wish I could come out of this page so we could share a hug and I can tell you how much I love you and how you always motivate me to be better. Thank you for always being so supportive and kind, and for sending me your thoughts and prayers even when I don't deserve it.
You have made my 2017 a truly transformable year, and I hope that I continue to do the same for you in 2018. Here's to another year together, may it be our greatest one yet!
Journalism graduate Iman Azman continues to navigate her way through the creative industry as a member of the dUCk Group's marketing team. Here, she muses about her work, finding balance in life and shares what it's like diving in headfirst into new experiences and opportunities. Follow her journey on Instagram www.instagram.com/iman_azman/.