Hey, 2011… Good Riddance! (Or: What I Say Every December 31st)
I’m by no means a “resolution” making type person, but I do know when I’ve had enough and am ready for a new chapter, and changing the calendar is always like turning the page in the book of my life for me. Kind of like when I was a kid and school supply shopping was the highlight of my year, because there was something about fresh, blank notebooks and pens filled with ink that just felt so good to me. As I aged, it became the annual switch to a fresh new year that took the place of that.
As I’m sure you’re aware, I don’t do much without a plan. I like to plan out my year after a good, solid review of the previous one. I developed a tool to help out with that, and I’ve tuned it up and shared it with you (for free) here: Annual Review & Planning Spreadsheet.
From a business perspective, 2011 was turbulent to say the least. For me, but also for many of my friends and family, so I’m sure you can acknowledge that for yourself as well. My own work brought me into the headquarters of one of the most well-known Fortune 500 food companies in the world, traveling across the country twice in a matter of two months, working way too many 18+ hour days, and sometimes, feeling like I needed to make some changes to my own expectations and efforts.
On a personal level, the year was full of ups and downs. Finances ebbed and flowed as they often do when one is self-employed. Friendships began and ended, babies were born and people passed away. Notably, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Howie, lost his battle with life at way too young an age over the summer. And just days ago, my paternal grandmother, the only grandparent I really ever had for more than 95% of my life, passed away at a young 86 after a brief battle with a bacterial infection that spread to her bloodstream. I spent what felt like weeks (but only amounted to two days) in the hospital with her and my father. Just before they sedated her so she could get some rest, we were fortunate enough to exchange “I love you” with her. We will be honoring her life with friends and family for the next two days, and forever beyond that.
So… as you can see, I’m already tripping up on starting this new year, this new chapter in life. But I vow to continue to make her proud, care for her only son, and live in the home she made with my grandfather with love and respect for them both.
Plans For 2012
I’ve got my categories from my spreadsheet, and have been working on my action items and deadlines. Keeping in mind that all aspects of my “plan” are changeable and updates will be made on the regular, I’ve plans to fix things I’ve been unhappy with such as spending more time with friends and family, taking better care of my (and Erick’s) health, keeping my home free of clutter and chaos, and getting even more obsessive over my finances. We’ll be working towards building a family, growing our businesses, and having the life we dream of.
I also plan on focusing my efforts on things I love in both my career and personal time. I’ll be developing my coaching programs, working more consulting projects and speaking engagements, and writing a book or two. I’ll be working on my websites more, blogging more, and diversifying my income in many ways. I’ll be painting more and making more jewelry, and have plans in the works for teaching some art classes. Since I’m moving back to my hometown, I’ll be spending more time at the firehouse again, which is something I’ve been missing a lot since moving away two years ago. I’ll be closer to my retired racing greyhounds again (they live with my dad), and I’ll be taking more time to work with the rescue group.
I’ve always been one of those people who had a long list of interests, projects, accomplishments and failures. I’m passionate about whatever I’m doing at any given moment, and it’s time for me to focus my efforts on just a few things that make me most happy.I just know that I have this need to always be “busy”, and I sure have that part of the plan covered! However I’m also going to be working on relaxing, not stressing so much over things, and really taking the time to enjoy life as much as possible.
Make 2012 a year for growth, both on a career level and a personal one. Find two or three main things you want to focus on for your work (33% of your time), and five or six you want to work on for the self-preserving, personal 33% of your time. Relax and sleep for the last 33%. You deserve it, and your mind, body, and soul require it to be healthy.
Get control of the things you feel you’ve lost control of. Money, health, organization, business management, whatever it is, wherever you’ve felt you were “slacking”, get control. Have a plan.
Share your love, approach everyone with kindness and respect, assume the best of people. Don’t ever forget to tell people how you feel, and never miss a chance to celebrate life with those who love you in return. Eliminate toxic people from your life – it’s gonna hurt, but in the end you’re going to feel better, I promise. When that negativity bug bites you, suffocate it with hope, dedication, inspiration, and passion. Work hard for what you need, and what you want will come to you.
Give what you can, even if it’s only your time, as that’s often much more valuable to an organization or cause than your money is. But find something you can do and even if it’s only for one day a month, do it. Help people, even if it’s rooted in your career (ie. “for profit”) because I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to know you’ve done so.
And last, but farthest from least, love yourself, know that you’re being the best you that you can be, and have faith that things will be great. A positive outlook goes a long way for making good things happen for you, and it’s also contagious! Don’t sweat the small stuff, ask yourself if someone or some thing is going to matter to you a year or five from now before you start to panic or get upset.
I wish you a fabulous, prosperous, happy 2012 – Let’s kick ass!