My 3 Words for 2015

I love Chris Brogan. No, really. I know you may think that everyone loves Chris Brogan, but you really have no clue how much I love him. He’s been a great friend and mentor over the years, and I really think that my world would totally suck if for some reason he had never come into it. If you need a kick in the pants or some inspiration, please… go get to know him. He’ll let you, I promise.

Every year since 2006, he’s done this really cool thing where he chooses three words to represent his direction for the coming year. I’ve done it before, and like most resolutions, I rarely stuck with them (I often forgot them), but this year’s different. I’m going to pull the three words out and I’m going to make sure they’re at the forefront of my next 365 days.

Purge. I’ve got a lot of “stuff”. Stuff in my home, stuff in my car, stuff in my head and heart. Stuff that no one really ever needs to hang on to. It’s like that junk drawer in your kitchen… the one with 329 twist ties you saved from bread bags in case you need them. The one with 27 rubber bands you saved from buying bunches of asparagus. The one that somehow also managed to collect 42 packets of soy sauce from your Chinese takeout. Ew… I think one of them broke open and now you’ve got to clean out the whole thing! Yup. Purging. I’m yearning to live in a cleaner, neater, less cluttered home. That goes for my mental home, as well as my dwelling. Gonna come up with a plan for this and attack it!

Stitch. No, this isn’t just because I got a brand new sewing machine for Christmas (but, um, HELLO, I’m so excited for that), but it’s that I have always had so many different things going on in my life at once, that sometimes they feel disconnected. I want to have it so that everything in my work is connected to everything else in my work. I want to stitch the pieces together to build a beautiful quilt. One that will keep my family warm and comfortable. I need everything to work together so I’m not feeling like I’m jumping rivers to get from one piece to another.

Protect. My daughter is at the age now where she can understand a lot more than one might think. I’m not just talking about profanity, but conversations in general. She’s well aware when someone’s saying something “mean”, and when someone’s being “sweet”. She gets upset at the former, but turns to complete mush with the latter. I love that, but I feel the need to protect her heart. I also feel the need to protect my own, and truly want to protect those I love. However – part of protecting is avoiding too much negativity. I’m certainly not going to play ignorant to it, but I’m just not going to give it oxygen any longer.

Have you ever chosen words to represent your coming year? What are your words for 2015? Share them in the comments, reply to my email, post them on social sites… whatever, but make sure you announce them so someone can hold you accountable! ;)

About Letting Go and Making Room in My Life

Note: This post is inspired by recent events in my own life, but also by Chris Brogan. I adore Chris, and am grateful to watch him do his own letting go in favor of making room in his life. You deserve it, Chris!

I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks. I spoke to a room of 80+ people (may of whom were sitting on the floor! I love you guys!), unfollowed a few hundred people on Twitter, canceled 7 hosting accounts, removed 250 people from my Facebook friends (though I have a “fan” page, if you’re so inclined), ended a 20-year long friendship, and posted over 60 domains for sale.

I’ve hunted for houses with my boyfriend, had drinks with friends in Manhattan, written a few blog posts, helped my boyfriend’s sister move, and listened as at least two friends told me of their broken hearts and dreams. I spent some time with my nephew watching “Young Frankenstein” for his first time. I sat with a neighbor as she ran a yard sale, and took photos of a Memorial Day parade, both while soaking up the sun (just a little too much).

I’m letting go of so many things, which has enabled me to truly enjoy so many more. I’m learning something, and it’s that what matters most in life are the things that make you feel good.

  • Letting go of the domains and hosting accounts makes me feel good because I’m no longer spending money on something I’m not using. It gives me room, financially, to focus on the things that will help me grow in many areas, online and off.
  • Letting go of the toxic relationships, the “acquaintances”, the “we used to know each other but now we don’t” people – it has helped me to breathe deeper. I’m no longer feeling like I have to perform or be a certain way for anyone else’s benefit. I no longer spend my time worrying about who’s saying what behind my back, or why. I can’t even begin to tell you how free I feel right now. Words can’t possibly do it justice.
  • Spending time with friends and family – This is the biggest. I’m so glad I could both laugh and cry with my friends so much recently. I’m so grateful that the sun was shining so much that it bronzed my skin and warmed my soul. I’m happy to have spent time away from this box of metal and glass, to really interact with people I care so deeply about.

Don’t get me wrong – I love what I do, I love the internet. I just can’t keep spreading myself so thin. I want important relationships with people, I don’t need connections to people I only hear from on my birthday because Facebook alerts them. I don’t need to hoard domains because I once felt I had a great idea. What I need in my life is more of the stuff that lights fires in my heart.

There are a great many people who have completely inadvertently helped me to discover this “rebirth” I’m going through. I’m sure many of you know who you are, and if you don’t, I’m sure I’ll let you know somehow, in some special way, how much you mean to me. It’s something I look forward to.

Books I Want to Write

For a very long time now, I’ve seen my friends like Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Chris Garrett, and many others write and sell books. I mean, that’s just three of them, but there are literally dozens I could probably name in a few seconds. I know even more who are currently working on books. Some have been asked to submit proposals, others are just writing now and are going to publish later.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve considered writing one of my most favorite things to do.

Ever since I got into this whole “blogging” thing, which was way before they even called it that, I’ve really enjoyed writing.

Ever since I’ve been a business owner, I’ve wanted to write, but haven’t found the time.

I know, I know… all you pro-writers out there are humming along in unison: Just do it. Make time.

One of my goals for the new year is to write more, I promise. It really helps me get thoughts out that sometimes develop or expand in Skype chats with my other blogging friends.

Another place I get my crazy thoughts about writing is my own career as a Community Manager. Between ProBlogger Community, Tassimo, and Country Time Lemonade, I totally have a ton to say.

When I tell people how I got started working online, so many people say, “What’s this blogging thing? How do you really make money?”

But trying to explain to them that I can’t just knock out a thorough explanation in five minutes just won’t cut it. For now, I refer them to my friends’ books. How crazy is that? I want to write a book about blogging and community.

People look at my jewelry, and they ask me, “How do you do that?” or they say, “I make jewelry too, but it’s really just simple stuff, nothing like what you’re doing!”

Hello? Lara? Major opportunity here! I want to write a book about making artistic jewelry.

My greyhounds are still at my dad’s house. I miss them so much, and while I always said that I’d always have greyhounds, my boyfriend happens to be dog-avoidant. But I know literally everything there is to know about owning a retired racing greyhound. I know about worldwide issues with retired racers. I know the personalities, I know the environments they do best in, and I belong to local and international rescue groups. I want to write a book about retired racing greyhounds.

When I look at that list, I laugh. They’ve all been written before, some more often than others. It makes me think that I’d be wasting my time. Then I remember hearing that there is no such thing as an original idea, just an original way of thinking it, and I decide that this year (2011), I’m going to write a book.

People I Love From Blog World Expo 2009 – Part 2

I know this is going to take a while to get through all the people I got to meet and have grown to adore because of Blog World Expo 2009. Hopefully I can get through this list before Christmas!

Today I’d like to talk about the people I met at the ProBlogger Dinner, courtesy @TasteMGMGrand and FiAMMA Trattoria. A few of these people I’d met before, but never had the chance to really spend time with them, and a few are “new” to me.

Photo Courtesy: Reem Abeidoh
Photo Courtesy: Reem Abeidoh

Left to Right: Lisa Morosky, Jen Wilson, Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, Patrick O’Keefe, Zane Aveton, Darren Rowse, Reem Abeidoh, and me.

First, Darren’s guests who were invited to come along with us to help make the dinner great for the winners of the draw to attend.

Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy) – Patrick’s a really great guy. We had spoken via Skype a few times just prior to the trip to Vegas. I actually had met him (sort of) last year because I walked in front of his camera when he was on a panel with Darren. I still feel terrible for that, as I’m usually really good about noticing cameras and staying out of their way! ;)

Patrick has this book called Managing Online Forums: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Run Successful Community Discussion Boards that’s been a pretty big hit. I’m excited to start reading it myself, given the recent launch of ProBlogger.COMmunity. He also owns the iFroggy network, a collection of websites and communities on various topics.

Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) – At last year’s BWE I met Chris for about 30 seconds. He shared chocolate with me. Talk about a guy who knows how to connect! (I kid… he does know how, but it’s so much deeper than sharing chocolate with an addict like myself!)

Chris is an amazing, sweet, kind man who takes the time to connect with every human being who crosses his path. He’s also a big deal, in case you’re not aware. His latest co-authored book, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust made the New York Times Bestseller List and I strongly recommend that if you do business of ANY kind online that you get and read this book. He’s also the President of New Marketing Labs where he works with another coolie guy I met and had a heart to heart with at BWE, Justin Levy.

Brian Clark (@copyblogger) – This was the first time I’d ever had the chance to actually meet Brian, and I’m really glad I did. He’s hilarious and was constantly catching me off guard! (Wait til you see the clip I took of him for ProBlogger giving his #1 Blogging Tip – Priceless!)

Brian’s all about copywriting, online marketing, and showing people how to have success with their blogging and writing efforts. He’s truly an amazing teacher in this regard. His free PDF Authority Rules: The 10 Rock Solid Elements of Effective Online Marketing is fantastic and a highly recommended read.

Reem Abeidoh (@rabeidoh) – Another fun-loving, amazing sweetheart who I got to meet briefly last year at our b5 party night but didn’t get the chance to really bond with until this year. Why, oh why, did we wait so long? She’s amazing – a soul-connection. Reem’s destined for greatness for the rest of her life, I just know it. She is quickly developing her status as a Social Media Butterfly! I love how well she connects to people and really makes them feel comfortable.

And on to our wonderful guests:

Zane Aveton (@zaneology) – This chick ROCKS. She’s one of the funniest, outgoing, sweet-hearted people I think I’ve ever met. She lives out loud (one of my favorite types of people) and is original and stylish to boot! Zane’s going places – she’s the energetic one. She’s the one who knows where all the “cool geeks” are hanging out. She’s got AMAZING shoes. ;)

Jen Wilson (@jenwilsonphoto) -If and when I’m blessed with children, I’m bringing Jen out to NY to photograph them. WOW! She was voted Children’s Photographer of The Year – 2009 by the Professional Photographers of California, and one look at her photoblog and you’ll know why. Jennifer has also been named *Environmental Photographer of the Year “(California 2006), “Top Ten Photographer” (California 2006) and had won both a Fuji Masterpiece award and the prestigious “Kodak Gallery Award” (2009). She was an absolute delight to share dinner with, and I look forward to seeing more of her work!

Lisa Morosky (@lisamorosky) – Lisa’s awesome. Very funny and I’m SO glad she got to come to the dinner with us! She’s a VA for Bloggers, and is launching a new site in November: Spend Less on Life. I got to hang out with Lisa more during the conference (she’s in the ProBlogger blogging tips vid, too) and just know that this chick’s gonna go really far in her ventures online. She’s what I affectionately call a “fetus”, a joke borrowed from a comedian friend of mine, but this means that she’s got a great grip on what most young people her age do not have yet – a living sense of pride, hard work and determination. I’m excited to watch her progress!

Yes, this is going to prove quite difficult I think. I don’t want to leave anyone at all out, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss a few people at some point! Have to keep these posts shorter rather than just one huge run-on of names and websites. I really am blessed to have met those I did, and I want to honor them with more than that.

Part 1 – KB (Karen Bell) is here.

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